This Day in Black History: March 6, 1957

Ghana became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve freedom from colonial rule.

Posted: 03/06/2013 08:00 AM EST

Ghana, the West African nation that traces its history to ancient kingdoms, became an independent nation in 1957, achieving its independence from Great Britain. Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to become independent from colonial rule.

Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the inland Ahanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Akyem, the Bonoman and the Fante, among others.

The nation’s first prime minister was Kwame Nkrumah, who would become president of modern Ghana. He was an impassioned anti-colonial leader, who became the first African head of state to promote the concept of Pan-Africanism. Nkrumah brought together the philosophy of Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois into his leadership of Ghana, including principles of freedom and justice, equity and free education for all, irrespective of ethnic background, religion or creed.

The flag of Ghana contains red, gold and green fields with a black star. The red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the mineral wealth of Ghana, the green symbolizes the rich agriculture and the black star is the symbol of African emancipation. The country was created to have a parliamentary democratic form of government.

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 (Photo: Central Press/Getty Images)

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