|a republic in West Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea: Lagos annexed by the British in 1861; protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria formed in 1900 and united as a colony in 1914; gained independence as a member of the Commonwealth in 1960 (membership suspended from 1995 to 1999 following human rights violations); Eastern Region seceded as the Republic of Biafra for the duration of the severe civil war (1967--70); ruled by military governments from 1966. It consists of a belt of tropical rain forest in the south, with semidesert in the extreme north and highlands in the east; the main export is petroleum. Official language: English; Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba are the chief regional languages. Religion: animist, Muslim, and Christian. Currency: naira. Capital: Abuja. Pop: 127 117 000 (2004 est). Area: 923 773 sq km (356 669 sq miles)|
A nation in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean), bordered by Niger to the north, Chad and Cameroon to the east, and Benin to the west. Lagos is the capital and largest city.
Note: With over 110 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa's most populous country.
Note: Nigeria has been independent from Britain since 1960, and its independent history has been marked by bloodshed and instability. An ill-fated separatist movement established the secessionist state of Biafra in southeastern Nigeria from 1967 to 1970.
Note: The city-state of Benin, in what is now Nigeria, flourished from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries as a center of commerce and culture. It was famous for its cast-gold sculptures.