The Republic of Ghana extends inland from the Gulf of Guinea on the western ‘bulge’ of Africa, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Togo to the east, Burkina Faso to the north and La Cote d’Ivoire to the west. With a surface area of 238,837 sq km, it is similar in size to Great Britain or the American state of Oregon. It is bisected by the Greenwich Meridian and lies entirely within the northern tropics between 4.50N and 110. Most of the country is relatively flat and lies below an altitude of 150m but several peaks in the east rise to above 800m. it has a tropical climate, warn to hot all year through, and can be divided into two broad geographic zones: the south and centre are moist and support a cover of a direr savannah environment.
Ghana’s population is estimated at 20 million, roughly ten percent of whom live in and around the capital city of Accra. Other major urban centres include Kumasi, Tamale, Tema, Takoradi and Cape Coast. More than 70 languages and major dialects are spoken countrywide, classified in four linguistic groups: Akan, Mole-Dagbani, Ewe and Ga. The most widespread Akan language is Twi, which is spoken by roughly half the population, including the Asante (Ashanti) people of Kumasi and the coastal Fante. Two-thirds of Ghanaians are Christian, another 15% are Islamic, and the remainder adhere to traditional animist beliefs.
RECENT HISTORY & POLITICS:
Ghana was settled by Africans and Europeans occupied it since 1482 but external rule was imposed only in 1874, which Britain claimed a strip of land extending less than 50km inland as the Gold Coast Colony. The more northerly territories were annexed to that colony in 1902, following a war with the Asante Empire, while the eastern border was extended to include present-day Volta Region (formally part of German Togoland) in 1919. The Gold Coast attained independence and was renamed Ghana under the leadership of Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1957. Nkrumah, having banned all political opposition, was overthrown in 1966 by what transpired to be the first of four military coups within the space 15 years. A multi-party constitution was introduced in 1991. Jerry Rawlings won the first democratic presidential election in 1992 and served the constitutional maximum of two terms before stepping down in 2000, when former opposition leader John Kufuor was voted into power.
LAND AREA : 238,837 sq km (92,100 sq miles)
COAST LINE : 540 km
Bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean and on the West by La Cote d"ivoire, the East by Togo and the North by Burkina Faso. Ghana is a tropical country. The South Western part is located within the warm wet forest zone similar to the Amazon. Accra, the capital, is located in the dry equatorial cones. Kumasi is in the wet savanna. It lies between 4° and 11 ° North at the equator and has a coastline of 540 km.
Northern Ghana has a range season from about April to October. The rest,
of the year is hot and dry, with temperatures up to about 38°C. In Southern Ghana the rains last from April to June and again from September to October. Generally temperatures are between 21 - 31°C. The rains are usually restricted to specific times each day during the rainy season; they are not continuous throughout the day.
REGION CAPITAL MILEAGE FROM ACCRA:
Greater Accra(Tema) - 29km)
Eastern Koforidua - 85km
Volta Ho - 165km
Central Cape Coast - 144km
Western Sekondi/Takoradi - 218km
Ashanti Kumasi - 270km
Brong Ahafo Sunyani - 400km
Northern Tamale - 658km
Upper East Bolgatanga - 740km
Upper West Wa - 740km
18,845,265 (2000 census)
20,757,032 (July 2004 est)
Official - English
Local languages include Akan, Ewe, Ga, Dagbani, Nzema and Hausa.
Mostly Christian, Moslem and Traditional religions also exist.
CAPITAL CITY : Accra
GOVERNMENT : Constitutional Democracy
INDEPENDENCE : 6th March 1957 from British Administration.
The country was formerly known as the Gold Coast.
LOCAL TIME: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
NATURAL RESOURCES : Gold, Diamond, Bauxite, Manganese,
Timber and Cocoa.
January 1 - New Year"s Day
January/February - Eid Ul Adha (according to Muslim calendar)
March 6 - Independence Day
April - Good Friday
May 1 - May Day
May 25 - African Union Day
July 1 - Republic Day
November/December - Eid Ul-Fitr (Moslem festival)
December 1st Friday - Farmers Day
December 25 - Christmas
December 26 - Boxing Day