5. British Gold Coast/Togoland (1946-1957)

Pre-Crisis Phase (March 29, 1946-February 26, 1948):  A new constitution for the British Gold Coast went into effect on March 29, 1946. Elections to the Legislative Council were held in June 1946, and the Legislative Council convened with 21 Africans and 10 Europeans on July 23, 1946.  On August 4, 1947, the United Gold Coast Convention ((UGCC) was established by Joseph Boakye (J. B.) Danquah and Edward Akufo-Addo to promote self-government for the British Gold Coast.  Sir Gerald Hallen Creasy was appointed Governor of British Gold Coast on January 12, 1948.

Crisis Phase (February 27, 1948-March 6, 1957): British government police and African nationalist (including former members of the British military) clashed in Accra and other cities on from February 28 to March 16, 1948, resulting in the deaths of 29 individuals.  Following the start of the clashes, Governor Creasy declared a state of emergency and deployed British troops from Nigeria.  UGCC leaders, including Kwame Nkrumah and J. B. Danquah, were arrested on March 18, 1948.  Kwame Nkrumah was released from jail on April 12, 1948.  Governor Creasy resigned on February 15, 1949, and Sir Robert Scott was appointed acting-governor.  The Convention People’s Party (CPP) was established by Kwame Nkrumah in Accra on June 12, 1949.  Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke was appointed governor of British Gold Coast on August 11, 1949.  The CPP declared a nationwide strike and boycott of British goods beginning on January 8, 1950. The British government declared a state-of-emergency on January 12, 1950. Two government policemen were killed by demonstrators in Accra on January 17, 1950, and the strike ended on January 20, 1950. Kwame Nkrumah, general-secretary of the CPP, and other CPP leaders were arrested on January 22, 1950.  Kwame Nkrumah was sentenced to three years in prison on February 22, 1950, but he was released from prison on February 12, 1951.  Legislative elections were held on February 5-10, 1951, and the CPP won 34 out of 38 elected seats in the Legislative Council. The UGCC won three seats in the Legislative Council.  Governor Arden-Clarke appointed Kwame Nkrumah as prime minister on February 13, 1951.  The United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved a resolution calling for a UN-supervised plebiscite in British Togoland to determine whether the inhabitant favored independence or union with an independent Gold Coast (Ghana).  The Ghana Congress Party (GCP) led by Dr. Kofi Busia was established in Accra on May 4, 1952.  A new constitution, which provided for legislative elections and a cabinet government headed by a prime minister, was approved on April 29, 1954.  Legislative elections were held on June 15, 1954, and CPP won 72 out of 104 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  Kwame Nkrumah of the CPP formed a government as prime minister on June 17, 1954.  The UN supervised a plebiscite in British Togoland on May 9, 1956, and 58 percent of the voters supported integration with British Gold Coast.  Governor Arden-Clarke dissolved the Legislative Assembly on May 15, 1956.  Legislative elections were held on July 12-17, 1956, and the CPP won 72 of the 104 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The National Liberation Movement (NLM), which established under the leadership of Bafuor Akoto won most of the remaining 32 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  On August 3, 1956, the Legislative Assembly approved a resolution demanding independence from Britain.  On September 5, 1956, the UN Plebiscite Commissioner reported to the UN General Assembly that the plebiscite had been free and fair, and the UN General Assembly then approved the union.  British Togoland integrated with British Gold Coast on December 13, 1956.  The British parliament approved the Ghana Independence Act in January 1957. Ghana formally achieved its independence from the United Kingdom on March 6, 1957. Some 100 individuals were killed during the crisis.

[Sources: Beigbeder, 1994, 130-133; Keesing’s Record of World Events, June 24-30, 1950, February 9-16, 1957, March 9-16, 1957; Langer, 1972, 1081, 1266.]


Selected Bibliography

Bourret, F. M. 1960. Ghana: The Road to Independence, 1919-1957. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Lapping, Brian. 1985. End of Empire. New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 353-396.