Ghanaian people

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Flag of Ghana.svg
Kwame Nkrumah (JFKWHP-AR6409-A).jpg
Kofi Annan 2012 (cropped).jpg
Abedi Pele 2007.jpg
Hon. Samia Nkrumah.jpg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Ghana Republic of Ghana : 20 million (2013 estimate)[1][2]
South Africa 2,000,000 [n1][3]
Jamaica 1,000,000 [n1][4]
Brazil 442,189 [n1][5]
PR China 200,000 [n1][6]
United Kingdom 93,000 [n1][7]
United States 91,322 [n1][8]
Italy 46,980 [n1][9][10][11]
Netherlands 40,000 [n1][10][12]
Canada 23,225 [n1][13][10]
Germany 21,850 [n1][10]
Spain 12,699 [n1][14]
Lebanon 10,297 [n1][15]
France 10,000 [n1][16]
Australia 2,770 [n1][17]
Japan 2,524 [n1][18][19]
Norway 2,134 [n1][20]
Cuba 533 [n1][21]
New Zealand 277 [n1][22]
Russian Federation 200 [n1][23]
Akan predominantly[24]

Related ethnic groups
^[n1] Ghanaian citizens or Ghanaian card nationals.

The Ghanaian people are a nationality originating in the Ghanaian Gold Coast. Ghanaians predominantly inhabit the republic of Ghana, and they are the predominant cultural group and residents of Ghana numbering 20 million people as of 2013.[1][2] Over 80% of Ghanaians are predominant and proficient speakers of the Akan language.[24] Ethnic Ghanaians make up 85.4% of the total population.[1][2] The word, "Ghana", means "Warrior King".[27]

Approximately 20 million Ghanaians are residents of the 4th Republic of Ghana;[1][2] worldwide, an additional estimated diaspora population of 4 million people are of Ghanaian descent.[28] The term ethnic Ghanaian may also be used in some contexts to refer to a locus of ethnic groups native to the Gold Coast.[29] The Republic of Ghana is a natural resource, mineral resource and fossil fuel rich nation and is home to one of the world's largest gold bar and sweet crude oil reserves and they are the second major producers of cocoa in the world.[30]

The Republic of Ghana is an economical powerhouse in West Africa,[31] and has one of the biggest economies on the African continent and one of the world's fastest growing economies.[32]

Origin, ethnogenesis and history[edit]

The origin and ethnogenesis of the ancient ethnic Ghanaians is traced back to nomadic migration from Nubia along the Sahara desert then south to the Gold Coast, and the Ghanaian ethnogenesis taking place on the Ghanaian Gold Coast region from the 10th century AD to the 16th century AD.[33] The Ghanaians started a lucrative trade with Ghanaian gold bars and other Ghanaian natural minerals to the Portuguese in 1471 and then the Ghanaians became the wealthiest ethnic group and nation state on the African continent from the 17th century onwards following successful further expansion of lucrative Ghanaian gold bars trading to the Dutch, Prussian and Scandinavians from the 16th century through to the 20th century.[34]

The Ghanaians established a number of powerful kingdoms from the 10th century AD to the 17th century and the Ghanaians became the dominant military power in the west of Africa.[34] In 1902, the powerful Ghanaian kingdoms had all become a colony of Britain and their powerful kingdoms was renamed Gold Coast following a series of military warfare battles between the Ghanaians and the British.[34] The Ghanaians gained their independence from Britain in 1957, and renamed their sovereign state; "Ghana (Warrior King)" due to the fact that pre-historic Republic of Ghana was ruled by warriors.[35] The Republic of Ghana was the first African country to gain independence from European colonization.[36]


Main article: Demographics of Ghana

Out of Ghana's 2013 population of 20 million people in 2013,[1][2] more than ninety percent of the Ghanaian citizens in Ghana live in urban areas – a figure higher than the world average. The rate of Ghana's population growth is at the world average.[25]

National identity and citizenship[edit]

The inhabitants of Ghana possessing Ghanaian passports are 20 million persons including an additional 3‒4 million persons abroad. Ghana has a diverse population that reflects its colourful history and the peoples that have populated Ghana from ancient times to the present with the historic amalgam of the different main groups forming the basics of Ghana's current demographics and Ghanaian nationality: The largest population is the native West Africans people, they make up 98% percent of the population.[37][38][39] There is also a new population of Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans and other recent immigrants.[40] In order to obtain Ghanaian nationality, one must be naturalized after seven years of Ghana Card permanent residency.[40] The Asians; Middle Easterners; and Europeans who have lived in Ghana for most of their lives have acquired Ghanaian citizenship, which is granted without any discrimination.[40] Predominantly, over 80% of Ghanaians predominantly speak Akan.[24] 67.1% of Ghanaians speak English.[25][41] There are over 100 different ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language.[42] However, languages that belong to the same ethnic group are usually mutually intelligible. There are 9 language family groups, and eleven languages from these groups are officially sponsored by the goveremet: they are Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Ewe, Mfantse, Ga, Dangme, Dagbani, Nzema, Dagaare, Gonja and Kasem.[40][43] During the Gold Coast era, Ghanaian nationalism gained dominance through the Ghanaian Big Six independence movement, a number of Caucasians intermarried with natives and had offsprings who became successful, such as Gold Coasters Carel Hendrik Bartels and James Bannerman. Most Caucasian settlers left Gold Coast after it won independence. Currently the most non native immigrant populations in Ghana are African immigrants from other African countries, Asians; Indians and Chinese and Middle Easterners; particularly Lebanese, and Syrians.


According to a Y-DNA study by Wood et al. (2005), indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana carry 1.1% West Eurasian haplogroup R1b.[44][nb 1] Indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana belong to paternal lineages: 2.2% E1a and 92.3% E1b1a.[44] Indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana are 1.1% E1b1b clade bearers, a haplogroup which is most common in North Africa and the Horn of Africa.[44]

Nationalism, independence and transformation to republic[edit]

Universal Newsreel about the independence of Ghana in 1957.

The Ghanaian nationalism was suspended by the Ghanaian Government during the time of the World War II, but was resumed in 1945.[45] The Ghanaian allied with the Allies in the World War II.[45] The Fifth Pan-African Congress held on October 1945, served to form the support for the liberalization of Ghanaian colonial domination on 4 August 1947.[45][46] On June 12, 1949, Kwame Nkrumah, formed the first governing party in the history of the Ghanaian Gold Coast, which did not cooperate with the British and which led to the achievement of Ghanaian independence and the opposition to the 1951 Constitution, in which Nkrumah was incarcerated together with his collaborators.[46]

On 8 February 1951, the first elections in the history of the Ghanaian Gold Coast were held, Nkrumah won, which was confirmed on 12 February 1951.[46] Ghanaian nationalism was initiated in organisation with the Ghanaian nationlist movement, the Big Six and through the Ghanaian Aborigines' Rights Protection Society (ARPS); then strikes and mass riots were formed on the streets of Gold Coast by its natives for Gold Coast independence, the British governor at the time, the Earl of Listowel, proclaim Gold Coast's independence on 6 March 1957,[47] Nkrumah became the first Ghanaian Prime Minister.[48] On 1 July 1960, Nkrumah drew up the first Constitution of Ghana, and from that, the British monarch ceased to be head of state, and Ghana was transformed into a republic.[48]

National Borders, Regions and Terrestrial plains[edit]

National Border, Region and Terrestrial plain of the 4th Republic of Ghana
Map of Ghana with national border, geographical regions and terrestrial plains colour-coded
Accra Seat of Government and Capital City.
Bolgatanga Ghana's gateway to Burkina Faso.
Cape Coast Cape Coast castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Elmina Coastal town with a quite harrowing fort.
Koforidua Aburi Botanical Gardens location.
Kumasi Traditional centre of the Kingdom of Ashanti.
Obuasi The World's 10th largest Gold Mine location; and Mining town.
Sekondi-Takoradi Ghana's sweet crude oil fieds and location of Beaches and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Tamale Largest city in the north of Ghana and gateway to Mole National Park.


Approximately 5% of Ghanaian citizens live in rural areas and 95% in urban areas. The rate of urbanization estimated for the period 2010–2015 is 4% per annum,[49] one of the highest among developing countries. There is 3‒4 million Ghanaians in the diaspora.[28]

Region (2010)[25] Region population Area (km²)[25] City (2010)[50] City population Administrative divisions of Ghana
Ashanti Region 4,780,380 24,389
Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) logo.png
Kumasi 1,989,062
Administrative Divisions of Ghana.
Brong-Ahafo Region 2,310,983 39,557
Sunyani Municipal Assembly (SMA) logo.JPG
Sunyani 87,642
Central Region 2,201,863 9,826
Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly(CCMA) logo.PNG
Cape Coast 217,032
Eastern Region 2,633,154 19,323
New-Juaben Municipal District logo.jpg
Koforidua 127,334
Greater Accra Region 4,010,054 3,245
Accra Metropolitan Assembly logo.jpg
Accra 2,291,352
Northern Region 2,479,461 70,384
Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA) logo.jpg
Tamale 537,986
Upper East Region 1,046,545 8,842
Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly (BMA) logo.JPG
Bolgatanga 66,68
Upper West Region 702,110 18,476 Wa 102,446
Volta Region 2,118,252 20,570
Ho Municipal Assembly District logo.jpg
Ho 96,213
Western Region 2,376,021 23,921
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) logo.jpg
Sekondi-Takoradi 445,205
Total Ghana Ghana
24,658,823 238,533

Ghanaian society and culture[edit]

Ghanaian and Ghana's culture has been practiced by Ghanaians since foundation of the ancient kingdoms of pre-historic Ghana. Ghana's and Ghanaian cultural diversity is most evident in cuisine, arts, literature, heritage, music, dance, clothing, and sports.[51][52]

The Ghanaian Kente national costume is very important in Ghanaian culture. The textile cloths are used to make the Ghanaian traditional and modern attire. Different symbols and different colours mean different things. Kente is an Ghanaian ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom. Strips measuring about 4 inches wide are sewn together into larger pieces of cloths. Cloths come in various colours, sizes and designs and are worn during very important social occasions.[51] The Ghanaian national literature and Voices of Ghana is one of the oldest in the entire African continent, and the first work of Ghanaian literature dates from 163 A.D.[53][54] The most prominent Ghanaian authors are novelists; Ayi Kwei Armah and J. E. Casely Hayford, who have reached international success thanks to their most famous works, which are The Beautiful Unborn and Osiris Rising, respectively.[53] In addition to the novels, other literature arts such as Ghanaian theatre and Ghanaian poetry have also had a very good development at the Ghanaian national level.[53] During the 13th century, Ghanaians developed their unique art of adinkra printing.[53] The Ghanaian music incorporates several distinct types of musical instruments such as the talking drum ensembles, the Ghanaian atenteben and koloko lute, court music, including the atumpan, and log xylophones used in asonko music. The most well-known genre to come from Ghana is highlife.[55] Highlife originated in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In the 1990s, a new genre of music, Ghanaian hiplife, was created through the combination of highlife, Afro-reggae, dancehall and hiphop.[56] Hiplife is the most popular Ghanaian music,[57] followed by the other genre of Ghanaian music, highlife.[58] Ghanaian dance is globally well known and performed worldwide.[56] The dances are varried and may involve complex and co-ordinated movement of the arms, torso, hips, feet and head. They are performed to the different Ghanaian music forms for celebrating, entertainment and other occasions. Some popular dances include Adowa and Azonto.[59] Other traditional dances from Ghana, are Kpanlogo; Klama; and Bamaya.[59] Sports in Ghana is dominated by association football represented by the Ghana Premier League and the Ghana national football team.[60]

Republic of Ghana Supreme Commander-in-chief (1957–present)[edit]

Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Ghana: Nkrumah, Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills and Mahama.

In 1966, Nkrumah was withdrawn and impeached which, from then on, the Republic of Ghana entered a period of military regime and political changes, which ended on 31 December 1981,[61] led by the regime of Field marshal and Marshal of the Air force of the Air force, under the command of Flight lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings. After succession to power, Rawlings ordered the introduction of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, and party system which incorporated the Government of Ghana.[61] In 1992, Rawlings emerged as Ghanaian head of state and Chief of the Defence Staff.[61]

In 2002, John Agyekum Kufuor succeeded Rawlings as Ghanaian head of state until the year 2008.[61] Kufuor was replaced as Ghanaian head of state by John Atta Mills until the year 2012.[62] In 2013, John Dramani Mahama succeeded Mills as the Republic of Ghana Supreme Commander-in-Chief and President of Ghana.[62]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Facts About Ghana". Ministry of Tourism (Ghana). 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "A Journey Through Islam: Muslims have come up well in Ghana". Arab News. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  3. ^ New money transfer facility for Ghanaians in SA,, retrieved 10 July 2013 
  4. ^ See: Coromantee. Edwards, Alesia, "Trekking for 'Tacky'", (The Jamaica Observer), retrieved 23 July 2012 
  5. ^ Hirsch, Afua (31 January 2013), Ghana opens its arms to diaspora in Brazil and beyond, London: The Guardian, retrieved 31 January 2013 
  6. ^ See: Chinese people in Ghana. 200,000 Ghanaians visited China last year – Ambassador,, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  7. ^ See: Ghanaians in the United Kingdom – The United Kingdoms's Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported in 2009 that 93,000 Britons were citizens or nationals of Ghana. Office for National Statistics (September 2009), "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)", 2009 United Kingdom Census (, retrieved 21 June 2012 
  8. ^ See: Ghanaian American – The United States's United States Census Bureau reported in 2010 that 91,322 Americans were citizens or nationals of Ghana. United States Census Bureau (2010). "US Census Bureau, 2010, Ghanaian-American; Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". 2010 United States Census. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  9. ^ See: Ghanaian people in Italy – The Italy's National Institute of Statistics (Italy) reported in 2010 that 46,980 Italians were citizens or nationals of Ghana. National Institute of Statistics (Italy) (2010), "National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT)", 2010 Italy Census (, retrieved 21 June 2012 
  10. ^ a b c d Micah Bump (2006), "Ghana: Searching for Opportunities at Home and Abroad", Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University (, retrieved 21 June 2012 
  11. ^ "Comuni Italiani". Comuni. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.  (Italian)
  12. ^ Statistics Netherlands reported in 2003 that 40,000 Dutch people were citizens or nationals of Ghana. See:
    Statistics Netherlands (2003), "Bevolking, publicaties en artikelen", Netherlands 2003 Census (, retrieved 21 June 2012 
  13. ^ Statistics Canada reported in 2006 that 23,225 Canadians were citizens or nationals of Ghana. See:
    Statistics Canada (2006), "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories", Canada 2006 Census (, retrieved 21 June 2012 
  14. ^ See: Immigration to Spain. "Datos – Instituto Nacional de Estadística. (National Statistics)", Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spain), 2007, retrieved 21 June 2012  (Spanish)
  15. ^ Hayeon Lee, African men in Lebanon,, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  16. ^ See: Ghanaians in France. "Raveil de l'ethnicit", (Hyper Articles en Ligne), retrieved 21 June 2013  (French)
  17. ^ The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in 2006 that 2,770 Australians were citizens or nationals of Ghana. See:
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2007), "Community Information Summary – Ghana-born", 2006 Australian Census (, retrieved 21 June 2012 
  18. ^ Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), President Mills set to achieve Better Ghana Agenda,, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  19. ^ No Ghanaian has perished in Japan-Ghana Embassy in Japan,, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  20. ^ Statistics Norway (SSB) (1 January 2010), "Statistics Norway – Persons with immigrant background by immigration category and country background", 2010 Norwegian Census (, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  21. ^ Ghana News Agency (GNA) (23 October 2011), Ghana Signs MOU to train 250 medical personnel in Cuba-Veep,, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  22. ^ [1] Immigration and Ethnicity in the Auckland region. Statistics New Zealand. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  23. ^ Govt Ghanaian in Russia. peacefmonline. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  24. ^ a b c "Akan (Twi) at Rutgers". Rutgers University Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "Ghana – 2010 Population and Housing Census". Government of Ghana. 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "CIA WORLD FACTBOOK - Report". Retrieved 12 August 2013. , "2010 Population and Housing Census" (PDF). Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "History of Ghana",, retrieved 27 April 2013 
  28. ^ a b "Jamaica National launches new Ghana money transfer brand". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  29. ^ "The Ghanaian people",, retrieved 27 April 2013 
  30. ^ Dave Brown. "Top 10 Gold Producers". Gold Investing News. Retrieved 27 April 2013. , "World Cocoa -". WorldCrops. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "New fuel for faster development". Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  32. ^ "Five Countries to Watch". Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  33. ^ Cohen, Robin (1995). The Cambridge Survey of World Migration. Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN 052-1-4440-55.  Wickens, Gerald E; Lowe, Pat (2008). The Baobabs: Pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. Springer Science+Business Media. 2008. p. 360. ISBN 978-1-4020-6431-9. 
  34. ^ a b c Chronology of world history: a calendar of principal events from 3000 BC to AD 1973, Part 1973.
  35. ^ "Etymology of Ghana". Douglas Harper. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  36. ^ Video: A New Nation. Gold Coast becomes Ghana In Ceremony, 1957/03/07 (1957). Universal Newsreel. 1957. Retrieved 27 April 2013. , "First For Sub-Saharan Africa". BBC. Retrieved 27 April 2013. , "Exploring Africa". Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  37. ^ "Ghana Embassy – Population". Ghana Embassy. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  38. ^ "Ghana Demographics Profile 2013". Indexmundi. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  39. ^ "General Information – Key Figures". GhanaWeb. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  40. ^ a b c d UNHCR 2001
  41. ^ "Welcome". Government of Ghana. 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2014. "The Ghanaian Government states that English is the official language. It is being widely used in business, law, and government documents, as well being taught throughout schools as a medium of instruction. For the official percentage of English language speakers in Ghana see List of countries by English-speaking population" 
  42. ^ Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulai and John M. Chernoff (1992). "Master Drummers of Dagbon, Volumes 1 and 2". Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  43. ^ "Regions in Ghana",, retrieved 26 June 2012 
  44. ^ a b c Wood, Elizabeth T et al 2005 Contrasting patterns of Y chromosome and mtDNA variation in Africa: evidence for sex-biased demographic processes; also Appendix A
  45. ^ a b c "Nationalism and Independence". Ghana50. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  46. ^ a b c "Nationalism and Independence Parte 2". Ghana50. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  47. ^ "History of Ghana". Ghana50. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  48. ^ a b "Post-Independence Ghana". Ghana50. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  49. ^ World Bank (2012). "Government of Ghana partners with Cities Alliance to host Special Forum on rapid urbanization in Ghana". World Bank. Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  50. ^ "World Gazetteer online". Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  51. ^ a b "Man Ray, African art, and the modernist lens", Wendy Grossman, Martha Ann Bari, Letty Bonnell, International Arts & Artists, 2009 – Photography, 183 pp.
  52. ^ A Treasury of African Folklore: the oral literature, traditions, myths, legends, epics, tales, recollections, wisdom, sayings, and humor of Africa, Crown Publishers, 1975, 617 pp.
  53. ^ a b c d "Ghana". Amadeus (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  54. ^ Harvard University. Gérard. 1990.p:81
  55. ^ "Influential Drummer Who Emphasised the African Origins of Jazz". 12 February 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  56. ^ a b Kwasi Ampene. Female Song Tradition. Google Books''. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  57. ^ HKW. "Ghana Hiplife" (in German). Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  58. ^ "Ghanaian Highlife Music". National Geographic. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  59. ^ a b "Ghanaian Dance" (PDF). Temple University. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  60. ^ Kofi Nsiah & Sabrina Schmidt. "50 years of the Ghanaian National Football Team". Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  61. ^ a b c d "Notes: Country Republic of Ghana". Embassy of Spain in Accra (in Spanish). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and cooperation. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  62. ^ a b MPs called to Parliament as CJ prepares to swear in John Mahama as president.


  1. ^ Ghana Kwa: Indigenous Ghanaians of Kwa speaking ethnicity in Ghana 68.8% of Ghana's population ― Akan (Ashanti, Fanti), Ga-Adangbe, and Ewe; also Y-DNA haplogroups by populations of Sub-Saharan Africa.

External links[edit]