Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by the 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 is derived from the medieval Ghana Empire.
Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the inland Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Akyem, the Bonoman, the Denkyira and the Fante among others. Non-Akan states created by the Ga also existed as did states by the Dagomba. Prior to contact with Europeans trade between the Akan and various African states flourished due to Akan gold wealth. Trade with European states began after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century. In 1874 Britain established control over some parts of the country assigning these areas the status of Gold Coast Crown colony.
The Gold Coast achieved independence from the United Kingdom’s colonial rule in 1957, becoming the first African nation to do so. A global poll in 2012 found that Ghana was the most religious country in the world.
Ghana is a member of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and an associate member of La Francophonie. Ghana is one of the largest cocoa producers in the world, and is also home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.
Ghana is a country located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, therefore giving it a warm climate. The country spans an area of 238,500 km2 (92,085 sq mi). It is surrounded by Togo to the east, Côte d’Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south.
Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N, and longitudes 4°W and 2°E. The Prime Meridian passes through the country, specifically through the industrial city of Tema. Ghana is geographically closer to the “centre” of the world than any other country even though the notional centre, (0°, 0°) is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 614 km (382 mi) south of Accra, Ghana, in the Gulf of Guinea.
Lake Volta in Ghana is the largest reservoir in the world, extending from the Akosombo Dam in southeastern Ghana to the town of Yapei, some 400 kilometres (250 mi) to the north. The lake generates electricity, provides inland transport, and is a potentially valuable resource for irrigation and fish farming
The country encompasses flat plains, low hills and a few rivers. Ghana can be divided into four different geographical regions. The coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains and scrub and intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of the country features high plains. Southwest and south central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau; the hilly Akwapim-Togo ranges are found along the country’s eastern border.
The Volta Basin also takes up most of central Ghana. Ghana’s highest point is Mount Afadjato which is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo Ranges. The climate is tropical. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the southwest corner is hot and humid, and the north is hot and dry. Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, extends through large portions of eastern Ghana and many tributary rivers such as the Oti and Afram rivers flow into it. The northernmost part of Ghana is Pulmakong and the southernmost part is Cape three points near Axim. Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N
There are two main seasons in Ghana: the wet and the dry seasons. Northern Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while the south, including the capital Accra, experiences the season from April to mid-November. Southern Ghana contains evergreen and semi-deciduous forests consisting of trees such as mahogany, odum and ebony. It also contains much of Ghana’s oil palms and mangroves. Shea trees, baobabs and acacias are usually found in the Volta region and the northern part of the country.
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