Today in History: Ghana turns 60 as an independent state

Sixty years ago today, on March 6 1957, Ghana attained independence after 113 years of British colonial rule.


Previously known as the Gold Coast, Ghana has often been described as the first Sub-saharan country to gain independence from colonial rule and at times even the first African state to gain independence. History being what it is, this legacy of Ghana as the first African country or even first Sub-Saharan country is disputed.  And indeed, the independence dates of Lybia (1951), Tunisia (1956) and Morocco (1956) attest to the fact that they attained independence before Ghana. Then there’s the description of its legacy as the first Black African country, which takes us to the debate of the divide between Black Africa and Arabs. As Cheikh Anta Diop contends, there has never been a White Africa. What is not disputed however, is that Ghana got its independence on this day 60 years ago.

In 1821, the British Government took control of the British trading forts. In 1844, Fanti chiefs on the Gold Coast signed an agreement with the British that led to the colonial status for the coastal area. In 1902, the British succeeded in establishing firm control over the Ashanti region and making the northern territories a protectorate.

A new constitution, approved on 29 April 1954, established a cabinet composed of African ministers drawn from an all-African legislature chosen by direct election. In the elections that followed, the Convention People’s Party, led by Kwame Nkrumah, won the majority of seats in the new Legislative Assembly.

In May 1956, Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah’s Gold Coast government issued a white paper with proposals for Gold Coast’s independence. On 3 August 1956, the Gold Coast Assembly adopted Kwame Nkrumah’s resolution demanding independence from Britain. Ghana became an independent state on March 6, 1957, when Britain relinquished its control over the Gold Coast and Ashanti, the Northern Territories Protectorate, and British Togoland.

Read more on today’s independence day celebrations. http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2017/March-6th/live-update-ghana-marks-60th-independence-celebration.php

Source: SAHistory www.sahistory.org


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  1. Thank you, this is very insightful. I’ve always believe Ghana to be the African nation to gain independence.

    1. Dear Luke

      Yes, we all grew up being told Ghana was the first African country to gain independence. As it turns out – it was the first “Black” African state which suggests that the others before it were White and therefore not part of Africa. It’s a narrative that seeks to isolate Egypt from Africa as part of rewriting the history of the origins of civilisation. A topic for another day.




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