Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It spans the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, sharing borders with the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, and Togo in the east. Ghana covers an area of 238,535 km², spanning a diverse geography and ecology that ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical rain forests. With over 31 million people, Ghana is the second-most populous country in West Africa, after Nigeria. The capital and largest city is Accra; other major cities include Kumasi, Tamale, and Sekondi-Takoradi.
The first permanent state in present-day Ghana was the Bono state of the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful were the Kingdom of Dagbon in the north and the Ashanti Empire in the south. Beginning in the 15th century, the Portuguese Empire, followed by numerous other European powers, contested the area for trading rights, until the British ultimately established control of the coast by the late 19th century.