There is no written documentation of the region's past prior to European contact.By the time the Portuguese first established themselves on the coast in the fifteenth century, kingdoms had developed among various Akan-speaking and neighboring groups and were expanding their wealth, size, and power.The population is almost exclusively African, as Ghana has no history of intensive European settlement.
Men drape it around their bodies and women wear it as a two-pieced outfit.
The main exports—gold and cocoa—also stand as identifying symbols. Ghana is a colonial creation, pieced together from numerous indigenous societies arbitrarily consolidated, and sometimes divided, according to European interests.
While somewhat mythical, these evocations of noble origins, in combination with a rich cultural heritage and a militant nationalist movement, have provided this ethnically diverse country with unifying symbols and a sense of common identity and destiny.
Over forty years of political and economic setbacks since independence have tempered national pride and optimism.
Ghana, formerly the British colony of the Gold Coast, assumes a special prominence as the first African country to acquire independence from European rule.
Ghanaian politicians marked this important transition by replacing the territory's colonial label with the name of a great indigenous civilization of the past.
The land surface of 92,100 square miles (238,540 square kilometers) is dominated by the ancient Precambrian shield, which is rich in mineral resources, such as gold and diamonds.
The land rises gradually to the north and does not reach an altitude of more than 3,000 feet (915 meters).
Other important symbols derive from Akan traditions that have become incorporated into the national culture.
These include the ceremonial sword, the linguist's staff, the chief's stool, and the talking drum.
Immigration from other African countries, notably Burkina Faso, Togo, Liberia, and Nigeria, is significant.