British Empire
The end of the British empire - Ghana
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Extract from a Foreign Office report on a speech by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1953
(Catalogue ref: FO 371/102615)
  • The British ambassador to the West African state of Liberia wrote this report in 1953. He was reporting back to the Foreign Office in Britain on a speech by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast.
  • Dr Kwame Nkrumah was the leading figure in the campaign to get independence for the Gold Coast from the British empire in the 1950s. He eventually succeeded and the Gold Coast became the independent state of Ghana in 1957.
  • Nkrumah was born in the Gold Coast, but developed a successful career in American universities. In the 1940s he began to campaign for independence for his home country. This campaign lasted well into the 1950s.
  • The British were not opposed to the idea of independence for West Africa. However, they were anxious that newly independent states would be stable and democratic. Many British were not convinced that Gold Coast was ready for independence.
  • This report also suggests that the British did not like or trust Nkrumah. In fact they put him in prison in 1949. In 1951 elections were held and Nkrumah won, even though he was in prison. The British released him and allowed him to form a new government, although the country remained part of the empire.
  • One of the reasons why the British did not trust Nkrumah was that he was an admirer of the Communist system of government. Britain and the USA were very opposed to communism.
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