Nigeria Briefing Paper

Overall the climate is equatorial in the south

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Unformatted text preview: rthern area of the country often receive less than 75 centimeters. Overall, the climate is equatorial in the south, tropical in the center, and arid in the north of the country. Population Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with a total of 133,881,703 people (2003 estimate). The country has an annual growth rate of 2.53 percent. A majority of the population is 15–64 years old (53.6 percent), with 43.6 percent 0–14 years old and 2.8 percent of the population 65 and older. Ethnicity There are more than 250 distinct ethnic groups in the country, with the following groups the most populous and politically influential: the Hausa-Fulani in the north (29 percent), the Yoruba in the west (21 percent), and the Igbo (also spelled Ibo) in the east (18 percent). Religion The northern region of the country, where the Hausa-Fulani reside, is predominantly Muslim. The Yoruba in the southwest are comprised of both Muslims and Christians, and the Igbo in the southeast are predominantly Christian. Overall, 50 percent of the country is Muslim, 40 percent is Christian, and 10 percent follow “indigenous” or “traditional” religions. Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at 8 Linguistic Breakdown The official language is English, but most people speak the language of their respective ethnic group. Timeline of Key Events Precolonial Nigeria: 12,000 BC to AD 1861 12,000 BC Archeological evidence of human settlement dating back to the Stone Age located in the forest and savanna regions. 500 BC Archeological evidence of iron civilization found in Nok. AD 1000– 1500 Kingdoms of Benin, Oyo, Hausa states, and Kanem Borno flourish. 1450–1850 Increasing contact with Europe and the New World; advent of the slave trade. 1485 Establishment of the first Portuguese trading post. 1530 Christianity introduced in Benin but not widely accepted by the local population. 1804 Islamic revolution in northern Nigeria led by Usuman dan Fodio leads to the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate and the spread of Islam. 1833 Slave trade abolished. 1842 Conversion to Christianity in southern Nigeria; Christianity and Islam emerge as the dominant religions. The Colonial Period: 1861–1960 1861 The British establish a consulate in Lagos, formally initiating the colonization of Nigeria. 1886 Formation of the Royal Niger Company with a charter to trade and enter into treaties in the Niger basin region. Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at 9 1893 Establishment of a British protectorate over the Yoruba in the eastern region. 1900 Establishment of a British protectorate over the northern and southern regions. 1936 Establishment of the Nigerian Youth Movement. 1946-47 Enactment of the (Richards) constitution, which establishes a central legislature and three Regional Houses of Assembly. 1951 Enactment of the second (Macpherson) constitution. 1954 Enactment of a third (Lyttleton) cons...
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