Whether it’s the Gold Coast Riches or Regional History,
There’s Something for Everyone
at the Former British Colony
The Gold Coast is a name most people have heard, though the region’s political and social activity has come a long way in making the area recognizable as the modern country of Ghana.
The name isn’t arbitrary or credited to a metaphor. It was adopted by early European explorers, who stumbled upon the area’s rich gold resources as early as the fifteenth century. Ghana history was subsequently molded by the aspirations of these explorers and, later, colonists. Slavery in Ghana became a major trade during the latter half of the millennium, and slave forts, including the magnificent Elmina Castle built by the Portuguese, were erected along the country’s coasts.
The area was also an important trading destination for knives, guns, mirrors, beads, and even rum. Cocoa, a national export integral to nation’s prosperity, was also exploited and shipped to the European continent from the port cities. In the resulting struggle for dominance, great European powers including the original Portuguese, the Dutch, the Swedish, the Prussian, and the British grappled over territories and control over the native populations.
The British eventually attained power in the area, taking over land and resources from the other countries. The region was formally made a colony in 1821, and many battles were fought between the local tribes and the occupying British militia. The Ashanti in particular were vehement about retaining their independence, but eventually succumbed from overwhelming loss by the turn of the twentieth century.
The British Gold Coast began to see its decline as a source of material wealth and slaves in forties and fifties. Under the leadership of Kwame Nkumrah, Ghana maintained its desire for independent government and control over its resources, and in 1957, it achieved the goal, becoming the first African nation to do so. Securing independence from Britain meant that the many indigenous tribes of the area could work toward creating unity and prosperity for their own people, and was a monumental achievement in the history of Ghana and the history of Africa in general.
Today, the area previously known as the Gold Coast remains attractive for its exotic location along the Gulf of Guinea and still draws many visitors. From those with a bit of a taste for the luxurious local resources to travelers interested in learning more about the region’s past, Ghana draws scores of people from around the world to its shores each year.
The country’s modern prosperity is a remarkable feat considering the difficulties it endured as a colony of the British Empire. With strength, creativity, powerful leadership, and an undying spirit, the Gold Coast has prevailed through changes and challenges to become a destination truly worthy of the name.