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Profile: Kwame Nkrumah


Positions that Kwame Nkrumah has held:

  • Prime Minister of Ghana




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Kwame Nkrumah actively participated in the following events:


1952      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       US-educated Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is elected prime minister of the Gold Coast (the British Colony that later becomes Ghana). [Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.; BBC, 11/4/1997]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

March 5, 1957      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       The Gold Coast and the British Togoland trust territory in Western Africa become the first black colonies in Africa to win their independence. The two British colonies become the independent state of Ghana with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as the country's first prime minister. In leading the colonies to independence, Dr. Nkrumah becomes an international symbol of freedom, spearheading the struggle for independence in much of sub-Saharan Africa. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.] Celebrating the country's independence, Nkrumah declares, “We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity.... We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; For our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.” [BBC, 11/4/1997]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

After 1958      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       The Ghanaian government, headed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, embarks on numerous infrastructure projects. The government begins building and improving roads, the rail system, schools, hospitals and industrial facilities. Nkrumah's popularity increases immensely as economic conditions begin to improve. [Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.; West Africa Review, 1999]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

1960      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       Dr. Kwame Nkrumah makes Ghana a republic with himself as president. Under Ghana's new constitution, the president has wide legislative and executive powers. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

1961-Early 1966      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah introduces his Soviet-inspired Seven-Year Plan to establish state-owned factories and public authorities. The projects are financed by foreign loans and taxes, saddling the country with debt and stifling certain sectors of the economy. Cocoa production in Ghana drops dramatically when farmers, whose income has been reduced by the government marketing board's price controls, begin smuggling cocoa to neighboring countries or switch to other crops. As a result, Ghana ceases to be the world's largest cocoa producer. Burdened with debt, the Ghanaian economy contracts, undermining the Nkrumah government's popularity. The downturn brings widespread unrest which is exacerbated by criticisms that Nkrumah is focusing too much on the promotion of his vision of African-unity (see 1960-1966). [Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.; Yergen and Stanislaw, 1998]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

1964      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah becomes increasingly authoritarian, declaring himself president for life and banning opposition parties. [Yergen and Stanislaw, 1998; Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.; BBC, 11/4/1997]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

1965      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah rejects IMF and World Bank recommendations to implement a economic development strategy based on non-inflationary borrowing and reduced government spending. Ghana's refusal to implement these reforms makes it ineligible to receive loans from the two institutions. Nkrumah continues with a policy aimed at diversifying the Ghanaian economy through import substituting industrialization (ISI). [Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.; West Africa Review, 1999; BBC, 11/4/1997]
People and organizations involved: World Bank, Kwame Nkrumah, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

(3.00pm-3:30pm) March 22, 1965      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       In a public speech, Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah lashes out against US support for Tshombe in the Congo and blames the US government and financiers for many of the problems in Africa. [SeeingBlack [.com], 6/07/2002 Sources: Telegram From the Embassy in Ghana to the Department of State, 4/2/1965]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

October 1965      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah publishes his famous work, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, in which he predicts, quite accurately, that Africa will suffer persistent meddling by the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, particularly the CIA and KGB. He accuses American intelligence of being behind several of the crises being experienced by the Third World. His book introduces the term “neo-colonialism,” whereby a state is theoretically independent, but in reality, has its economic system and political policies directed from outside. He again calls on Africans to be united against imperialism and global capitalism. [Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 10/2002; BBC, 11/4/1997 Sources: Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, 1965] The US government quickly informs Nkrumah that it opposes the ideas presented in the book and cancels $35 million in aid to Ghana. [Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 10/2002]
People and organizations involved: Kwame Nkrumah

February 24, 1966      US-Ghana (1952-1966)

       The Ghanaian army stages a coup, overthrowing the pan-Africanist government of Kwame Nkrumah—who is in Burma at the start of a grand tour aimed at resolving the conflict in Vietnam. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Yergen and Stanislaw, 1998; Stockwell, 1978] A weak economy (see 1961-Early 1966), exacerbated by the deliberate actions of Western governments to destabilize the country (see (3.00pm-3:30pm) March 11, 1965) (see March 27, 1965), had severely damaged the president's popularity among the masses. Additionally, the military was upset with Nkrumah's cuts to the defense budget and the declining real wage of army officers. The coup itself was supported by the CIA, which had maintained intimate contact with the plotters for at least a year (see (3.00pm-3:30pm) March 11, 1965). The CIA's involvement in the plot was so close that it managed to recover some classified Soviet military equipment as the coup was happening. [Stockwell, 1978; SeeingBlack [.com], 6/07/2002; New Yorker, 1980 cited in West Africa Review, 1999 Sources: Howard T. Banes]
People and organizations involved: Howard T. Banes, Kwame Nkrumah

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