Flag of Ghana

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Ghana
Flag of Ghana.svg
UseNational flag, civil and state ensign
Proportion2:3
Adopted1957
28 February 1966 (readoption)
DesignA horizontal triband of red, gold, and green, charged with a black star in the centre
Designed byTheodosia Okoh
Civil Ensign of Ghana.svg
Variant flag of Ghana
UseCivil ensign
Proportion2:3
DesignA red field with the national flag, fimbriated in black, in the canton
Naval Ensign of Ghana.svg
Variant flag of Ghana
UseNaval ensign
Proportion2:3
DesignRed St. George's Cross on white centrrensign, with the national flag in canton.

The national flag of Ghana was designed in replacement of the flag of the United Kingdom which was then in use for all the countries which were colonized.[1] The Ghana national flag was designed in 1957 by the late Theodosia Okoh[2] and it was adopted within the same year when Ghana attained its independence.[3] The flag was flown until 1959 and it was then reinstated in 1966. It consists of the Pan-African colours of red, gold, and green, in horizontal stripes, with a black five-pointed star in the centre of the gold stripe. The Ghanaian flag was the second African flag after the flag of the Ethiopian Empire to feature these colours. The flag's design influenced that of the flag of Guinea-Bissau (1973). The flag of Ghana was designed by the late Mrs. Theodosia Okoh born on Tuesday, June 13, 1922 in the Wenchi town of Ghana,[4] and died in the year 2015 in Accra where she spent most of her life with family.[5][6][7]

Description of flag colours[edit]

The Ghana flag was designed in three beautiful and brighting colours following in sequence of red, gold and green.[8] The colours are a representation of the country's struggle for independence and a symbol of its rich resources within the geographical location[9] of the country among other African countries.[10] The three colours used are very catchy and memorable with a star of the sky designed in a black colour within the centre, taking the centre coverage of the gold colour.[11]

The red colour of the national flag of Ghana was used to represent the blood of forefathers who led the struggle of independence and shared their blood through death. The country's struggle for independence from the British colony of the Great Britain,[12] took the life of prominent Ghanaian leaders at the time. Name as the big six were Edward Akufo Addo, Dr. Ako Adjei, William Ofori Atta, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, and later Osagyefor Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.[13] The big six formed the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC)[14][15][16][17] a political party formed to liberate the people of the Gold Coast from the slavery and oppressions of the British colonial rule.[18] Red also stands for love which might influence our forefathers who led the struggles for Ghana's indepdence for the love of the nation.[19]

The gold colour takes the centre line of the three colours attraction and it represents the mineral resources mostly found in the Ashanti region of Ghana, helping to harness the wealth of the country.[20] The gold is one of Ghana's mineral resources found mostly in Obuasi and Tarkwa towns of the Ashanti region.[21] The enrichment of the gold resources of Ghana led to the initial name the Gold Coast which was later changed to Ghana of the struggle and success of the attainment of independence in 1957.[22] Other Ghana's mineral resources are diamond, bauxite, and manganese.[23]

The green symbolizes the Ghana's rich forests and natural wealth[24] that provides the nation with oil, food and cash crops, such as cocoa, timber, sheabutter,[25] and all kinds of food products of the country.[26] The green colour till today is used as a symbol of the green vegetations of crop produce in Ghana.[27] Ghana is noted for it cash crop of cocoa which was first brought to Ghana by Tetteh Quarshie from Fernando Po. Most of Ghana cash crops are exported to oversea countries in exchange for physical cash which is use for the country's development of roads, schools, water, sanitation and industries for employment.[28]

The black star of the Ghana national flag is a symbol used to represent the emancipation of Africa and unity against colonialism.[29][30][31] The black star was adopted from the flag of the Black Star Line, a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey that operated from 1919 to 1922.[32] It is where the Ghana national football team derive their nickname, the "Black Stars".

Ghana's struggle for independence before the national flag[edit]

Ghana was one of the countries counted among the West African regions of the colonial government rule since the 15th to 19th century of the Gold Coast. The history of Ghana can therefore traced back to the 15th century when the europeans arrived.[33][34] The Portuguese navigators sailed their way down the West African coast and to the shores of the Gold Coast in 1471 where they build a castle for themselves at the Elmina in 1482.[35] Other europeans followed in 1492 to include the sailor from France. The europeans brought a gold cargo to the shores of the Gold Coast where they traded in gold with the Akwamu's who controlled an extensive part of the coast in the 17th century.[36] Later the dominance of the Ashanti's of Kumasi in the 18th century took over the gold trade with the British, Dutch and Danes who were the main european traders at the Tano and Volta rivers.[37] The most valuable commodity for export at the time changed from gold to slavery. Slaves were traded for muskets besides other western commodities. The Ashante's by then were locally empowered to take control with the Ashantehene enthroned on a golden stool as a tradition of the Ashante's. Between 1804 to 1814, the British, Dutch and Danes subsequently outlaw the slave trade which was a big blow to the Ashante's.[38][39][40] The situation became a warefare in 1820 and in 1824 and 1870 subsequently defeated by the British force who shortly occupied the region of Kumasi in 1874. The British gradually emerged the coastal regions as the main european power.[41][42]

The colonial period started from 1902 to 1957. The Ashante's Kingdom in 1902 was declared a British crown colony and became the protectorate of the northern terroterate of the Gold Coast. The colonians ruled without the involvement of the African populace in the political process. After the World War II, the Gold Coast colony became prominence among the among the Sub-Saharan African countries.[43][44][45] It was at a time when Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had returned back to the Gold Coast in 1947 after twelve years of political study in the USA and the Great Britain. The coming back to the Gold Coast was an invitation for Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to lead the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) as the General Secretary with the aim to lead the campaign for self government. The UGCC at the time had won the right of the African majority in British legislative colony. With the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, a wide spread riot began in February 1948.[46][47] Within the same year, the UGCC found leaders arrested the Secretary General Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for an alert of thoughts against Nkrumah's leadership plans. The incident brought a split of the UGCC leadership with Kwame Nkrumah having to found his own Convention People's Party (CPP) in June 1949 for the aim of self-governance for the African people, dubbed "Self-government now". A non violent campaign of protest and strikes were organized by Kwame Nkrumah in 1950 in achievement of his goal.[48][49][50] But riot led to the second arrest of Kwame Nkrumah.[51] The colonies general election brought a big win to the Convention People's Party in the absence of Kwame Nkrumah, leading to the release of Kwame Nkrumah from the prison to join the governance of the country. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah then became the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1952.[52] In a vote of the 1956 direct vote of all the electorate members the British Togo voted to join the Gold Coast in the campaign for the preparations towards independence.[53] The Togo and Gold Coast territories attained independent from the colonial rule in 1957 under the supreme will power of Kwame Nkrumah. The name for the country Ghana was then adopted.[54][55]

The years of the independence of the Gold Coast started in 1957 with the new name of the county Ghana emerged.[56] An independence was granted and announced by the then Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who led the struggle for the independence.[57] With Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as the President, Ghana became a Republic on 1 July 1960.[58]

Theodosia Okoh (The national flag's designer)[edit]

Known as Mrs. Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Okoh born on Tuesday, June 13, 1922 at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana was a renowned artist who has contested and showcase her artistic designs across nations.[59] As an artist, she had used many mediums and colours to create artistic works like paintings with oil and water colours, collages with feathers and corn stalks, and galleries used in many local and international homes. She joined the Ghana Hockey Association (GHA) and work in the role of a chairperson and a patron of the Sports Writer's Association of Ghana (SWAG).[60] She was married to the late Mr. Enoch K Okoh, the then secretary to Ghana's Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service until the uprising in 1966. Until her death at the age of ninety-three years in 2015, Theodosia has published an autobiography in 2002 when she was eighty years which she revised in the tenth year. Her autobiography tells much of the life in the early days of Ghana before, during and after independence.[61]

Meaning and reasons for the Ghana national flag[edit]

The Ghana flag in itself stands absolutely as the symbol of power of the country and the success of attaining its independence after years of struggles with the British colonial government.[62] Ghana as part of the colonized African countries fought for its independence against the oppressor's rule.[63] The flag was then created to symbolize Ghana's freedom and a show of victory from imprisonment, bondage, slavery and the British dictatorship.[64][65] The flag was then created among several reasons and facts for its use.

The national flag of Ghana was created upon attaining independence on 6 March 1957. It was first flown on the first Independence Day celebration as a show of freedom after many decades of the British rule.[66][67]

The early settlers of Ghana found the land of the geographical area to have contained gold and other mineral resources and initially named the region among other West African countries as the land of the Gold Coast. The main reason for the use of a gold colour in the centre of the Ghana national flag.[68][69][70]

That the toil of our forefathers who were used as slaves, and cheap labour by the Dutch of the United Kingdom or Great Britain was over forever. Anytime the people of Ghana see the Ghana national flag, it reminds them of their toil and now having their freedom forever.[71][72][73]

The land of Ghana by its nature is rich in agricultural resources and green vegetations.[74] The production of food crops for local use and exports. The green forest that leads to the production of timber, cocoa leading to the production of woods, coffee, and chocolates.[75][76] These resources are by itself enough for us to manage our own resources and to celebrate the rich culture of the indigenous people with a proud green colour of the flag.[77][78]

The struggle for Ghana's freedom started with the first arrive of the Europeans.[79] There were racists attitudes against the Ghanaian people by the black nature of the colour of their skin which looks unattractive. Against all odds, the Ghanaian people were proud of the black nature of their skin colour and add chosen black colour star to symbolize the beauty of the black skin. Also, the black star shipping line as one of the main reasons of the oppressors who were against Ghana's profitable port of exporting their rich resources for monetary gains.[80][81]

The creation of the Union of African States (UAS) and Ghana's union with the Guinea in 1959 led to the creation of the flag with two stars based on the fact that Guinea did not own a country flag. The two stars then symbolized Ghana's union with the Guinea after Guinea had attained its independence. A third star was added a result of the Malians independence and joining the Union of African States in May 1959.[82] The Union flag was purposefully used between the 1958 to 1961.[83] An emerging conflict within two years of the union arose as a result of a confusion of which nation will rule over the Union of African States.[84] The conflict led to the falling off of Ghana and reverting back to the use of its original one black star symbol and a replacement of the gold colour in the center of the flag to a white colour in 1962.[85][86]

Popular public demand upon the remembrance of Ghana's rich history agitated for the nation to revert to its use of the original Ghana national flag with the red, gold and green colour and a black star centred in the gold colour.[87] The original Ghana national flag which was used in 1957 upon Ghana's freedom and independence was reinstated for use in 1966.[88] Ghana was then one of the first countries to adopt the Pan African colours originally used in the Ethiopian flag.[89][90]

Purpose and use of the Ghana national flag[edit]

The purpose of the Ghana national flag was to have a symbol of jubilations during the post independence era.[91] There were many flags ensemble for Ghana's use. Notably is the Ghana national flag described which has been use for many purposes as in national and international celebrations, such as the Independence Day celebration, commemoration of Ghana's big six and past leaders of the nations.[92] The flag is raise up flying in the sky to grace glorious occasions whiles it is usually burned to fly half way to show some kind of misfortune that my have hit on the country.[93]

National ensign[edit]

Under terms of section 183 of Ghana's Merchant Shipping Act of 1963, the civil ensign is a red flag with the national flag in a black-fimbriated canton. In 2003, a new merchant shipping act was enacted, however, and this simply provides that "the National Flag of Ghana" is the proper national colours for Ghanaian ships. No mention is made of other flags or other possible flags.[94][95]

The naval ensign is a red St. George's Cross on white flag, with the national flag in canton.

Air force ensign and civil air ensign[edit]

The Ghana Air Force has its own ensign that incorporates the flag of Ghana. Civil aviation in Ghana is represented by the national civil air ensign. It is a standard light-blue field with the Ghanaian flag in the canton. It is charged in the fly with either a red, yellow and green roundel (in the case of the military ensign) or black five-pointed star (in the case of the civil ensign). Both have been used since Independence in 1957, and the subsequent founding of the Ghana Air Force in 1959.[96]

History[edit]

Flag of Ghana above the pole.

The Ghanaian government flag, adopted in 1957, was flown until 1962. Similarly, when the country formed the Union of African States, the flag of the Union was modeled on Bolivia's flag, but with two black stars, representing the nations. In May 1959, a third star was added.[97]

Following the January 1964 constitutional referendum, Ghana adopted a variant of the 1957 tricolour with white in the place of yellow, after the colours of Kwame Nkrumah's ruling and then-sole legal party Convention People's Party, making it similar to the flag of Hungary. The original 1957 flag was reinstated in February 1966 following Nkrumah's overthrow in a coup d'état.[98]

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