The best place in Ghana to get an insight into life before the colonial era is in the National Museum. The museum gives an opportunity to travel through the country’s history from both an archaeological and ethnographic perspective. Much of the display is given over to indigenous art and crafts.
Pictured: Ghanaian sculpture at the National Museum
1482: The colonial era
The Portuguese erect Ghana's first trading fort, Elmina Castle (São Jorge da Mina). Like its Cape Coast equivalent, it has strong links with the slave years and is registered as a World Heritage Site. Elmina Castle (also known as St George’s) is the oldest extant European building in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1637 the Dutch seized Elmina Castle and within a few years take over the Portuguese Gold Coast. Today, tours can be taken around the fort.
Pictured: The Portuguese colonial outpost Elmina Castle
1957: Ghanaian independence
Ghana becomes independent from the United Kingdom. On March 6 Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana ‘free forever’. Kwame Nkrumah became prime minister with Queen Elizabeth II as monarch. Independence Square and Independence Arch, built to mark the event, is better known as Black Star Square, after Ghana’s inspirational lead in a free and stable Africa.
Pictured: The imposing Independence Arch at Black Star Square commemorates Ghana's liberation from British colonial rule
1960: Nkrumah is elected
Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah is elected president as Ghana becomes a republic. His legacy is almost impossible to avoid in Accra – there’s an Nkrumah Avenue, an Nkrumah Circle and an Nkrumah Memorial Park & Mausoleum that can be visited. His heavy-handed ways eventually led to widespread disaffection, and during a state visit to China in 1966, a military coup in Ghana ousted him from power. He would never set foot in his homeland again.
Pictured: The statue of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president and first prime minister, watches over the statesman's mausoleum
1960: WEB Du Bois arrives
American scholar and civil-rights activist William Edward Burghardt ‘WEB’ Du Bois, known as the founding father of Pan-Africanism, visits an independent Ghana. He is invited to stay and create an encyclopaedia project there. The US refuses to renew his passport and he becomes a citizen of Ghana. He died in Accra in 1963 and his mausoleum and project can be visited at the Du Bois Memorial Centre.
Pictured: A bust of WEB Du Bois at the Du Bois Memorial Centre
2009: Obama visits Cape Coast
Obama visits Cape Coast Castle, a place instrumental in the West African slave trade. In his first state visit to Africa he says: “I've come here to Ghana for a simple reason: The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well.”
Pictured: Barak and barracks at Cape Coast Castle
2013: Moving house
What president wouldn’t feel the majesty of his position in a literally ‘stool-shaped’ seat of power? Well, the previous president, the late John Atta Mills for one, who chose to stay at Osu Castle. Three years after completion, president John Dramani Mahama moved to this remarkable building.
Pictured: The presidential palace, the Golden Jubilee House, which was unveiled in 2008