|Happy Birthday Ghana
||[Mar. 6th, 2007|10:07 pm]
Today, March 5th, is the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Ghana, created from the British colonies of Gold coast and British Togoland (formerly German) in West Africa. Ghana was the first of the Sub-Saharan colonies to gain its independence from its former colonizers. Ghana's independence provided a catalyst for African independence over the next two decades.|
Ghana has a long history, that stretches back to around 500 CE when the Kingdom of Ghana was founded and Europeans in the form of the Portuguese first made contact in in 1470. This marks the beginning of Ghana's colonial period as Portuguese, British and the Dutch squabbled with each other over controlling the West African slave trade. However, it was not until 1874, when Britain turned Ghana into a formal crown colony called the Gold Coast. It was not until 1902 that the British finally quashed resistance from the Ashanti federations. The British would later gain neighbouring German Togoland at the end of the First World War. With the end of the Second World War, Great Britain with United Nations help began the process that would lead to Ghanaian independence.
Ghana's troubles after independence provided a template of what would and still does plague Africa. Going from hopeful democracy to a military dicatorship through a CIA sponsored coup, then wracked by another series of coups in the late 70s and early 80s, Ghana spent most of its post independence under oppressive dictatorships, particularly that of Jerry Rawlings. During that time Ghana's economy hit rock bottom as the people starved and the period is known as "Rawlings Necklace" for the way that starving Ghanaians' collarbones became visible.
Once again, Ghana is enjoying democracy, having had free elections since 1996. The country is stable and the economy is growing steadily with low inflation, but most Ghanaians are still very poor. Things are hopeful though for Ghana, as it struggles for a higher quality of living for its people. Ghana's struggles are Africa's struggles, and perhaps Ghana's victories can be Africa's too.
This year will prove to be a fairly busy year for colonial independence celebrations, as it is India's 60th anniversary of independence in August.