Portuguese build a fortress and set up a trading settlement. Other Europeans arrive, attracted by gold, ivory and timber. [1] [2]


The slave trade becomes the main trade with Europeans. Weapons and manufactured goods are traded for slaves. [2]


The British ban on slave trade from the Gold Coast comes into effect. The British are dominating the region and begin to change business into exploiting cocoa, gold, timber and palm oil. [2]


The Ashantene, Osei Bonsu, dies. The British seek a chance to break Ashante control of the Gold Coast trade and the first Anglo-Ashante war breaks out. [2]


War breaks out again and the Asante are forced to give up their claims to areas on the coast. [2]


Slavery is officially abolished in all British colonies. All British owned slaves are freed. [2]


Denmark sells all their remaining forts and possessions on the Gold Coast to Great Britain for 10,000 pound sterling. [2]


Great Britain dominates the region completely. Only the Ashante kingdom is still resisting British control. The British efforts to control the Gold Coast and especially the gold trade results in the third British-Ashante war. Ashante history records a victory, but they only manage to hold back the enemy for a few more years. [2]


British proclaim coastal area a crown colony. Originally the colony is only a 100 km wide strip along the coast, but the British still seek control of the Asihante kingdom and their wealth of gold. The British attack again and burn down the Capital of Kumasi. The king's palace is found empty, but the British steal all values they can find. [1] [2]


Accra becomes the capital of the colony. [2]


The Berlin Conference: By Initiative of King Leopold of Belgium, the European countries agree on the new borders for Africa. Thousands of kingdoms all over Africa are suddenly squeezed into approximately 50 European colonies. No consideration at all is made to the people, cultures and languages. Present-day Ghana is under British control, with the exception of the eastern region being part of German Togoland. [2]


Britain has practically taken control over the Ashante kingdom. As a symbolic act the British send the young Ashante king (Nana Ageyman Prempeh I) into exile. [2]


Britain again seeks to humiliate the Ashante: The colonial governor Frederick Hodgson demands for the Ashante to hand over their Golden stool, which is the ultimate religious and national symbol for the Ashante. But the Ashante had foreseen this demand and created a fake stool to be given to the British. The provocation leads to uprising among the Ashante. An attack on the British fort in Kumasi is led by the legendary woman Yaa Asantewaa. [2]


What's left of the Ashante kingdom has surrendered to the pressure from England. The kingdom is annexed into the British colony and the area north of the kingdom becomes British Protectorate. [2]


After World War I the German areas in the East come under British control. Nationalist movements begins to rise in the region. [2]


The Asanthene is permitted to return to the Gold coast from his exile in the Seychelles, but he is left with no political power. [2]


First legislative council elections take place. [1] [2]


The Ashante are allowed to have restricted "autonomy" through the Ashanti Confederacy Council. [2]


The colonial powers are weakened after World War 2. USA and USSR pressure for African independance. Ghana's Legislative Council gets a majority of black Africans, when the British little by little give in to the pressure for African political representation. The rule of the colony is still entirely within the hands of the British though. [2]


United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) is one of many new political parties striding for independence. None of the parties are formed inside the colony. Kwame Nkrumah is party secretary for UGCC. [2]


February - Riots break out in Accra when Police fire at an anti-colonial demonstration. 29 are killed and hundreds are wounded. [2]

Dissatisfied with the efforts of UGCC, Kwame Nkrumah leaves and founds the Convention People's Party (CPP). CCP quickly becomes the major player on the nationalist political scene. [2]


Nkrumah calls for a national strike and is jailed for his demands for independence. [2]


Nkrumah is released from jail after CPP wins the first election for the Legislative Assembly. [2]


Nkrumah becomes the first African prime minister and government leader, but still shares the power with the British governor Sir Charles Arden-Clarke. Nkrumah is re-elected in for the post in 1954 and 1956. [2]


March - Ghana is the first of the colonies in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. Africa and the rest of the world follows the creation of the new state with high anticipations. The situation in Ghana inspires nationalist movements all over the continent. The economy seems to be good and promising as Ghana is rich with gemstones, forests and crops. Ghana is the leading cocoa exporter in the world and produces one tenth of the world's gold. 25% of the population is literate (which is high compared to other colonies at the time) and many are educated. [2]

Nkrumah is increasingly popular, but now faces the huge challenges of uniting a country of people that don't have that much in common. On the contrary some groups still carry hostility towards each other from centuries of wars and the scars of the slave trade. Political parties which are regional or tribal oriented are prohibited to enforce a feeling of national unity. [2]


A new law makes it possible to arrest anyone who is suspected of working against the state. The suspects can be imprisoned for up to five years without sentence. Ghana has already started a slow development towards a one-party state. [2] [3]

Industry is on the rise in Ghana and work starts for the huge Akosombo Dam to supply energy. To finance the project Nkrumah is forced to accept hard terms from the American company Valco. Ghana's economy and electricity supply is held back from this agreement even today. [2]


Ghana begins to work with international pacifist groups in campaigns against nuclear armaments. [7]


Ghana proclaimed a republic; Nkrumah elected president. [1] [2]

The economy starts to turn bad and Ghana's debt is rising at high speed. Nkrumah has started a great number of expensive and ambitious projects, but most of them give no direct profit in return. The more basic agricultural sector is neglected. The end of the optimistic years results in a change in the political climate. [2]


President Kwame Nkrumah introduces his Soviet-inspired Seven-Year Plan to establish state-owned factories and public authorities. The projects are financed by foreign loans and taxes, saddling the country with debt and stifling certain sectors of the economy. Cocoa production in Ghana drops dramatically when farmers, whose income has been reduced by the government marketing board's price controls, begin smuggling cocoa to neighbouring countries or switch to other crops. As a result, Ghana ceases to be the world's largest cocoa producer. Burdened with debt, the Ghanaian economy contracts, undermining the Nkrumah government's popularity. The downturn brings widespread unrest which is exacerbated by criticisms that Nkrumah is focusing too much on the promotion of his vision of African-unity. [3]


Foreign investors and industry are forced by law to re-invest at least 60 percent of their profit within Ghana. [2]


August - William Edward Burghardt Du Bois dies in Accra. The African-American W.E.B Du Bois was born as in Massachusetts (1868) and became one of the most important contributors to the Pan-African movement, which again influenced Kwame Nkrumah and the history of Ghana. Du Bois was invited by Nkrumah to settle in Ghana after independence. [2]


Nkrumah suspends the democracy by suspending the constitution. Ghana officially becomes a one-party state and Nkrumah gains the power of a dictator. Criticised by the West, Nkrumah now turns to the Soviet Union and other communist countries. [2]

The economy is out of control and the population is getting poorer. Nkrumah is no longer a popular leader as he hits hard on demonstrations and arrests anyone in opposition. [2]


Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah rejects IMF and World Bank recommendations to implement a economic development strategy based on non-inflationary borrowing and reduced government spending. Ghana's refusal to implement these reforms makes it ineligible to receive loans from the two institutions. Nkrumah continues with a policy aimed at diversifying the Ghanaian economy through import substituting industrialization (ISI). [3]

By this time "the Accra CIA station has two score active operators, distributing largess among President Nkrumah's secret adversaries." [10]

March - In Washington, D.C., US ambassador to Ghana William P. Mahoney meets with CIA Director John A. McCone and the deputy chief of the CIA's Africa division [name unknown] to discuss a "Coup d'etat Plot" in Ghana. According to a CIA document summarizing the meeting, Mahoney says that he is uncertain whether the coup, being planned by Acting Police Commissioner Harlley and Generals "Otu" and "Ankrah", will ever come to pass. Notwithstanding, he adds that he is confident that President Kwame Nkrumah will not make it another year, given his waning popularity and Ghana's deteriorating economy. "In the interests of further weakening Nkrumah", Mahoney recommends that the US deny Nkrumah's forthcoming request for financial assistance, according to the CIA memo. He adds that by refusing the request it would make a "desirable impression on other countries in Africa", the memo also says. In the event of a coup, Mahoney says a military junta would likely come to power. [3] [5] [10]

In a public speech, President Kwame Nkrumah lashes out against US support for Moise Tshombe in the Congo and blames the US government and financiers for many of the problems in Africa. [3]

In a telegraph to the US Department of State, US ambassador to Ghana William P. Mahoney recounts a meeting he had that morning with President Kwame Nkrumah. He says he told the president that the US government resented the anti-US statements he had made in his March 22 speech, in which he had laid blame on the US for many of Africa's problems. "I said I would never have believed that [a] man of his sophistication and refinement would use language like that against my country, and it shock[ed] [me] to hear him do so." Mahoney says that Nkrumah conceded that the rhetoric in his speech was "loaded and slanted throughout", but insisted that "he had special purpose in mind". After Mahoney further criticized Nkrumah's speech, defending US policy in Africa, he saw that the president was crying. "I looked up and I saw he was crying. With difficulty he said I could not understand [the] ordeal he had been through during [the] last month. [He [r]ecalled that there had been seven attempts on his lifeā€¦]". In comments listed at the end of his telegraph, Mahoney says that Nkrumah seems "convinced as ever [that the] US is out to get him" and "still suspects US involvement" in the recent assassination attempts. He explains that Nkrumah appears to be a "badly frightened man" whose "emotional resources seem [to] be running out" and predicts that there will be "more hysterical outbursts" from Nkrumah against the US. [3] [10]

Robert W. Komer, a National Security Council staffer, says in a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, President Johnson's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, that plans to overthrow the Ghanaian government are looking "good". "[W]e may have a pro-Western coup in Ghana soon", he states at the beginning of his memo. "Certain key military and police figures have been planning one for some time, and Ghana's deteriorating economic condition may provide the spark. The plotters are keeping us briefed, and State thinks we're more on the inside than the British. While we're not directly involved (I'm told), we and other Western countries (including France) have been helping to set up the situation by ignoring Nkrumah's pleas for economic aid. The new OCAM (Francophone) groupx's refusal to attend any OAU meeting in Accra (because of Nkrumah's plotting) will further isolate him. All in all, looks good." [3] [10]

October - Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah publishes his famous work, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, in which he predicts, quite accurately, that Africa will suffer persistent meddling by the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, particularly the CIA and KGB. He accuses American intelligence of being behind several of the crises being experienced by the Third World. His book introduces the term "neo-colonialism", whereby a state is theoretically independent, but in reality, has its economic system and political policies directed from outside. He again calls on Africans to be united against imperialism and global capitalism. The US government quickly informs Nkrumah that it opposes the ideas presented in the book and cancels $35 million in aid to Ghana. [3]


February - The Ghanaian army, led by British-trained officers, stages a coup, overthrowing the pan-Africanist government of Kwame Nkrumah, who is in Burma at the start of a grand tour aimed at resolving the conflict in Vietnam. A weak economy exacerbated by the deliberate actions of Western governments to destabilize the country, had severely damaged the president's popularity among the masses. Additionally, the military was upset with Nkrumah's cuts to the defense budget and the declining real wage of army officers. The coup itself is supported by the CIA, which has maintained intimate contact with the plotters for at least a year. The CIA's involvement in the plot is so close that it manages to recover some classified Soviet military equipment as the coup is happening. Nkrumah flees to asylum to his personal friend President Sékou Touré in Guinea. In the following days and weeks all Nkrumah statues in Accra are taken down by the crowds. [2] [3] [5] [10]

International diamond merchant and middleman for De Beers diamond cartel, Maurice Tempelsman was also involved in the coup. [4]

The new military government calls itself the National Liberation Council (NLC). It declares that the aim of the coup is to end corruption and change the constitution in order to get Ghana back on a democratic line. The members of the council have a conservative approach and keep strict control of all left-wing politicians and ideologues. All connections to the Soviet Union are broken and technicians from the USSR and China are expelled. The west sees this as a new direction in Ghanaian politics and economics. [1] [2]

March - Commenting on the recent coup in Ghana, Robert W. Komer, a special assistant to the US president, says in a memo to President Johnson that the overthrow of the Nkrumah government was "another example of a fortuitous windfall". He gloats over the win noting that "Nkrumah was doing more to undermine our interests than any other black African" and that the "new military regime is almost pathetically pro-Western". He then goes on to emphasize that the US should "follow through skillfully and consolidate such successes". He explains: "A few thousand tons of surplus wheat or rice, given now when the new regimes are quite uncertain as to their future relations with us, could have a psychological significance out of all proportion to the cost of the gesture. I am not arguing for lavish gifts to these regimes, indeed, giving them a little only whets their appetites, and enables us to use the prospect of more as leverage." [3] [10]

Three weeks after the coup Washington approves substantial emergency food assistance in response to an urgent request from Ghana. A food request from Nkrumah four months earlier had been turned down. [10]

May - The IMF and World Bank begin working with the military junta in Ghana, providing the country with standby credit. Western countries agree to postpone Ghana's debt obligations until December when an IMF sponsored meeting is scheduled to convene. [3]

December - The military government of Ghana meets with the Paris Club of Western governments and forges a debt rescheduling agreement, which defers Ghana's debt obligations between June 1966 and December 1968 to the period 1971-1979. [3]


September - Multi-party elections are held in Ghana and a new civilian government is formed by Dr. Kofi Busia and the Progress Party. [1] [2]


High prices on the cocoa market gives Busia a good start, but in 1971 the prices drop again and the economic situation in Ghana worsens. The government devaluates the Cedi leading to increased prices and general unrest in the population. [2]


Kwame Nkrumah dies in Conakry, Guinea. In spite of his democratic failure he is still respected as the founder of Ghana. His body is later moved and buried in Accra. [2]

January - Forces within the military once again carry out a coup. The National Redemption Council puts in Colonel Ignatius Acheampong as head of the state. But Acheampong lacks experience and economic-political visions. The result is a growth of corruption in all levels of government and society. [2]


The population shows it's dissatisfaction with the government through strikes - mostly arranged by students. The unions get increasing support. [2]


Economy is close to collapse and it is no longer possible to come to agreement within the NRC government. Acheampong decides to get rid of the government and forms the Supreme Military Council (SMC) with only seven hand picked members. The opposition is far from happy with the situation, but the only answer from SMC is harassment and jailing of critics without sentence. [2]


July - Acheampong is forced to resign as general William Akuffo takes control of the "Supreme Military Council II". He promises to reinstate a civilian government. Political parties are once again allowed in Ghana and a date for election is set. No other major changes happen in the following year and the discontent continues. [1] [2]


May - The young Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings heads an uprising within the army. The coup attempt is unsuccessful as Rawlings is arrested. Soon after he is freed again by soldiers supporting him. [2]

June - A few days before the planned election a new military coup is carried out by Jerry Rawlings. The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) takes power, but still has the intention to make place for a democratic election later the same month. The aim of the coup is apparently to ensure free elections and put an end to the corruption and economic chaos. But it is also to prevent the SMC generals from retiring to a life in luxury after having run down the country. Politically and economically Rawlings is inspired by socialist ideas. [2]

Dr. Hilla Limann and his People's National Party wins the election, but it is a close call: PNP gets 71 of the 140 seats in parliament. [2]

Rawlings supports the AFRC in its determination to end corruption and restore order and justice before returning Ghana to democracy. The former leaders from the SMC government are tried and executed together with the three former chief of states: Acheampong, Akuffo and Afrifa. Several hundred government officials and businessmen are sent to prison. [2]

September - AFRC turns over power to Hilla Limann. Rawlings and his soldiers returns to the army. [2]

The new government tries, but not hard enough. It is not able to solve the economic stagnation of Ghana. Necessary, but unpopular economic reforms are given up in fear of unrest and a new coup. [2]


Jerry Rawlings is not forgotten. He gains more and more popularity as he continues to demand an end to corruption. But Limann seems to have forgot the lessons learned from his predecessors. The corruption returns to society and internal conflicts finally break up the ruling party. [2]


December - Jerry Rawlings once again takes power through a military coup. The Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) is established with Rawlings as chairman. The parliament is dissolved and all political parties forbidden, but Rawlings insists that the (long-term) goal is restoring democracy in Ghana. [2]

In all parts of the country local committees are established to build up democracy at all levels, inspire public participation and fight corruption. While the committee work gives many Ghanaians a better feeling of responsibility and influence, all political opposition is strictly forbidden. [2]


Several coup attempts are made by dissatisfied parts of the army (mainly from the northern regions). None of the coups are successful. Opposition groups operating from Togo almost succeed in a takeover. Relations between neighbouring countries Togo and Ghana worsen. [2]

Rawlings adopts conservative economic policies, abolishing subsidies and price controls, privatising many state enterprises and devaluing the currency. [1]


The Ghanaian economy finally shows signs of improvement, and even though Rawlings has a tough grip on Ghana, he maintains his popularity (first of all among workers and rural population). Rawlings has strong connections to Libya, Cuba and Eastern Europe, but his efforts to improve the economy are bring new loans by the IMF. For the following years Ghana continues to have the highest growth rate in Africa. Rawlings speaks strongly against economic globalisation allowing market prices on Cocoa to determine the future of a developing country like Ghana. [2]


The Preventive Custody Law allows the government to imprison opponents for the sake of "state security". The prisons are crowded with political prisoners. [2]

Major Courage Qarshigah and other officers makes an attempt on Rawlings life. They are sentenced and one is found hanged in his prison cell. Amnesty International and the Western donor countries begin to criticise a lack of human rights in Ghana. [2]


Rawlings forms the National Commission for Democracy to work out plans for the political future of Ghana. [2]


A new democratic constitution is passed. Political prisoners are freed and parties are allowed. Free press and human rights organisations emerge in Ghana. [1] [2]

November - Multi-party elections in Ghana. Surprisingly Rawlings wins the presidential election with nearly 60% of the votes. The opposition accuses Rawlings of fraud and boycotts the election for parliament. As a result of the boycott Rawlings' National Democratic Congress and its smaller coalition partners are getting all seats. Independent observers approve the elections as being free and fair. Rawlings now has a democratic base to continue the work he started during the long period with a military junta. [2]


The political climate between government and opposition slowly improves. Economic growth continues in Ghana, which is still praised by the IMF. [2]


A land conflict between the Ethnic groups of Konkombas and Nunumbas results in the "Guinea Fowl War" in north-eastern Ghana. Ancient conflicts are ignited after a discussion on a market place. Up to 2000 are killed and 150,000 are displaced. A peace treaty is signed, but violence breaks out again several times in the following years. [1] [2]


May - The parliament approves a VAT at 17%, resulting in several demonstrations and some riots, specially in the capital of Accra. The government cancels the unpopular VAT - probably concerned about the forthcoming elections. [2]

Government imposes curfew in Northern Region as renewed ethnic violence results in a further 100 deaths. [1]


Rawlings is re-elected with 57% of the votes. NDC remains the biggest party in parliament, but John Kufuor's New Patriotic Party also has strong representation. The opposition and all observers approve the elections. The West continues to be content and optimistic about the situation in Ghana, even though economic progress is now at a much smaller rate. [2]

Late 1990's:

Popularity of NDC fades as the opposition puts forward accusations of corruption within the government. Rawlings remains popular, but is also personally accused of corruption. [2]


The Ghanaian Kofi Annan is appointed Secretary General of the United Nations, bringing great pride to the country. [2]


The level of water is falling in the Akosombo reservoirs resulting in power shortage for Ghana. With normal water levels the damn can supply all of Ghana and even sell electricity to Togo and Benin as well, except for the fact that 40% of the electricity is owned by a very hard contract with the American Valco company, which consumes huge amounts of power for it's Aluminium production. Construction of a nuclear power plant is considered by the Ghanaian government, but is found to be far too expensive. The energy crisis is partly solved by increasing the supply of electricity from Côte d'Ivoire. [2]


January - Members of NDC break out and create the Reform Movement as a large opposition party. [2]

August - Police hit hard on student demonstrations. The demonstrations end when the Universities are forced to close by the government. [2]


December - Rawlings' presidency ends as the constitution only allows two terms in office. Vice president John Atta Mills is new presidential candidate, but it is John Kufour from NPP who wins elections and becomes the new president. [2]


February - Petrol prices rise by 60% following the government's decision to remove fuel subsidies. [1]

April - Ghana accepts debt relief under a scheme designed by the World Bank and the IMF. [1] [2]

May - National day of mourning after football stadium stampede leaves 126 dead. Inquiry blames police for overreacting to crowd trouble. [1] [2]

June - Government scraps public holiday celebrating Rawling's military coup in an effort to wipe out the legacy of his rule. [1]

Floods hit Accra, causing 10 deaths and forcing 100,000 to flee their homes. [1] [2]

November - The British government is found to be withholding aid for the improvement of the water system in the city of Kumasi until all contracts for the lease of the country's water supplies are agreed. "Effectively," says Christian Aid, "the UK is withholding funds from the final phase of a project that will bring water to more people as a lever to force through a public-private partnership that may not." [8] [9]


April - State of emergency is declared in the north after a tribal chief and more than 30 others are killed in clan violence. State of emergency is lifted in August 2004. [1]

May - President Kufuor inaugurates reconciliation commission to look into human rights violations during military rule. [1] [2]


October - Government approves merger of two gold-mining firms, creating new gold-mining giant. [1]


February - Former President Jerry Rawlings testifies at commission investigating human rights offences during the early years of his rule. [1]

October - Group of current and former military personnel detained on suspicion of planning to destabilise government ahead of elections. [1]

December - Presidential poll: Incumbent John Kufuor wins a second term. [1]


April-May - Thousands of Togolese refugees arrive, fleeing political violence in their home country. [1]


April - A boat capsizes on Lake Volta reservoir; more than 100 passengers are feared drowned. [1]

June - Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promises to lend Ghana about $66m to fund development projects. He is on an African tour aimed at opening new export markets for China's booming economy and at securing energy and mineral supplies. [1]


March - Ghana celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain. [1]

June - Major off-shore oil discovery announced. President Kufuor says oil will turn Ghana into an "African tiger". [1]

September - The worst floods for more than 30 years cause widespread devastation, destroying much of the annual harvest. [1]

November - Mining firms are accused of polluting Ghana and other African countries as well as using heavy handed tactics with locals. [6]

December - President Kufuor says off-shore oil reserves total 3 billion barrels. [1]


December - John Atta Mills, candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress, is elected president, narrowly winning a run-off vote against Nana Akufo-Addo, of incumbent President John Kufuor's New Patriotic Party. [1] [2]