History of Nigeria

Nigeria officially referred to as the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a federal state in West Africa. It borders Cameroon and Chad to the East, Benin to the west, and Niger to the north. It also has a coast in the south that lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is made up of 36 cities and the Federal Capital Territory, where Abuja, the capital city is situated. Nigeria has a lot of historic empires and cultures compared to other countries in Africa. The history of Nigeria can be traced back to as early as 11,000 BC when a number of ancient African communities inhabited the area that now makes Nigeria. The greatest and the well-known empire that ruled the region before the British arrived was the Benin Empire whose ruler was known as Oba of Benin. Other tribes such as the Nri Kingdom also settled in the country, especially in the Eastern side. The Songhai Empire also settled in some of the country’s territory. By the 11th century, Islam had arrived in Nigeria via the Hausa States. In 1851, the British forces seized Lagos, which was later annexed officially in 1861. In 1901, Nigeria was made a British protectorate and was colonized until 1960, when the country gained independence. In 1963, Nigeria became a republic but fell under military rule in 1966 as a result of a coup d'état. In 1967, the Republic of Biafra was formed and this led to the three-year Nigerian Civil War. The country became a republic again in 1979 after a new constitution was drafted. The republic, however, did not last for long because the military under the leadership of Major General Muhammadu Buhari seized the country four years later. A new republic was formed in August 1993 after Buhari was overthrown but was once again dissolved in November the same year by General Sani Abacha who passed on in 1998, leading to the creation of a forth republic in 1999. With the above in mind, the country’s history will be discussed in brief below.

Early History of Nigeria (500BC – 1500)
Middle Ages in Nigeria (1500 – 1800)
British Nigeria (1800 – 1960)
Civil war of Nigeria (1967-1970)
Military Juntas in Nigeria (1970-1999)
Democratization of Nigeria (1999-present)


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