Ghana is bounded on the north and northwest by Burkina Faso, on the east
by Togo, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by Côte dIvoire.
Formerly a British colony known as the Gold Coast, Ghana became, in 1957, the first black
nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence.
The country is named for the ancient empire of
Ghana, from which the ancestors of the inhabitants of the present country are thought to
have migrated. The total area is 238,537 sq. km (92,099 sq. mi.). Accra is Ghanas
capital and largest city.
The climate of Ghana is tropical, but temperatures vary with
season and elevation. Except in the north two rainy seasons occur, from April to July and
from September to November. In the north the rainy season begins in April and lasts until
September. Annual rainfall ranges from about 1100 mm (about 43 in) in the north to about
2100 mm (about 83 in) in the southeast.
The population of Ghana at the 1984 census was
12,296,081; the 1996 estimated population is 17,698,271, giving the country an overall
population density of about 74 persons per sq. km (about 192 per sq. mi.). The most
densely populated parts of the country are the coastal areas, the Ashanti region in the
south central part of the country, and the two principal cities, Accra and Kumasi. About
70 percent of the total population lives in the southern half of the country. The most
numerous peoples are the coastal Fanti, and the Ashanti, who live in central Ghana, both
of whom belong to the Akan family.