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GHANA: a case study in decolonization. Introduction The history of Ghana centers around gold, colonialism, slavery, independence, chaos and hope. Today,

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Presentation on theme: "GHANA: a case study in decolonization. Introduction The history of Ghana centers around gold, colonialism, slavery, independence, chaos and hope. Today,"— Presentation transcript:

1 GHANA: a case study in decolonization


3 Introduction The history of Ghana centers around gold, colonialism, slavery, independence, chaos and hope. Today, it is one of the wealthiest African countries due to an abundance of natural resources such as cocoa and gold. It is currently one of the more stable democracies in Africa and is widely regarded to be an excellent example of successful decolonization. Our aim is to identify why it was successful. Why was the transition to independence relatively peaceful compared with other colonized countries?

4 Historical Overview Present-day Ghana was originally called the Gold Coast It has been inhabited since 4000 BC, filled by successive waves of migrants from the north and east. By the 13th century several kingdoms had developed, growing rich from the countrys massive gold deposits and gradually expanding south along the Volta River to the coast. The first contact between Europe and the Gold Coast dates from 1470, when a party of Portuguese landed. In 1482, the Portuguese built Elmina Castle (São Jorge da Mina) as a permanent trading base. By the 16th century one of the kingdoms, the Ashanti, emerged as the dominant power, conquering tribes left, right and centre and taking control of trade routes to the coast. Its capital, Kumasi, became a sophisticated urban centre, with facilities and services equal to those in Europe at the time. Thomas Windham made the first recorded English trading voyage to the coast in 1553. During the next three centuries, the English, Danes, Dutch, Germans, and Portuguese controlled various parts of the coastal areas.

5 Historical Overview It wasnt long until more Europeans became interested in this wealthy African kingdom. The Portuguese, British, French, Dutch, Swedes and Danes all built forts by the sea and traded slaves, gold and other goods with the Ashanti. The slave trade was huge in the Gold Coast and more slaves were shipped from Elmina Castle than any other place in Africa. By the time slavery was abolished in the 19th century, the British had taken over the Gold Coast and began muscling in on Ashanti turf. This sparked several wars between the two powers, which culminated in the British ransacking of Kumasi in 1874. The British then established a protectorate over Ashanti territory, which they expanded in 1901 to include areas to the north. The Gold Coast was now a British colony. By the late 1920s the locals were itching for independence, and they set up political parties dedicated to this aim.

6 Historical Overview However, parties like the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), formed in 1947, were too elitist. They consisted of wealthy Africans who had been educated in the UK or USA and to the ordinary people of the Gold Coast they seemed too detached from those they were meant to represent – the ordinary workers. So the secretary-general of the UGCC, Kwame Nkrumah, broke away in 1948 and formed the Conventional Peoples Party (CPP), which became an overnight success. Nkrumah was impatient for change and called for a national strike in 1949. The British, anxious about his popularity, jailed him. Despite this, the CPP won the elections of 1951, Nkrumah was released and he became prime minister. This was still a period of indirect rule, however. When Ghana finally won its independence in March 1957, Nkrumah became the first president of an independent African nation. His speeches, which denounced imperialism and talked about a free, united Africa, made him the darling of the Pan-African movement.

7 Kwame Nkrumah

8 First Clip Discussion Questions Why did the people of Ghana want independence? What was the attitude of the European colonial powers according to the documentary? What was the single biggest event to change all of this? What did the Africans learn from the Indians? How many white settlers were in the Gold Coast at the time? How did the British label the protests? What was the role of Kwame Nkrumah?



11 Second and Third Clips Discussion Questions Why were the British so proud of the transition to independence? What were the significant features of Nkrumahs early years in power? What went wrong? How did Kwame Nkrumah justify this? What was the outcome?

12 The Reasons for Home Rule A growing sense of nationalism The foundation of self-rule was already there An educated elite was able to build support for home rule Disaffected men returning from serving in WW2 had witnessed other countries struggle for freedom Strong leadership of Kwame Nkrumah World War Two United Nations put pressure on the colonial powers

13 But why was decolonization so successful? ?

14 Natural Resources Ghana is a middle income economy well endowed with: Gold Cocoa Timber Electricity Diamonds Manganese Oil Textiles In 2007, an oil field with 3 billion barrels of oil was discovered. This could make a huge difference to the Ghanaian economy

15 White Settlers Unlike Kenya, Ghana had only a few thousand white settlers. Many of these settlers were only working overseas temporarily so the British government felt no strong sense of obligation to protect their interests. The environment was not as hostile as in Kenya. Despite widespread dissatisfaction with British rule, there were no terrorist groups so the transition was relatively peaceful.

16 Infrastructure Despite the cult of the personality style of rule favored by Nkrumah, years of indirect rule had created an infrastructure that helped political rule and economic development. The early years of Nkrumahs rule were characterized by the development of roads, dams, schools, universities, airlines etc. Despite his apparent corruption, this helped to provide a strong foundation upon which future governments were able to build. The Akosombo dam, for example, which was built on the Volta River in 1965 provides hydro-electricity for Ghana and its neighboring countries.

17 Other Minor Factors Ghana has always had a relatively low crime rate The widespread use of English has encouraged more foreign investment than in other West African countries There are several UNESCO world heritage sites that have encouraged a growing number of tourists to the country High profile anti-corruption drive Relative political security

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