The area called the Gold Coast of Africa was first visited by Europeans in 1470 when Portuguese sailors reached the northern coastline of the Gulf of Guinea.
They found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and Volta that they named the place "Mina" - meaning "mine." The English referred to it as the Gold Coast, just as the French traders to the west called their sphere of influence the Ivory Coast.
Trading posts/forts were built by many powers over the next three centuries: England, Denmark, Portugal, Prussia, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Most of these developed into small colonies after some negotiation or some conflict with the Fanti people near the coast and the Ashanti people further inland. However, eventually all those colonies were incorporated into that of England, the last of the Dutch colonies which were sold to Great Britain in 1871.
The Gold Coast became self-ruling in 1951, and by the 1950s had the highest average level of education in all of sub-Saharan Africa, but it wasn't until 1957 that it was combined with the smaller colony of British Togoland to become the modern Ghana. This was the first European colony in Africa to become independent (after two decades of campaign for home rule). The leadership of Kwame Nkrumah and his ability to negotiate with the British turned out to be the impetus for most of the other African colonies to seek their own independence.