History of Nigeria

Nigeria Flag

Nigeria is a country situated on the western coast of Africa. It has a diverse geography, with climates ranging from arid to humid equatorial. However, Nigeria's most diverse feature is its people. Hundreds of languages are spoken in the country, including Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, Hausa, Edo, Ibibio, Tiv, and English. Nigeria has abundant natural resources, notably large deposits of petroleum and natural gas. Its capital city is Abuja.

Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Present-day Nigeria has been the site of numerous kingdoms and tribal states spanning over a millennium. The modern state has its origins in British colonization during the late 19th to early 20th centuries, with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate. During the colonial period, the British set up administrative and legal structures whilst retaining traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria achieved independence in 1960, but plunged into a two-year civil war several years later. It has since alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships, with its 2011 presidential elections being viewed as the first to be conducted reasonably freely and fairly.

Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy. With approximately 174 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh. Nigeria has one of the largest youth in the world. The country is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Regarding religion, Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the northern and southwestern regions. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to Igbo and Yoruba peoples.

Island groups of Nigeria

Nigeria Map Nigeria Map - Click for larger view

Nigeria is a country, and a continent. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Africa Ocean. It is the sixth largest country in the world with a total area of 7,686,850 square kilometers (2,967,909 sq. mi) (including Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island), making it slightly smaller than the 48 states of the contiguous United States and 31.5 times larger than the United Kingdom. The Nigerian mainland has a total coastline length of 35,876 km (22,292 mi) with an additional 23,859 km (14,825 mi) of island coastlines. There are 758 estuaries around the country with most located in the tropical and sub-tropical zones. Nigeria claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometers (3,146,057 sq. mi).

This exclusive economic zone does not include the Nigerian Antarctic Territory. Nigeria has the largest area of ocean jurisdiction of any country on earth. It has no land borders. The northernmost points of the country are the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory. The western half of Nigeria consists of the Western Plateau, which rises to mountain heights near the west coast and falls to lower elevations near the continental center. The Western Plateau region is generally flat, though broken by various mountain ranges such as the Hamersley Range, the MacDonnell Ranges, and the Musgrave Range. Surface water is generally lacking in the Western Plateau, although there are several larger rivers in the west and north, such as the Murchison, Ashburton, and Victoria River.

The Nok people of Northern Nigeria produced the earliest terracotta sculptures found in the country. The Nok civilization flourished between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D. In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.

People & Culture

The Nigerian culture is shaped by Nigeria's multiple ethnic groups. The country has over 521 languages and over 250 dialects and ethnic groups. The four largest ethnic groups are the Hausaand Fulani who are predominant in the north, the Igbo who are predominant in the southeast, and the Yoruba who are predominant in the southwest.

The Edo people are predominant in the region between Yoruba land and Igbo land. Much of the Edo tends to be Christian while the remaining 25 percent worship deities called Ogu. This group is followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik people of the coastal southeastern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Niger Delta.

The rest of Nigeria's ethnic groups (sometimes called 'minorities') are found all over the country but especially in the middle belt and north. The Fulani, who are traditionally nomadic, are spread all over West and Central Africa and are predominantly Muslim. The Hausa are also predominantly Muslim while the Igbo are predominantly Christian. The Efik, Ibibio, Annang people are mainly Christian. The Yoruba have a balance of members that are adherent to both Islam and Christianity. Indigenous religious practices remain important in all of Nigeria's ethnic groups, these beliefs are often blended with Christian beliefs.

Nigeria is famous for its English language literature, apart from the 'pure' English speaking population. Nigerian pidgin (which uses a primary English lexicon) is also a common lingua franca. Roughly a third of Nigeria's population speak Pidgin English which is a simplified form of the language, for instance "How you dey" would be substituted for "How are you". Since the 1990s the Nigerian movie industry, sometimes called "Nollywood" has emerged as a fast-growing cultural force all over the continent. Because of this western influences including music, dress and movies can be found all across Nigeria including the Islamic and highly conservative north of the country.

The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of Folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Little is known about the country's music history prior to European contact, although bronze carvings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been found depicting musicians and their instruments. The largest ethnic groups are theIgbo, Hausa and Yoruba. Traditional music from Nigeria and throughout Africa is almost always functional; in other words, it is performed to mark a ritual such as a wedding or funeral and not for pure entertainment or artistic enjoyment. Although some Nigerians, especially children and the elderly play instruments for their own amusement, solo performance is otherwise rare. Music is closely linked to agriculture, and there are restrictions on, for example, which instruments can be played during different parts of the growing season.

Work songs are a common type of traditional Nigerian music. They help to keep the rhythm of workers in fields, river canoes and other fields. Women use complex rhythms in housekeeping tasks, such as pounding yams to highly ornamented music. In the northern regions, farmers work together on each other's farms and the host is expected to supply musicians for his neighbors. The issue of musical composition is also highly variable. The Hwana, for example, believe that all songs are taught by the peoples' ancestors, while the Tiv give credit to named composers for almost all songs, and the Efik name individual composers only for secular songs. In many parts of Nigeria, musicians are allowed to say things in their lyrics that would otherwise be perceived as offensive.

Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise the West African nation of Nigeria. Like other West African cuisines, it uses spices and herbs in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply flavored sauces and soups often made very hot with chili peppers. Nigerian feasts are colorful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.

Football is largely considered the Nigeria's national sport and the country has its own Premier of football. Nigeria's national football team, known as the "Super Eagles", has made the World Cup on four occasions 1994, 1998, 2002, and most recently in 2010. In April 1994, the Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African football team. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994, and 2013, and have also hosted the Junior World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina) becoming the first African football team to win gold in Olympic Football.

The nation's cadet team from Japan '93 produced some international players notablyNwankwo Kanu, a two-time African Footballer of the year who won the European Champions with Ajax Amsterdam and later played with Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth. Other players that graduated from the junior teams are Celestine, Wilson Oruma and Taye Taiwo. Some other famous Nigerian footballers include John Obi Mikel, Obafemi Martins, Vincent Enyeama, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Rashidi Yekini, Peter Odemwingie and Jay-Jay Okocha.

Weather and Climate

Nigeria Climate



Nigeria's location in the tropics has given her a tropical hot climate. Temperatures in Nigeria vary according to the seasons of the year as with other lands found in the tropics. Nigeria's seasons are determined by rainfall with rainy season and dry season being the major seasons in Nigeria.

The Tropical rainforest climate or the Equatorial monsoon, designated by the Köppen climate classification as "Af", is found in the southern part of the country. This climate is influenced by the monsoons originating from the South Atlantic Ocean, which is brought into the country by the (maritime tropical) MT airmass, a warm moist sea to land seasonal wind. Its warmth and high humidity gives it a strong tendency to ascend and produce copious rainfall, which is a result of the condensation of water vapor in the rapidly rising air.

Public Holidays

Nigeria Public Holidays
New Year’s Day January 01
Eid el-Maulud (Prophet's Birthday) January 03
Good Friday April 03
Easter Monday April 06
Worker's Day May 01
Democracy Day May 29
Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) July 17
Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) September 23
Independence Day October 01
Eid el-Maulud (Prophet's Birthday) December 24
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26

Travel Advisory

There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Nigeria, exercise normal security precautions.