When Ghana achieved independence in 1957, it enjoyed economic and political advantages unrivaled elsewhere in tropical Africa. The economy was solidly based on the production and export of cocoa, of which Ghana was the world's leading producer. It had a well-developed transportation network, relatively high per capita income, low national debt, and sizable foreign currency reserves. Its education system was relatively advanced, and its people were heirs to a tradition of parliamentary government.
In 1960 the Republic of Ghana was formed, the same year that Kwame Nkrumah was elected president. Nkrumah saw Ghana as the "Star of Black Africa." Nkrumah advocated centralization, both political and economic. Constitutional safeguards against authoritarianism were abolished, political opposition was stifled, and eventually Nkrumah was declared president for life. By the mid-1960s, Ghana had become a one-party state under a powerful president.
In 1966 Nkrumah was overthrown and a military government assumed power. But neither military nor civilian governments during the next fifteen years were able to deal successfully with the host of problems that Nkrumah had left behind him.
This collection of U.S. State Department Central Classified Files relating to internal affairs contains a wide range of materials from U.S. diplomats, including: