The land known to us as Nigeria was colonized by the British in 1884, but was not amalgamated until 1914. The Royal Niger Company sold Nigeria to Great Britain in 1899. The company still exists and operates, now under a different name, in Nigeria to this day.
Nigeria was targeted for its natural resources such as palm oil. At a time when the British were actively railing against slavery, their demand for palm oil sparked Nigeria’s own in-country slave trade. Warriors recognized the importance of slaves as soldiers, as well as producers of palm oil, which could be traded for European dane guns. The European dane gun played an integral part in the African slave trade.
The nationalist movement started in 1919 and gained traction in the 1930s during the economic depression. After WWII, Nigeria was given slightly more control, but political, economic, and social inequalities remained. By 1953, local activist and politician Anthony Enahoro, moved to motion for Nigeria’s self-governance. Along with the help of other predominant nationalists - Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa - this peaceful, country led movement was successful. Nigeria was granted its independence on October 1st, 1960.
In 1966, following a fraudulent election, Nigeria succumbed to military rule fell victim to a bloody coup d’etat led by rebel soldiers. This coup was responsible for the assassination of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Enter: the Nigerian Civil War. The war lasted from 1967 to 1970 and military continued to rule for the next 29 years until the restoration of democracy in 1999.
Nigeria continues to struggle with religious differences between Muslims and Christians, political corruption, and corporate land exploitation. Despite these prodigious setbacks, Nigeria leads Africa as the fashion, technological and creative hub of the continent.
Currency: The Naira
Most populous country on the continent
Over 500 indigenous languages spoken and 7% of the world’s total languages are spoken
Nigeria’s film industry, aka Nollywood, is the second largest in the world – Hollywood is third
Houston is host to the largest Nigerian population in the U.S.