Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire (also known as the Sokoto Caliphate).The country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 500 different languages and are identified with a wide variety of cultures. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north.A minority of the population practise religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.Other major slaving ports in Nigeria were located in Badagry, Lagos on the Bight of Benin and on Bonny Island on the Bight of Biafra.
The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD.
The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.
Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
Nigeria has been home to a number of kingdoms and tribal states over the millennia.
The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914.