Ghana – a brief introduction

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Location of GhanaGhana’s Climate
Geography of GhanaHistory of Ghana
Ghana’s GovernmentGhana’s Cities

Location of Ghana 

Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa. It is bounded on the north by Burkina Faso, on the west by La Cote D’lvoire, on the east by Togo and on the south by the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean). Tema, the industrial city, which is adjunct to Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is on the Greenwich Meridian (zero line of longitude), making Ghana the closest landmark to the centre of the world.

Ghana map
Map of Ghana
Location of Ghana
Location of Ghana

Ghana’s climate 

Ghana has a tropical climate. The temperature is generally between 21-35°C (70-95°F). There are two rainy seasons, from March to July and from September to October, separated by a short cool dry season in August and a relatively long dry season in the south from mid-October to March. The north, also with tropical climate, is dry and falls partly within the Sahelian zone.

Annual rainfall in the south averages 2,030 mm, but varies greatly throughout the country, with the heaviest rainfall in the south-western part. 

Geography of Ghana

Ghana is not a mountainous country, but has some highlands and some steep escarpments in the middle portions and isolated places in the northern parts. The land is relatively flat and the altitude is generally below 500 m, with more than half of the country below 200 m.

The Volta River basin dominates the country’s river system and includes the 8,480 km2 Lake Volta (the largest artificial lake in the world), formed behind the Akosombo hydro-electric dam. The coastal area consists of plains and numerous lagoons near the estuaries of rivers. In terms of vegetation, the north is predominantly savanna and the middle section (extending to the south-western part) is typical rain-forest, while the coastal section has thicket interspersed with savanna.  

History of Ghana

The name Ghana originates from an African empire, which was located around River Niger between 400 and 1240 AD. The period between the 15th and 19th Centuries witnessed a power struggle for the country among European nations for fortunes in gold and ivory, following the advent of the Portuguese who discovered gold in 1471 and built Elmina Castle in 1482.

The other Europeans were the Dutch, Swedes, Danes, Prussians and the British. The battle for control and supremacy over the land culminated in the building of many forts and castles, which were used not only as trading posts but also as dungeons for the infamous slave trade. It is significant to note that out of the about forty-three (43) forts and castles in West Africa, thirty-three are in Ghana alone.

Out of these about twenty-five are in good condition, including Elmina and Cape Coast Castles and Fort St. Jago, all three of which are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Monuments. Ghana, formerly called the Gold Coast, became independent from British colonial rule on March 6, 1957. It was the first black African colony to achieve independence. 

Ghana’s Government

Ghana is a multiparty constitutional democracy founded on elections by open and free universal adult suffrage. All Ghanaians above 18 years of age are eligible to vote into office an Executive President for a maximum of two four-year terms.

A 275-member Parliament is also elected for unlimited four-year terms. The main arms of Government are the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary each of which is independent of the other.  Ghana is a nation governed by the Rule of Law. 

Ghana’s Cities

Accra — Capital
Bolgatanga — Capital of the Upper East Region
Cape Coast — Capital of the Central Region
Ho — Capital of the Volta Region
Koforidua — Capital of the Eastern Region
Kumasi — Capital of the Ashanti Region
Sunyani — Capital of the Brong Ahafo Region
Takoradi — Capital of the Western Region
Tamale — Capital of the Northern Region
Wa — Capital of the Upper West Region

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Ghana – a brief introduction
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