The West African country of Ghana celebrates Republic Day on July 1, which commemorates the day they became a republic of the British Commonwealth. To achieve that status, Ghana’s history took many twists and turns.
Ghana first got its name from being a part of the West African Ghana Empire during medieval times (c. 790-1076), which was inhabited by several ancient tribal kingdoms. The part of that empire that is now modern-day Ghana was one of the most culturally advanced regions in sub-Saharan Africa at that time. It was mainly inhabited by the Ashanti people, who were prominent because of the wealth of natural resources (mainly gold) in that region.
Early contact from Portuguese and British merchants focused on trading in gold, prompting the British to name the area the “Gold Coast.” The Portuguese expanded their trading to include ivory and slaves, and built Elmina Castle as a fort to secure their holdings there. By the late 1500s, the Dutch also joined in the trade. Eventually, about 30 forts (or “slave castles”) were built along the coast of Ghana, as the slave trade grew.
By the late 1800s, most of the European traders had left the area, with only the Dutch and British remaining. After the Dutch withdrew, Britain made Gold Coast a colony in 1896, until the country changed its name to Ghana when it became the first African colony in the British Empire to gain its independence on March 6, 1957.
Republic Day marks the date (July 1, 1960) when Ghana achieved political autonomy from Britain and became a republic and a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Ghana is one of the most advanced sub-Saharan African nations, and has been a positive example of stability and economic success for the continent.
Celebrations of Republic Day are mainly observed with political speeches and public gatherings. Of course, the celebrations would not be complete without music, dancing and drinking at these gatherings all across Ghana. Republic Day is a celebration of Ghana and its long and colorful history. Cheers!
Check it out:
Ghana, 6th (Bradt Travel Guide). Bradt’s Ghana has remained the bestselling guide to the country since it was first published in 1998, being used by almost every English-speaking visitor there. Visitors will discover a country steeped in a rich cultural tradition and little-visited attractions. Ghana is an uncrowded place to go for game-viewing with Mole National Park and Baobeng Monkey Sanctuary, among the highlights.
Ghana – Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs and culture. This book provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in Ghana, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. This concise guide tells you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.