Ghana: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Ghana, origins of the name, cocoa crop, culture and marriage traditions.



The name "Ghana" was adopted by nationalists in the 1950s, in the hopes of emulating the wealth and splendor of the ancient Black Kingdom of Ghana, which flourished from the 5th to the 12th century. The original empire was reputedly a place of scholarship and learning, rich, pompous, and ceremonious, stretching from Timbuktu to Bamako.

Cocoa, the nation's only important crop, is not a native of Ghana. The 1st cocoa pod was imported by an African blacksmith in 1879. For a time there was only one cocoa tree in all of Ghana. It grew and multiplied, and gave birth to the world's largest center of cocoa farming.

Ghanaian society is matriarchal and matrilineal. Women have been the workers by tradition, while men have engaged in politics and war, music and the arts. Now both men and women work as teachers, office workers, doctors, lawyers, creative artists, and government officials, with almost no sex discrimination in jobs.

"Market women" control the country's produce trade. The women travel to market at dawn, via "mammy wagons," small trucks with seats. Men may ride only after all the women have been seated. In Accra the women have their own Marketing Board in a modern government building.

At marriage a Ghanaian woman receives a sum of money from her husband; it is hers to invest or spend as she sees fit, accounting to no one. She handles her own finances and is responsible for her own wealth.

Tribal power passes through the mother's line, a son inheriting from his mother's brother.

No whites may own land in Ghana and settlements by Europeans are forbidden.

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