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Local Guide Here are the 10 things you didn't know about Accra

You might think you know Accra, but here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Ghana's millennium city

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Accra is the largest city in Ghana and has changed rule numerous times over the years. This cultural influence has molded it into the place it is today, a sprawling metropolis full of interesting history that stretches out across the beaches and delta.

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about it.

1. W.E.B. DUBOIS IS BURIED IN ACCRA

W.E.B. Dubois was buried in Accra play

W.E.B. Dubois was buried in Accra

(WCVB.com)

 

The famous American sociologist and Pan-Africanist Dubois spent his last few years living in Accra. Unfortunately he passed away in 1963 at the age of 95.

W.E.B. Dubois Center (Accra, Ghana) play

W.E.B. Dubois Center (Accra, Ghana)

(TripAdvisor.com)

 

He was buried in Accra near his home that now serves as the Du Bois Memorial Centre — a must-see if you’re in the city.

2. EARTHQUAKES ALMOST DESTROYED THE CITY

Like San Francisco, large earthquakes almost destroyed the city — multiple times no less. In 1862, a 6.5 earthquake rocked the city and almost every stone building in the city tumbled to the ground.

Accra earthquake. The corner of this house has collapsed play

Accra earthquake. The corner of this house has collapsed

(BM Archives)

 

Other major earthquakes took a toll on the city in the years of 1906 and 1939. There hasn’t been a major earthquake since, but the “big one” should be on people’s minds.

3. IT SERVED AS THE CAPITAL OF THE BRITISH GOLD COAST

From 1877 to 1957, Accra served as the capital of the British Gold Coast, a period of almost 80 years. At the time, the city was rather small and just a suburb of Victoriaborg.

4. IT’S AN EXTREMELY YOUNG CITY

 

The population in Accra is one of the youngest in the world. 56% of the entire population is currently under 24 years old and the trend towards a young population shows no signs of stopping.

5. THE CAPITAL BUILDING WAS A CASTLE

The seat of government for Accra was located inside of a massive building called Osu Castle.

play A contemporary drawing of the Dano-Norwegian fort, Fort Christiansborg, now Osu Castle. The outpost to the right is Fort Prøvestenen.

 

The castle was built in the 1660’s by Danish settlers and has served as the center of the area’s government for centuries.

6. THE CITY’S NAME IS DERIVED FROM ANTS

The name of the city, Accra, comes from the Akan word ‘nkran,’ meaning ants. This is a reference to all of the anthills that can be seen in the surrounding areas around Accra.

7. THE AREA USED TO BE HOME TO GA VILLAGES

The modern day site of Accra used to be home to several villages of the Ga tribe. The Ga people farmed the area for hundreds of years before colonial settlers came into the area.

8. COCOA HELPED THE CITY GROW FAST

Accra owes quite a bit of it’s growth to the cocoa trade. In 1908, the Accra-Kumasi railway was built that connected the largest port (Accra) with one of the country’s main growing regions (Kumasi). It took until 1923 to build the railway, but in another year, cocoa was already the largest export in Ghana.

9. IT’S ONE OF THE HOTTEST YEAR CITIES IN AFRICA

While cities like Cairo get scorching hot during the summer, they usually cool off during winter. This is not the case in Accra, and the city averages highs of 81F(27C) and above the entire year. The all-time record low is only 59F(15C).

10. ITS GROWTH IS FUELED BY HIGH IMMIGRATION

The population in Accra continues to swell, largely due to the influx of people from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Over 35% of Accra’s population growth is due to new immigrants moving into the city.

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