Ghana is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King" and is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire.
Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the inland Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Akyem, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, and the Fante among others. Non-Akan states created by the Ga also existed as did states by the Dagomba. Prior to contact with Europeans trade between the Akan and various African states flourished due to Akan gold wealth. Trade with European states began after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the British established the Gold Coast Crown colony in 1874 over parts but not all of the country.
The Gold Coast achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan African nation to do so, from European colonialism. The name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana, which once extended throughout much of west Africa.
Ghana is a member of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and an associate member of La Francophonie. Ghana is one of the largest cocoa producers in the world, and is also home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.