Formed from the merger of
the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory,
Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa
to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before
Lt. Jerry Rawlings took power in 1981 and banned political parties.
After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in
1992, Rawlings won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was
constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John
Kufuor, who defeated former Vice President John Atta-Mills in a free
and fair election, succeeded him. Asante, Ewe, Fante, Boron (Brong),
Dangme, Dagarte (Dagaba), Akyem, Ga, and Akuapem are spoken; English is
also spoken as an official language.