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Africa 2006,

Gold first attracted European exploration along what became known as the Gold Coast. In 1482 the Portuguese built the first fort at Elmina (The Mine). The Dutch, French, British and Germans followed. From the 16th until the 19th Century trade in gold was overshadowed by the slave trade. During this period the Asante people gained dominance and prompted weaker tribes such as the Fante to seek British protection. Britain took control and abolished slavery from the mid-19th Century. The British colony, Gold Coast, together with the former UN trust territory, British Togoland, was granted independence as Ghana in 1957, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah. After he was ousted in 1966, Nkrumah's military successors-Generals Joseph Ankrah, Kofi Busia, Ignatius Acheompong and Frederick Akkuffo-perpetuated one party rule. Inflation soared and corruption went unchecked. In 1979 a young Flight Lieutenant, Jerry Rawlings, seized power and installed Hilla Limann as president. In 1981 Rawlings seized power again. As head of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) he abolished the constitution and jailed Limann. In 1992 a multiparty system was adopted and a presidential election held, which Rawlings won easily. He won reelection in 1996 but in December 2000 his deputy in the New Democratic Party (NDC), John Evans Atta Mills, was defeated in his bid for the presidency by John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Kufuor was re-elected in December 2004.