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In 1553, the first English ships landed at the Bight of Benin, then known as the "Slave Coast." The present day Nigeria came into existence in 1914, when the Colony of Lagos, the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, and the protectorate of Northern Nigeria were amalgamated.Even before the arrival of Europeans, the many nationalities or ethnic groups were highly organized and had law and order.With an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometers), Nigeria's size approximately equals the combined areas of New Mexico, Arizona and California.A coastal state on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Nigeria is bounded by Niger to the north, Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east and southeast, and Chad to the northeast.Colonel Ojukwu, a soldier from the Ibo tribe, announced the secession of the Eastern Region, and declared a Republic of Biafra.Events following this declaration resulted in the Biafra War, one of the most deadly civil wars in Africa, claiming the lives of over two million Nigerians.The Oyo Empire, founded in the late fourteenth century by Oranmiyan, a Prince of Ile-Ife, had a powerful army and maintained diplomatic contact with other kingdoms in the area.
Green represents the agricultural richness of the nation, while the white stands for unity and peace.
The November 1991 population census put Nigeria's population at 88,514,501.
Nigeria's population is extremely diverse—more than 250 ethnic groups are identified.
The name Nigeria was coined by Lord Lugard's wife in 1897 in honor of the 2,600-mile-long Niger River.
The first Europeans to reach Nigeria were the Portuguese in the fifteenth century.
Intermarriages flourished among the various groups. One of the most prosperous trades even before the arrival of the Europeans was the slave trade.