Ghana has existed since the 9th century as a great kingdom. It suffered deeply from the effects of colonialism, beginning with the Portuguese in the 15th century. They were followed by the Dutch, Germans, Swedish and eventually Britain. Remnants of Ghana’s colonial occupants and the African slave trade exist in the form of castles and forts dotted along the coastline. Today, Ghana is one of Africa’s leading countries and was the first African country south of the Sahara to achieve independence from its colonial oppressors.