Country Listing

Ghana Table of Contents


World War I

After establishing supremacy in Ghana, the British created the Gold Coast Regiment as a component of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF), which kept peace throughout the territories of the Gold Coast (Ghana), Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia. In 1928 the WAFF because the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF). British officers and noncommissioned officers organized, trained, and equipped the Gold Coast Regiment. For much of the colonial period, the British recruited African enlisted personnel only from ethnic groups in the Northern Territories Protectorate. Eventually, the Gold Coast Regiment accepted a few African officers and an increasing number of African noncommissioned officers from the south. Nevertheless, the north-south division continued to characterize the Gold Coast Regiment.

On July 31, 1914, four days before the British declaration of war on Germany, Accra mobilized its military forces. The Gold Coast Regiment included thirty-eight British officers, eleven British warrant or noncommissioned officers, 1,584 Ghanaians, (including 124 carriers for guns and machine guns), and about 300 reservists. Additionally, the four Volunteer Corps (Gold Coast Volunteers, Gold Coast Railway Volunteers, Gold Coast Mines Volunteers, and Ashanti Mines Volunteers) fielded about 900 men. These forces participated in the campaigns in Togo, Cameroon, and East Africa.

Deployment of the country's armed forces required the reduction of the British colonial establishment by 30 percent between 1914 and 1917 and the closure of several military installations in the Northern Territories. These actions persuaded many Ghanaians that British colonial rule was about to end. As a result, a series of disorders and protests against British colonial rule occurred throughout the country.

During August and September 1914, for example, riots broke out in Central Province and Ashanti, followed three years later by unrest at Old Nigo. The wartime weakening of the administrative structure in the Northern Territories also fueled opposition to chiefs who used their positions to exploit the people they ruled, to encourage military recruitment, or to advance the cause of British colonial rule. Disturbances among the Frafra at Bongo in April 1916 and in Gonja in March 1917 prompted the authorities to deploy a detachment of troops to the Northern Territories to preserve law and order.

Data as of November 1994