Today in History Ghana demands independence from Britain On 3 August 1956

Ghana demands independence from Britain On 3 August 1956

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Today in History, On 3 August 1956, exactly 64 years ago, the new assembly passed a motion authorizing the government to request independence within the British Commonwealth. The opposition did not attend the debate, and the vote was unanimous.

On 3 August 1956, exactly 64 years ago, the new assembly passed a motion authorizing the government to request independence within the British Commonwealth.
(L-R) Ghana Politicians A. Caseley Hayford, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, Kwame Nkrumah, Kojo Botsio, and Krobo Edusei at the Ghana independence ceremonies. (Photo by Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

In 1821, the British Government took control of the British trading forts. In 1844, Fanti chiefs on the Gold Coast (as Ghana was then known) signed an agreement with the British that led to the colonial status for the coastal area.

In 1902, the British succeeded in establishing firm control over the Ashanti region and making the northern territories a protectorate. In May 1956, Kwame Nkrumah’s Gold Coast government issued a white paper with proposals for Gold Coast’s independence.

On 3 August 1956, the Gold Coast Assembly adopted Kwame Nkrumah’s resolution demanding independence from Britain. The British Government stated it would agree to a firm date for independence if a reasonable majority for such a step were obtained in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly after a general election.

The 1956 election returned the Convention People’s Party (CPP) to power with 71 of the 104 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Ghana became an independent state on March 6, 1957, when Britain relinquished its control over the Gold Coast and Ashanti, the Northern Territories Protectorate, and British Togoland.

After a long period of colonial rule, the newly elected Assembly of Ghana, passed a motion directing the government to demand independence from Britain. As the opposition party was not part of the debate, the motion was passed with unanimous vote. The motion was also accepted by the British Government as representing the majority of the Assembly.

On March 6, 1957, the 113th anniversary of the Bond of 1844, the former British colony of the Gold Coast became the independent state of Ghana, and the nation’s Legislative Assembly became the National Assembly. Nkrumah continued as prime minister. According to an independence constitution also drafted in 1957, Queen Elizabeth II of England was to be represented in the former colony by a governor general, and Sir Arden-Clarke was appointed to that position.

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