Ghana is found on the Gulf of Guinea, a bit north of the Equator. It covers an area of 239,535 square kilometers (92,485 square miles) and has a coastline of 560 kilometers (350 miles) along the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It’s situated between latitudes 4°45’N and 11°N, and longitudes 1°15’E and 3°15’W. Ghana is home to five different types of natural areas: Eastern Guinean forests, Guinean forest–savanna mosaic, West Sudanian savanna, Central African mangroves, and Guinean mangroves. On a world map, you’ll find it on the west coast of Africa – the side bordering the Atlantic Ocean and closest to the Americas. Follow the western coast of Africa until it curves inwards and you’ll have located the Gulf of Guinea.

Ghanaian time is exactly the same as Greenwich Mean Time, so it shares a time zone with London. It is part of the 54 countries that make up the African continent. 

 Ghana’s climate. 

During the dry season, it can get very hot, with temperatures reaching up to 30°C (86°F) most days. Ghana has a mix of sandy deserts, shrubby savannahs, and lush rainforests. Along the coast, it’s dry, but the Atlantic Ocean breeze helps cool things down. Lake Volta, a big man-made lake, lies just above the coast with green banks stretching along Ghana’s eastern side. In the middle of the country, you’ll find the Ashanti plateau, which consists of rolling hills covered in tropical forests. 

Ghana’s Capital City.

Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana. Accra’s population is a very youthful one which means the predominance of young people is not expected to decline in the foreseeable future. Accra is a center for manufacturing, marketing, finance, insurance, and transportation. Its financial sector incorporates a central bank, commercial banks,  merchant banks, multiple building societies, the Ghana Stock Exchange, foreign exchange bureaus, finance houses, insurance companies, insurance brokerage firms, savings and loans companies, and numerous real estate developers, with industrial sites and residential developments.

The country’s oldest university, the University of Ghana, is located in the suburb of Legon. Accra has a lot of tourist attractions like the National Museum of Ghana, where you learn about Ghana’s cultural history, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Jamestown lighthouse, Osu Castle, Independence Arch, Accra sports stadium, resorts, and some of Ghana’s other cities – like Kumasi in the Ashanti region, Ho in the Volta region and Tamale in the Northern region. 

Ghana’s  History. 

Ghana was once an empire in ancient West Africa from, 830 C.E. to 1235 C.E.  Back then, it included what we now call Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal. The ruler, known as the Warrior King or Ghana, gave the empire its name.

Later, in the late 1400s, Portuguese settlers came and started trading gold, ivory, and timber with different Akan states. This made Ghana an important stop on a Portuguese trade route and sparked a long fight among colonial powers for control of the area. There was so much gold that the area was called the Gold Coast.

Because of the demand for workers in the Americas and Ghana’s location on the trading route, castles, and forts, once used for trading gold, ivory, and timber, began holding enslaved people to be sold.

The fight for control over Ghana by colonial powers continued in the 1600s. Sadly, with the arrival of Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and British colonialists, the trade in enslaved people became more established.

It’s believed that six million enslaved people were taken from West Africa to other countries. For many, this was the last time they saw their homeland. It was at this time Ghana faced a sad time in its history.( 1500s)

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Ghana’s Independence. 

 Ghana gained independence in 1957. It was the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule under the leadership of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Their new flag incorporated the Pan-African colours (representing an ideology of political unity between all who live in Africa), red, yellow, green, and black. Many other African countries followed suit.

The coat of arms was made to show off the black star, which stands for Ghana’s freedom. They also switched their national money from Pounds to Cedis. 

Today, Nana Akufo-Addo is the president of Ghana, and the country keeps growing and helping Africa’s economy and progress.

Ghanaian Languages. 

Most people in Ghana live in big cities with a mix of different cultures. The government acknowledges many local languages as official ones. 

Twi spoken by the Akans in the Ashanti region is one of the most common languages spoken in Ghana. Ghanaian languages were mainly passed down by talking, but the Akan people also used symbols called Adinkra to communicate.

In addition to Twi, other languages spoken by different ethnic groups include Ewe, Ga, Dagbani, Dagaare, Dangbe, Nzema, Gonja, Hausa, and more.

Ghana’s Currency. 

The currency in Ghana is Cedi. The name “Cedi” comes from Cowry Shells, which were once used as money in many places in West Africa. 

 Ghanaian Food. 

Ghanaian food is a mixture of local flavors and influences from other places. In Ghana, you’ll often eat tasty tomato-based stews with fish, either from the sea or rivers. These stews are served with dough made from different kinds of starches like cassava, plantain, yam, maize, millet, sorghum, potatoes, or cocoyams. 

Another popular Ghanaian dish is jollof rice, which is a flavorful one-pot meal made with rice, Ghanaian spices, tomatoes, and chili. Peanuts are used to add flavor to stews and to garnish dishes. Taro leaves and okra are also commonly used in many Ghanaian dishes.

Street food is a big part of Ghanaian culture, so make sure to try some when you visit the markets.

Ghanaian Names.

In Akan tribes like the Fante and Ashanti, children’s first names are determined by the day of the week they are born. It’s believed that your name can affect things like your spiritual journey, career, and personality.) A male and female child born on Monday will be named, Kwadwo and Adwoa respectively. This differs from other tribes. The ewes have local names like Yayra, Esinam, Emefa, and Fafali which recognize God as the supreme being and appreciate him for life. The Ga’s also have names like,  Ayi, Ayitey, Okaile, Ayikaile, and so on 

Ghanaian Music. 

Traditionally, music was very important in Ghanaian society. Drumming was a way to talk to each other, and songs told stories about Ghana’s history. There were people called griots who praised kings and remembered their achievements. In the north, people used string and wind instruments, while in the south, drumming was more common.

When European countries like Portugal, the Netherlands, and Britain came to Ghana, they brought their musical instruments. After Ghana became independent, musicians started mixing traditional rhythms with these European instruments, creating a style called highlife.

Nowadays, highlife has changed into hiplife, which has electronic beats and rap in Twi language. Since Ghana is mostly Christian, people also like upbeat gospel songs.

Ghanaian Traditional Dance. 

There are many different ethnic groups in Ghana, and each one has its special traditional dance. These dances are often done at important times like festivals, funerals, etc 

The Agbadza dance is from the Ewe tribe in Ghana’s Volta Region. It has slow and fast movements. In the slow part, arms move back and forth while down. In the last part, the arms flap at the sides.

The Adowa Dance is by the Akan people, the biggest ethnic group in West Africa. They use it to express emotions with their feet and hands. The hand movements change based on the feelings.

The Bamaya Dance is from the Dagbamba people in Northern Ghana. It’s called the “rain dance” because it started during a drought in the 19th century. The Dagbamba are known for their drums and music.

The Kple dance is linked to the Ga people in Greater Accra. It reminds us of their religious government. The dancers are priestesses who talk to gods for the tribe.

Apatampa Dance is by the Fanti people in Ghana. It starts with slapping the thighs and clapping, then beating the chest. It’s done with instruments and lots of smiles.

Kpanlogo is another Ga dance. It’s done with bent knees and backs and has suggestive movements. It’s a way for young people to show themselves differently from elders.

Borbor dance is from the Central and Northern Volta Region. It was called Akpese and made in Kpando. Now it’s performed at festivals to entertain guests.

The Pogne Dance is well-known among the Frafra people in the Upper East Region. It’s a lively dance often done by young folks to show their strength and attract partners. It’s also performed at events to honor chiefs and royals.

The Kundum dance is a special dance for the Nzema and Ahanta people. They do it during the Kundum festival to thank God for food during the harvest. People dance in a circle, and sometimes it’s done to get rid of evil spirits from the village.

No matter how much you already know about Ghana, these facts will help you learn more about the country.

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