|Official Language: English (de jure)|
|Head of State: (leave this blank for players)|
|Formation: Independence from U.K.: 1957|
|Population: 23,382,848 (July 2008 Estimate)|
|Currency: Cedi (GHC)|
|¨Human Rights Record¨ U.S. State Department Report|
|¨Territorial Disputes¨ None|
|¨Ongoing Conflicts¨ None|
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The Republic of Ghana is a country in West Africa. It borders Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word "Ghana" means "Warrior King", and was the source of the name "Guinea" (via French Guinoye) that is used to refer to the West African coast (as in Gulf of Guinea).
Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient kingdoms, including the Ga Adangbes on the eastern coast, inland Empire of Ashanti and various Fante states along the coast and inland. Trade with European states flourished after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the British established a crown colony, Gold Coast, in 1874.
Upon being the first African nation to achieve independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, the name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana that once extended throughout much of western Africa. In the Ashanti language it is spelled Gaana.
Ghana was ruled by several kingdoms during the medieval period, the most notable being the Empire of Ashanti, which was perhaps the most advanced black state in sub-Sahara Africa. It is said that at its peak, the King of Ashanti could field 500,000 troops.
In 1481, King John II of Portugal commissioned Diogo d'Azambuja to build Elmina Castle, which was completed the next year. Their aim was to trade in gold, ivory and slaves, consolidating their burgeoning power in the region. They were quickly followed by the Dutch, Danish, and British. By 1874, the other Europeans had pulled out and modern Ghana was officially made the British Protectorate of the Gold Coast. In the post-WWII era, Ghana had one of the most active indepedance movements, lead by left-wing pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah, and became the first European colony to establish independent majority-rule in 1957. Nkrumah's democratic regime was overthrown by a military coup in 1966, which in turn followed by several more coups until Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in 1981. He remained in power until Democratic rule was restored in 1992. Elections since then have been subject to criticism, but have generally been improving in openness and fairness as time progresses.
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