The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval Ghana Empire of West Africa. Around 300 A.D., a new and powerful kingdom emerged in West Africa. This kingdom was known as Ghana. Between 300 and 1200 A.D., Ghana controlled the export of salt and gold. They were also able to prosper from the collection of taxes on the many merchant caravans that traveled through their territory as they brought goods from one area to another. Ghana used to be called the Gold Coast. The name was changed to Ghana because it’s thought that the present day native’s ancestors were migrants from the ancient kingdom of Ghana. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in 1470. They built a permanent trading base call Elmina Castle in 1482. Soon the British, Dutch, Danish, and Germans arrived. The British eventually made the Gold Coast a colony and a bordering area, the Togoland, a trust territory. Both of these areas would later become Ghana. In 1957 Ghana was the first of the sub-Saharan colonies to become an independent nation. Thanks to the cleverness of their king, the people of ancient Ghana were rich! Ghana never owned gold or salt mines. Salt came from the salt mines controlled by kingdoms to the north of Ghana. Gold came from the gold mines controlled by kingdoms to the south of Ghana. What Ghana controlled was the trade route between the salt mines and the gold mines. Ghana offered the traders a deal. Ghana's large army assured the traders of safe passage. In return, Ghana restricted trade to gold dust only. They kept the gold nuggets for themselves. Ghana became the guardians and the negotiators. Who did Ghana Trade with?
Significance of Land
Located within the present-day borders of Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal, medieval Ghana literally sat on a gold mine. The land's abundance of resources allowed Ghana's rulers to engage in years of prosperous trading. Strategic governing coupled with great location led...