Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti.Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century.With their advanced weapons and the presence of a central authority they easily invaded and occupied the lands of the local people ruled by the Tendamba (land god priests), established themselves as rulers over them and made Gambaga their capital.14th century medieval ewer looted from the Ashanti Empire in 1896 by British forces.The ewer was originally made for the court of Richard II. Historians are unsure how it came to reside with the Ashanti Empire in good condition after 500 years.Early European contact by the Portuguese people, who came to the Gold Coast region in the 15th century to trade and then established the Portuguese Gold Coast (Costa do Ouro), focused on the extensive availability of gold.Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana's current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast.It became independent of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957.
Kwame Nkrumah, first Prime Minister of Ghana, and then President of Ghana, was the first African head of state to promote the concept of Pan-Africanism, which he had been introduced to during his studies at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in the United States, at the time when Marcus Garvey was becoming famous for his "Back to Africa Movement". Kwame Nkrumah, as he became known, played an instrumental part in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, and in establishing the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute to teach his ideologies of communism and socialism. Kwame Nkrumah was subsequently overthrown by a coup by the Ghana Armed Forces codenamed "Operation Cold Chop." This occurred while Nkrumah was abroad with Zhou Enlai in the People's Republic of China, on a fruitless mission to Hanoi in Vietnam to help end the Vietnam War. Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate Ghana, with forest extending northward from the south-west coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean 320 kilometres (200 miles) and eastward for a maximum of about 270 kilometres (170 miles) with the Kingdom of Ashanti or the southern part of Ghana being a primary location for mining of industrial minerals and timber.
Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.
The first permanent state in the territory of present-day Ghana dates back to the 11th century.
The 1992 constitution of Ghana divides powers among a Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (President of Ghana), parliament (Parliament of Ghana), cabinet (Ministers of the Ghanaian Government), council of state (Ghanaian Council of State), and an independent judiciary (Judiciary of Ghana).
The Government of Ghana is elected by universal suffrage after every four years.