Ghana has one of the most vibrant and interesting cultures in the world. The majority of Ghanaians originate from the Akan people – this tribe can also be found in the Ivory Coast. One of the unique things about this culture is that it is matrilineal, meaning that decedents are traced through the mother’s linage rather than the father’s. It also means that they will be identified by their mother’s family name whereas in the west it tends to be the father’s family (e.g. people tend to take their father’s surname).
History of Ghana
There have been people living in the area that is now Ghana since at least the Bronze Age. It is believed, though, that there were not significant numbers of people living in this part of the world until about the eleventh century. It is said that the Akan people, who make up most of the population now, arrived at some point during the sixteenth century. The first Europeans to build colonies here were the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. The Dutch arrived in the seventeenth century in search of gold, and they were followed by the British. It then became an important centre for the slave trade because of its location. The local people had many uprisings against the British rulers, and they finally managed to achieve independence in 1957.
Language of Ghana
The official language of Ghana is English, and this is used for official communications. Visitors should not be surprised to find that a significant proportion of the population do not speak much English. There are nine other official languages but the most widely spoken of these is the Akan language – of which there are two dialects.