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MyInfoStride:
This is a compendium of Nigerian History which will encompass precolonial, colonial, and post colonial era; pre-independence, independence, and post independence periods.



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bayo4luv:
History of Nigeria 

The earliest known inhabitants of what is now Nigeria were members of the ancient Nok culture. The Nigeria-Cameroon border was home to peoples who spoke the Bantu group of languages, which are spoken in most African countries south of the Sahara Desert.

Over 2,000 years, different kingdoms were established, including the northeastern kingdom of Kanem-Borno, the Hausa kingdoms of Katsina, Kano, Zaria and Gobir in northern-central Nigeria, the Yoruba kingdoms of Ife, Oyo and Ijebu in southwestern Nigeria, the southern kingdom of Benin, and the Ibo communities in the east.

Precolonial History of Nigeria 

Between the 11th century and European colonial conquest in the late 19th century, the area in and around Nigeria was home to a number of sophisticated and influential societies. Among the most important were the northeastern kingdom of Borno, the Hausa city-state/kingdoms of Katsina, Kano, Zaria, and Gobir in northern-central Nigeria, the Yoruba city-states/kingdoms of Ife, Oyo, and Ijebu in southwestern Nigeria, the southern kingdom of Benin, and the Igbo communities of eastern Nigeria. Extensive trading networks developed among these societies and northwards across the Sahara.

During the 19th century, the abolition of the slave trade cleared the way for expansion of trade in agricultural produce from Africa to Europe, particularly palm oil from the West African coastal areas. The coastal enclave of Lagos became a British colony in 1861, a center for expansion of British trade, missions, and political influence. Late 19th century and early 20th century Lagos was also a center for educated West African elites who were to play prominent roles in the development of Pan-Africanism as well as Nigerian nationalism. By the end of the 19th century, Britain began an aggressive military expansion in the region. A protectorate was declared over northern Nigeria in 1900. Despite the loss of sovereignty, the strong political and cultural traditions of these societies initially enabled many to accommodate nominal British rule with little change in their way of life.

Colonial History of Nigeria

Nigeria came under the colonial rule of the British (United Kingdom) during the second half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. The United Kingdom conquered the territory of present-day Nigeria, except for the section of former German-controlled Kamerun in several stages. The British dependencies of Northern and Southern Nigeria were merged into a single territory in 1914, and a legislative council, initially with limited African representation was created in 1922. Traditional native rulers, however, administered various territories under the supervision of the colonial authorities. In 1947, a federal system of government was established under a new Nigerian constitution introduced by the United Kingdom. This system was based on three regions: Eastern, Western and Northern. The idea was to reconcile the regional and religious tensions as well as accommodating the interest of diverse ethnic groups: mainly the Ibo (in the east), the Yoruba (in the west) and the Hausa and Fulani (in the north).

Nigerian Independence

Nigeria was granted full independence in October 1960 under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary government and a substantial measure of self-government for the country's three regions. From 1959 to 1960, Jaja Wachuku was the First black Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament - also called the House of Representatives. Wachuku replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Great Britain. Notably, as First Speaker of the House, Jaja Wachuku received Nigeria's Instrument of Independence - also known as Freedom Charter - on October 1, 1960, from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen's representative at the Nigerian independence ceremonies.

The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policy. The monarch of Nigeria was still head of state but legislative power was vested in a bicameral parliament, executive power in a prime minister and cabinet, and judicial authority in a Federal Supreme Court. Political parties, however, tended to reflect the make up of the three main ethnic groups. The NPC (Nigerian people's Congress) represented conservative, Muslim, largely Hausa interests, and dominated the Northern Region. The NCNC (National Convention of Nigerian Citizens), was Igbo- and Christian-dominated, ruling in the Eastern Region, and the AG (Action Group) was a left-leaning party that controlled the Yoruba west. The first post-independence National Government was formed by a conservative alliance of the NCNC and the NPC, with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a Hausa, becoming Nigeria's first Prime Minister. The Yoruba-dominated AG became the opposition under its charismatic leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Post Independence History of Nigeria

Nigeria was granted full independence in October 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern) under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary form of government. Under the constitution, each of the three regions retained a substantial measure of self-government.

The emergence of a democratic Nigeria in May 1999 ended 16 years of consecutive military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo became the steward of a country suffering economic stagnation and the deterioration of most of its democratic institutions. Obasanjo, a former general, was admired for his stand against the Abacha dictatorship, his record of returning the federal government to civilian rule in 1979, and his claim to represent all Nigerians regardless of religion.

The new President took over a country that faced many problems, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy, collapsed infrastructure, and a military that wanted a reward for returning quietly to the barracks. The President moved quickly and retired hundreds of military officers who held political positions, established a blue-ribbon panel to investigate human rights violations, ordered the release of scores of persons held without charge, and rescinded a number of questionable licenses and contracts let by the previous military regimes. The government also moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted in overseas accounts.

Source: History of Nigeria, The Nigerian Database of History and Historical Figures

MyWorld:
NIGERIA: HISTORY AND PEOPLE

Much has been said and written about Nigeria, her people and culture, economy and politics, that sheds light on the tremendous potential of this African Giant. However, little is known to the outside world about the many exciting tourist attractions available in Nigeria: Historic sites nestled amid rivers and rain forests, breathtaking mountain vistas, remote creek villages, miles of pristine beaches and exotic national wildlife reserves. There are also museums, festivals, music and dance, a rich cultural melange right down to everyday traditional markets. These are just some of the spectacular sights and sensual delights awaiting the traveler to Nigeria.

Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa (about 120 million), and the greatest diversity of cultures, ways of life, cities and terrain. With a total land area of 923,768 sq. km. (356,668 sq. mi.) Nigeria is the 14th largest country in Africa. Its coastline, on the Gulf of Guinea, stretches 774 km (480 mi.). Nigeria shares its international border of 4,470 km (2513 mi.) with four neighbors: Chad, Cameroon, Benin, and Niger. Until 1989 the capital was Lagos, with a population of about 2,500,000, but the government recently moved the capital to Abuja.

CLIMATE AND WEATHER

Nigeria lies entirely within the tropics yet there are wide climactic variations. In general, there are two seasons, dry and wet, throughout Nigeria. Near the coast, the seasons are less sharply defined. Temperatures of over 90°F are common in the north, but near the coast, where the humidity is higher, temperatures seldom climb above that mark. Inland, around the two great rivers, the wet season lasts from April-Oct. and the dry season from Nov.-March. Temperatures are highest from Feb-April in the south and MarchJune in the north; they're lowest in July and Aug. over most of the country.

HISTORY

Virtually all the native races of Africa are represented in Nigeria, hence the great diversity of her people and culture. It was in Nigeria that the Bantu and SemiBantu, migrating from southern and central Africa, intermingled with the Sudanese. Later, other groups such as Shuwa-Arabs, the Tuaregs, and the Fulanis, who are concentrated in the far north, entered northern Nigeria in migratory waves across the Sahara Desert. The earliest occupants of Nigeria settled in the forest belt and in the Niger Delta region.Today there are estimated to be more than 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria. While no single group enjoys an absolute numeric majority, four major groups constitute 60% of the population: Hausa-Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west, and Igbo in the east. Other groups include: Kanuri, Binis, Ibibio, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Efik, Nupe, Tiv, and Jukun.

While sharing rest of the history later, read more here: Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

MyWorld:
EMPIRES

Kanem-Borno: While there is no direct evidence to link the people of the Jos Plateau with the Nok culture, or the Eze Nri of today with Igbo Ukwu, the history of Borno dates back to the 9th Century when Arabic writers in north Africa first noted the kingdom of Kanem east of Lake Chad. Bolstered by trade with the Nile region and Trans-Saharan routes, the empire prospered. In the next centuries, complex political and social systems were developed, particularly after the Bulala invasion in the 14th Century. The empire moved from Kanem to Borno, hence the name. The empire lasted for 1,000 years (until the 19th Century) despite challenges from the HausaFulani in the west and Jukun from the south.

Hausa-Fulani: To the west of Borno around 1,000 A.D., the Hausa were building similar states around Kano, Zaria, Daura, Katsina, and Gobir. However, unlike the Kanuri, no ruler among these states ever became powerful enough to impose his will over the others. Although the Hausa had common languages, culture, and Islamic religion, they had no common king. Kano, the most powerful of these states, controlled much of the Hausa land in the 16th and 17th Centuries, but conflicts with the surrounding states ended this dominance. Because of these conflicts, the Fulanis, led by Usman Dan Fodio in 1804, successfully challenged the Hausa States and set up the Hausa-Fulani Caliphate with headquarters in Sokoto, commanding a broad area from Katsina in the far north to Ilorin, across the River Niger.

Yoruba: In the west, the Yoruba developed complex, powerful city-states. The first of these important states was Ile-Ife, which according to Yoruba mythology was the center of the universe. Ife is the site of a unique art form first uncovered in thel93Os. Naturalistic terracotta, bronze heads and other artifacts dating as far back as the 10th Century show just how early the Yoruba developed an advanced civilization. Later, other Yoruba cities challenged Ife for supremacy, and Oyo became the most powerful West African kingdom in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The armies of the Oyo king (Alafin) dominated other Yoruba cities and even forced tribute from the ruler of Dahomey. Internal power struggles and the Fulani expansion to the south caused the collapse of Oyo in the early 19th Century.

Benin: Benin developed into a major kingdom during the same period that Oyo was becoming dominant to the west. Although the people of Benin are primarily Edo, not Yoruba, they share with Ife and Oyo many of the same origins, and there is much evidence of cultural and artistic interchange between the kingdoms. The King (Oba) oE Benin was considered semi-divine and controlled a complex bureaucracy, a large army, and a diversified economy. Benin's power reached its apex in the 16th Century.

Igbo and The Delta States: Many Nigerian cultures did not develop into centralized monarchies. Of these, the Igbo are probably the most remarkable because of the size of their territory and the density of population. Igbo societies were organized in self-contained villages, or federations of village communities, with a society of elders and age-grade associations sharing various governmental functions. The same was true of the Ijaw of the Niger Delta and people of the Cross River area, where secret societies also played a prominent role in administration and governmental functions. But by the 18th Century, overseas trade had begun to encourage the emergence of centralized systems of government.

MyWorld:
SOUTHWEST NIGERIA 

ABEOKUTA means 'under the rock', derived from the Olumo Rock, the town's most famous landmark. Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, lies on the Ogun River amid rugged, rocky hills, offering excellent photo opportunities. Home of adire cloth, Abeokuta has an intriguing array of markets which sell a wide range of exotic goods. Olumo Rock, sacred to the Egba people, is on the east side of the Ogun river. Visitors should engage a guide from the tourist center at the bottom of the rock where one can explore the caves used as sanctuary during the Yoruba civil war. At the rock's summit, visitors can enjoy a tremendous view of Abeokuta and the Ogun River.

BENIN CITY is steeped in history. World-renowned Benin bronze scuptures date back to the 15th Century when the Oba of Benin ruled the large and powerful Edo kingdom, a period when bronze casting was an art used to glorify the Oba. In 1897, a British expeditionary force sacked Benin and hauled off many of the bronzes to London. Still, several good examples of the bronze artifacts remain in both the Benin and Lagos Museums. Today, bronze casting is still continued in several streets in the city, including Igun and Oloton streets. Another attraction in Benin is Chief Ogiamen's House, a prime example of Benin traditional architecture built before 1897. The house miraculously survived the "Great Fire" during that period which destroyed most of the city.

IBADAN was until recently the largest indigenous African city. Located along the edge of a thickly wooded forest belt, it was called Eba-Odan, meaning a town at the edge of the forest.' Today it's the capital and main commercial center of Oyo state. Places of interest include Dugbe market, a huge traditional marketplace, the Parliament Building, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria's premiere university, its Teaching Hospital and Cocoa House. Ibadan is also close to the historic towns of Oyo, Ogbomosho, Ijebu-Ode, Ife, Ilesha, and Oshogbo.

ILE-IFE, the ancient city of Ile-lfe, in Osun State, is truly unique. The Yorubas consider it to be the cradle of creation and civilization. Legend says that it was at Ife that Oduduwa, sent by Olodumare, the Yoruba creator-god, established the first land upon the waters that covered the earth, thus founding Ife. His sons spread to other parts of Yoruba to create further kingdoms. Ile-lfe became a remarkable center for arts, producing both terracotta figures and bronzes dating from the 12th to 15th Centuries, second only in fame to the Benin bronzes.

LAGOS, on Lagos Island, has been settled since the 15th Century, when Yoruba groups used it as a refuge from outside attacks. It was a trading post between the Benin Kingdom and the Portuguese until the arrival of British traders in the 19th Century, presaging the colonization of the interior. Lagos is divided into several parts, each with its distinctive character. The heart of the city is Lagos Island (Eko), containing most of Nigeria's commercial and administrative headquarters. It is linked to the mainland by three road bridges, and to Ikoyi Island and Victoria Island by road. The latter are mostly residential areas with palatial houses, expansive gardens and five star hotels in a gorgeous setting. Tourist attractions in the city include The National Museum, The National Theater and miles of beautiful beaches (see pages 26 & 27). Finally, Oba's Palace sits majestically on Lagos Island, portions of which are over 200 years old with a newly contructed extension.

ONDO area has many fascinating tourist attractions including the Ikogosi Warm Spring, Idanre Hills, Ipolo-Iloro Water Falls, Ebomi Lake and the Museum at Owo. The most popular are Ikogosi Warm Spring and the Idanre Hills. The Ikogosi Warm Spring, located in a valley in Ikogosi Town, northeast of Akure, is ideal for camping or picnics. The Idanre Hills, with curious dome-shaped peaks, are located in Idanre, southwest of Akure. The hills have a socio-religious significance, having protected inhabitants from invaders during inter-ethnic wars in the distant past.

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