Located in West Africa, Ghana is a fascinating country. Due to the fact it’s relatively safe and is full of worthwhile attractions like slave castles, cultural centers, beaches, and national parks, it’s a popular place for tourists, as well. Whether you’re planning to travel there yourself or are just interested in learning more about a new place, here are five interesting facts about Ghana.

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The Official Language Of Ghana Is English

While the official language of Ghana is English, there are more than 70 tribal groups in the country, each with its own language. For this reason, you’ll often encounter locals who speak little English, or even none at all. Some other languages spoken in Ghana include Asante, Fante, Wew, Boron, Ga, Twi, Akuapem, and Akyem.

Cocoa, Oil, Agriculture, And Gold Are Main Economy Drivers In Ghana

According to Feed The Future, 28% of Ghanaians live below the poverty line. That being said, at the time of publication (February 2014) Ghana is in the midst of rapid economical growth, mainly in the industries of oil, gold, cocoa, and agriculture. It’s expected that by 2015 the poverty level will be cut in half. 

Ghana Is Home To The World’s Largest Artificial Lake

With a surface area of 8,482 square kilometers (13,275 square miles), Lake Volta is the world’s largest artificial lake. Lake Volta is a major tourist attraction in Ghana, and it’s possible to experience the lake in a variety of ways. Created by the Akosombo Dam, one can take a boat trip on the lake (Easy Track Ghana is one tour operator option) or just visit to take photos or go for a swim. There are also usually fishermen around the lake who will be happy to take you for a canoe ride for a small fee.

The Major Religion Of Ghana Is Christianity

According to the Ghana Embassy, the major religion of Ghana is Christianity, accounting for 71.2% of the population. Other religions widely practiced include Muslim (17.6%) and traditional religions (5.2%).

Ghana Was Once A British Colony

Until 1957 Ghana was under British rule. As the British wanted more control over coastal trade in Africa in the early 1820s, they began working to gain more and more control over the area. According to South African History Online, by 1844 the Fanti people had signed an agreement with the British making the Gold Coast (the name of Ghana at the time) a colony, and by 1902 the British also had control over the Ashanti region. It wasn’t until 1956 that Gold Coast government officials issued proposals for Gold Coast independence. After a voting process and new agreement, the Gold Coast was able to achieve independence on March 6, 1957, becoming the first African country to do so. 

Whether you’re planning a trip to Ghana to experience the culture for yourself or can only afford to armchair travel for now, the above facts can help expand your knowledge on this fascinating country.