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
Rhian Benson Photo.png
Kevin Prince.jpg
Jocelyn Dumas.jpg
Majid Michael.jpg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Ghana Republic of Ghana : 20 million (2013 estimate)[1][2]
 South Africa 2,000,000 (2010) [n1][3]
 Jamaica 1,000,000 (2012) [n1][4]
 Brazil 442,189 (2013) [n1][5]
 United States 116,807 (2011) [n1][6]
 United Kingdom 93,000 (2011) [n1][7]
 Italy 46,980 (2010) [n1][8][9][10]
 Netherlands 40,000 (2003) [n1][9][11]
 Suriname 31,400 (2014) [n1][12]
 Germany 26,751 (2014) [n1][13]
 Canada 23,225 (2006) [n1][14][9]
 French Guiana 19,200 (2014) [n1][9]
 Spain 12,699 (2007) [n1][15]
 Lebanon 10,297 (2013) [n1][16]
 France 10,000 (2007) [n1][17]
 Australia 3,866 (2011) [n1][18]
 Israel 3,000 (2003) [n1][19]
 Japan 2,524 (2010) [n1][20]
 Norway 2,134 (2010) [n1][21]
 Sweden 1,754 (2009) [n1][22]
 Guyana 850 (2014) [n1][23]
 Cuba 533 (2011) [n1][24]
 Turkey 500 (2012) [n1]
 New Zealand 277 (2007) [n1][25]
 Russian Federation 200 (2011) [n1][26]
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] Ethnic Ghanaians make up 85.4% of the total population.[1][2] The word, "Ghana", means "Warrior King".[29]

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.[30] The term ethnic Ghanaian may also be used in some contexts to refer to a locus of ethnic groups native to the Gold Coast.[31] 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.[32]

The Republic of Ghana is an economical powerhouse in West Africa,[33] and has one of the biggest economies on the African continent and one of the world's fastest growing economies.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36]

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.[36] 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.[36] 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.[37] The Republic of Ghana was the first African country to gain independence from European colonization.[38]


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.[27]

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.[39][40][41] There is also a new population of Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans and other recent immigrants.[42] In order to obtain Ghanaian nationality, one must be naturalized after seven years of Ghana Card permanent residency.[42] 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.[42] 67.1% of Ghanaians speak English.[27][43] There are over 100 different ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language.[44] 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.[42][45] 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.


Further information: Genetic studies on Akans

According to a Y-DNA study by Wood et al. (2005), indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana carry 61% E1b1a.[46][nb 1] Indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana also belong to paternal lineages: 2.2% E1a and.[46] Indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana are 1.1% E1b1b clade bearers, a haplogroup which is most common in North Africa and the Horn of Africa finally, 1.1% carry West Eurasian haplogroup R1b.[46]

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.[47] The Ghanaian allied with the Allies in the World War II.[47] 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.[47][48] 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.[48]

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.[48] 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,[49] Nkrumah became the first Ghanaian Prime Minister.[50] 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.[50]

National Borders, Regions and Terrestrial plains[edit]

Main article: Geography of Ghana
National Border, Region and Terrestrial plain of the 4th Republic of Ghana
Coastal Plain Accra, Apam, Cape Coast, Elmina, Kakum National Park, Kokrobite, Nzulezo, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ada Foah The Gulf of Guinea coastal plain with the seat of government and capital city, several castles and forts and the best preserved rainforest in Ghana
Ashanti-Kwahu Koforidua, Kumasi, Obuasi, Sunyani Forested hills and the ancient Kingdom of Ashanti
Volta Basin Tamale massive and world's largest Lake Volta, the river system that feeds it and Ghana eastern border crossing
Northern Plains Wa, Bolgatanga, Mole National Park Savanna plains and north Ghana trade route and border crossing
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,[51] one of the highest among developing countries.

Region (2010)[27] Region population Area (km²)[27] City (2010)[52] 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 Arabs[edit]

Main article: Ghanaian Arabs

Ghanaian Arabs are Ghanaians and citizens of Arab origin or descent. Ghanaian Arabs are mainly from Lebanon, Syria and Arab Maghreb. Ghana has the largest Arab population in western Africa.

Ghanaian Chinese[edit]

Main article: Ghanaian Chinese

Ghanaian Chinese are an ethnic group of Chinese diaspora in Ghana. The ancestors of ethnic Chinese migrants to Ghana were of Hong Kong origin. They began arriving in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[53] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of the Hong Kong migrants began to bring their wives and children over to Ghana.[54] Migrants from Shanghai also began to arrive round this time.[55] With the economic reform and opening up in the PRC, migrants from mainland China began arriving. Migration from mainland China intensified in the 1990s; some came as employees, but most were independent traders running import-export businesses or restaurants.[54] The sources of migration have also expanded; whereas earlier migrants came mostly from Hong Kong or Shanghai, later Chinese migrants have arrived from Guangdong and Henan as well as the Republic of China on Taiwan.[55] As of 2009 there were an estimated 700,000 ethnic Chinese migrants that have settled in Ghana.[56]

Ghanaian Indians[edit]

Main article: Ghanaian Indian

Ghanaian Indians are Ghanaians and citizens of Indian origin or descent. Many Ghanaian Indians are descendants from those who migrated from India following India's partition in 1947.[57]


There is 3‒4 million Ghanaians in the diaspora.[30]

Ghanaian Australians[edit]

Main article: Ghanaian Australian

Ghanaian Australians are dual citizens with Australia and residents of Ghanaian origin and descent. More than 50% of all Ghanaian-born live in Sydney, New South Wales.[58]

Ghanaian Americans[edit]

Main article: Ghanaian American

Ghanaian Americans are dual citizens with America and residents of Ghanaian origin and descent.

Ghanaian Britons[edit]

Main article: Ghanaian British

Ghanaian Britons are dual citizens with Briton and residents of Ghanaian origin and descent.

Ghanaian Jamaicans[edit]

Coromantee (derived from the name of the Ghanaian coastal town "Kormantse"), was the name given to Ghanaian Akan laborers imported from the Gold Coast or modern-day Ghana. The term Coromantee is now considered archaic as it simply refers to Akans, and was primarily used in the Caribbean. Coromantins actually came from several Akan subgroups – Ashanti, Fanti, Akyem, etc. – presumably taken as war captives. Owing to their militaristic background and common Akan language. The Akans had the single largest African cultural influence on Jamaica, including Jamaican Maroons whose culture and language was seen as a derivation of Akan. Names of some notable Coromantee leaders such as Cudjoe, Quamin, Cuffy, and Quamina correspond to Akan day names and Ghanaian names Kojo, Kwame, Kofi, and Kwamina, respectively.

Ghanaian Surinamese and Guyanese[edit]

Ndyuka (also spelled 'Djuka') or Aukan or Okanisi sama, are a Ghanaian Akan subgroup who live in Eastern Suriname and west of French Guiana and speak the Ndyuka language, a sub-language of the Akan language. They were shipped as imported laborers slaves from the Gold Coast or modern-day Ghana to Suriname about 300 years ago to work on Dutch-owned plantations. Ndyukas or Aukans are subdivided into the Opu, who live upstream of the Tapanahony River of southeastern Suriname, and the Bilo, who live downstream of that river. They further subdivide themselves into fourteen matrilinear kinship groups called lo.

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.[59][60]

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.[59] 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.[61][62] 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.[61] 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.[61] During the 13th century, Ghanaians developed their unique art of adinkra printing.[61] 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.[63] 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.[64] Hiplife is the most popular Ghanaian music,[65] followed by the other genre of Ghanaian music, highlife.[66] Ghanaian dance is globally well known and performed worldwide.[64] 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.[67] Other traditional dances from Ghana, are Kpanlogo; Klama; and Bamaya.[67] Sports in Ghana is dominated by association football represented by the Ghana Premier League and the Ghana national football team.[68]


Ghanaian girl in traditional Ghanaian kente clothing and national costume.

In Ghanaian society polygyny is encouraged, especially among wealthy men.[69] Anthropologists have explained the practice as a traditional method for well-to-do Ghanaian men.[69] Polygyny refers to marriages in which men are permitted to have more than one wife at the same time.[69] Among matrilineal groups, such as the Akan, married women continued to reside at their maternal homes.[69] Meals prepared by the wife would be carried to the husband at his maternal house.[69] In polygynous situations, visitation schedules would be arranged.[69] The separate living patterns reinforced the idea that each spouse is subject to the authority of a different household head, and because spouses are always members of different lineages, each is ultimately subject to the authority of the senior men of his or her lineage.[69] The wife, as an outsider in the husband's family, would not inherit any of his property, other than that granted to her by her husband as gifts in token appreciation of years of devotion.[69] The children from this matrilineal marriage would be expected to inherit from their mother's family.[69] Today, the percentage of women in polygynous marriages in Ghana's rural areas (23.9%) is almost double that of women in Ghana's urban areas (12.4%).[70] The age group with the most women in polygynous marriages is 45–49, interestingly followed by the 15–19 age group and the 40–44 group.[70] Rates of polygynous marriages decrease as education level and wealth level increase.[70]

Vanessa L. Williams is of Ghanaian heritage and a singer, actress, and film producer.[71]

During 2008–2012, the national literacy rate for women ages 15–24 was 83.2%, only slightly lower than that for males of the same age group (88.3%).[72] However, literacy rates fluctuate across Ghana country and socioeconomic statuses.[70][72] By regions of Ghana, literacy rates for females range from 44% to 81%.[70] Women living at the highest socioeconomic status exhibit the highest literacy rates at 85%, while only 31% of women living at the lowest socioeconomic status are literate.[70] Over the timespan of 2008–2012, 4% more females were enrolled in preschool than males.[72] Net enrollment and attendance ratios for primary school were both about the same for males and females, net enrollment standing at about 84% and net attendance at about 73%.[72] Enrollment in secondary school for females was slightly lower than for males (44.4% vs. 48.1%), but females attendance was higher by about the same difference (39.7% vs. 43.6%).[72]

As of 2011, women make up 66.9% of economically active population in Ghana.[73] Within the informal sector, women usually work in personal services.[73] There are distinct differences in artisan apprenticeships offered to women and men, as well.[73] Men are offered a much wider range of apprenticeships such as carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, mechanics, painters, repairers of electrical and electronic appliances, upholsters, metal workers, car sprayers, etc.[73] In contrast, most female artisans are only involved in either hairdressing or dressmaking.[73] Women generally experience a disparity in earnings, receiving a daily average of 6,280 cedis compared to 8,560 cedis received by men according to the Ghana Living Standards Survey.[73] Women are flourishing in teaching professions.[69]

Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Military Female Soldier Sergeant at a GAF Military Exercise 2013 in Ghana.

Early 1990s' data showed that about 19 percent of the instructional staff at the nation's three universities in 1990 was female.[69] Of the teaching staff in specialized and diploma-granting institutions, 20 percent was female; elsewhere, corresponding figures were 21 percent at the secondary-school level; 23 percent at the middle-school level, and as high as 42 percent at the primary-school level.[69] Women also dominated the secretarial and nursing professions in Ghana.[69] When women were employed in the same line of work as men, they were paid equal wages, and they were granted maternity leave with pay.[69] However, women in research professions report experiencing more difficulties than men in the same field, which can be linked to restricted professional networks for women because of Ghanaian lingering traditional familial roles.[74]

Feminist organizing has increased in Ghana as Ghanaian women seek to obtain a stronger role in their democratic government of Ghana.[75] In 2004, a coalition of women created the Women's Manifesto for Ghana, a document that demands economic and political equality as well as reproductive health care and other rights.[75] The NCWD's is fervent in its stance that the social and economic well-being of women, who compose slightly more than half of the nation's population, cannot be taken for granted.[69] The Council sponsored a number of studies on women's work, education, and training, and on family issues that are relevant in the design and execution of policies for the improvement of the condition of women.[69] Among these considerations the NCWD stressed family planning, child care, and female education as paramount.[69][76]

The Government of Ghana in 2007 has taken legal proceedings to prosecute men who abuse their women.[77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84]

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,[85] 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.[85] In 1992, Rawlings emerged as Ghanaian head of state and Chief of the Defence Staff.[85]

In 2002, John Agyekum Kufuor succeeded Rawlings as Ghanaian head of state until the year 2008.[85] Kufuor was replaced as Ghanaian head of state by John Atta Mills until the year 2012.[86] In 2013, John Dramani Mahama succeeded Mills as the Republic of Ghana Supreme Commander-in-Chief and President of Ghana.[86]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

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  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.

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