The Republic of Ghana is a unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 92,099 square miles (238,535 km²), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language. The territory of present-day Ghana has been inhabited for millennia, with the first permanent state dating back to the eleventh century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti. Beginning in the fifteenth century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late nineteenth century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana’s current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. On March 6, 1957, it became the first sub-Saharan African nation to become independent of European colonization.
A multicultural nation, Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, spanning a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. Five percent of the population practices traditional faiths, 71.2% adhere to Christianity and 17.6% are Muslim. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical jungles. Ghana is a democratic country led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s economy is one of the strongest and most diversified in Africa, following a quarter century of relative stability and good governance. Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system have made it a regional power in West Africa. It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Group of 24 (G24) and the Commonwealth of Nations.
On March 6, 1957, Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana’s establishment and autonomy as the first Prime Minister of Ghan. The first stamps of independent Ghana were issued that March and consisted of a commemorative stamp set of four and a definitive stamp series of 12 formed by overprinting former Gold Coast stamps with the words GHANA INDEPENDENCE 6th MARCH 1957. On July 1, 1960, following the Ghanaian constitutional referendum and presidential election, Nkrumah declared Ghana as a republic as the first President of Ghana.
The flag of Ghana, consisting of the colors red, gold, green, and a black star was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh; the red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the industrial minerals wealth of Ghana, the green symbolizes the rich grasslands of Ghana, and the black star is the symbol of the Ghanaian people and African emancipation.
Kwame Nkrumah was the first African head of state to promote the concept of Pan-Africanism, which he had been introduced to during his studies at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in the United States, at the time when Marcus Garvey was becoming famous for his “Back to Africa Movement”. Nkrumah merged the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the naturalized Ghanaian scholar W. E. B. Du Bois into the formation of 1960s Ghana.
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as he became known, played an instrumental part in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, and in establishing the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute to teach his ideologies of communism and socialism. His life achievements were recognized by Ghanaians during his centenary birthday celebration, and the day was instituted as a public holiday in Ghana (Founder’s Day).
The government of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was subsequently overthrown by a GAF coup codenamed “Operation Cold Chop.” This occurred while Nkrumah was abroad with Zhou Enlai in the People’s Republic of China, on a fruitless mission to Hanoi in Vietnam to help end the Vietnam War. The coup took place on February 24, 1966, by GAF led by Col. Emmanuel K. Kotoka. National Liberation Council (N.L.C.) formed and chaired by Lt. General Joseph A. Ankrah.
A series of alternating military and civilian governments from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) in 1981. These changes resulted in the suspension of the Constitution of Ghana in 1981, and the banning of political parties in Ghana. The economy soon declined, so Rawlings negotiated a structural adjustment plan changing many old economic policies, and economic growth soon recovered from the mid–2000s. A new Constitution of Ghana restoring multi-party system politics was promulgated in Ghanaian presidential election, 1992; Rawlings was elected as president of Ghana then, and again in Ghanaian general election, 1996.
Winning the 2000 Ghanaian elections, John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was sworn into office as president of Ghana on January 7, 2001, and attained the presidency again in the 2004 Ghanaian elections, thus also serving two terms (the term limit) as president of Ghana and thus marking the first time under the fourth republic of Ghana that power had been transferred from one legitimately elected head of state and head of government to another.
Kufuor was succeeded to the presidency of the Republic of Ghana by John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) following the 2008 Ghanaian presidential election. John Atta Mills was inaugurated as the third president of the fourth republic of Ghana and eleventh president of Ghana on January 7, 2009, prior to John Atta Mills being succeeded as president of Ghana by then vice-president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama on July 24, 2012.
Following the 2012 presidential election, John Dramani Mahama became supreme commander-in-chief, and he was inaugurated as the 4th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and 12th President of Ghana on January 7, 2013, to serve a one term of office of four-year term length as supreme commander-in-chief and president of Ghana until January 7, 2017, and securing Ghana’s status as a stable democracy.
Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, therefore giving it a warm climate. The Prime Meridian passes through Ghana, specifically through the industrial port town of Tema. Ghana is geographically closer to the “center” of the Earth geographical coordinates than any other country; even though the notional center, (0°, 0°) is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 382 miles (614 km) off the south-east coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea. Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate Ghana, with forest extending northward from the south-west coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean 200 miles (320 km) and eastward for a maximum of about 170 miles (270 km) with the Kingdom of Ashanti or the southern part of Ghana being a primary location for mining of industrial minerals and timber. Ghana encompasses plains, waterfalls, low hills, rivers, Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, Dodi Island and Bobowasi Island on the south Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana. The northernmost part of Ghana is Pulmakong and the southernmost part of Ghana is Cape Three Points.
Ghanaian stamps after independence were noted for their bold colors and the frequent incorporation of the Ghanaian flag in their design. Ghana was the first country client of the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation, however, inept handling of the early post-independence issues caused damage to Ghana’s reputation in the philatelic world from which it has not yet recovered.
Scott #291 was released in 1967 as part of a set of 15 pictorial definitives. The photogravure 4 new pesawas stamp is perforated 12×11½ and features the Rufous-crowned roller (Coracias naevius), also known as the purple roller. This bird is found over sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as Namibia and the Transvaal. Compared with other rollers its colors are rather dull and its voice rather harsh and grating.
The purple roller is the largest of the rollers, growing to a length of 14 to 16 inches (35 to 40 centimeters). From a distance it appears a dull brownish bird with a white stripe over the eye, a patch of white on the nape and a dark tail. Northern populations tend to have a rufus crown while southern populations have a more olive-green crown. The underparts are purplish-pink streaked with white. The wings are long and rounded while the tail is square-cut. The voice is a rather grating “ka” or “gaa“, repeated rapidly and evenly.
Its preferred habitat is dry thornveld where it spends long periods perched at the top of thorn trees or poles, watching for food items such as insects, spiders, scorpions and small lizards on the ground. It rocks to-and-fro about its longitudinal axis during display flights, calling raucously all the while; starting from above the treetops it plummets towards the ground in rolling flight. It is territorial, and during the breeding season will drive off other rollers, small hawks and crows. This species seems to be an opportunist breeder, possibly linked to rains, as its breeding season varies from place to place. It nests in natural hollows in trees or uses old woodpecker holes, or in cliffs, riverbanks, pipes or holes in masonry, usually laying three white eggs. The young are fed and incubated by both parents.