For most of central sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural expansion marked the period before 500 AD.
Farming began earliest on the southern tips of the Sahara, eventually giving rise to village settlements.
The Empire became known in Europe and Arabia as the Ghana Empire after the title of its emperor, the Ghana.
The Empire appears to have broken up following the 1076 conquest by the Almoravid General Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar.
As a result of their presence, Islam influenced the north and Muslim influence spread by the activities of merchants and clerics.
In the broad belt of rugged country between the northern boundaries of the Muslim-influenced state of Dagomba, and the southernmost outposts of the Mossi Kingdoms (of present-day northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso), were peoples who were not incorporated into the Dagomba entity.
Much of the area was united under the Empire of Ashanti by the 16th century.
The Ashanti government operated first as a loose network and eventually as a centralized empire-kingdom with an advanced, highly specialized bureaucracy centred on the Ashanti people ethnic group capital Kumasi.
By the end of the 16th century, most of the ethnic groups constituting the modern Ghanaian population had settled in their present locations.
In 1957, when the leaders of the former British colony of the Gold Coast sought an appropriate name for their newly independent state—the first black African nation to gain its independence from colonial rule—they named their new country after ancient Ghana.
The choice was more than merely symbolic, because modern Ghana, like its namesake, was equally famed for its wealth and trade in gold.