Nigeria is a west African nation, bordered by Benin to the west, Chad and Cameroon to the east, and Niger to the north. Officially, it is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with a democratic government modeled after the United States. Its capital is Abuja, and its largest city is Lagos. Nigeria is rapidly developing nation, with both a large population and a significant economy, the “Giant of Africa,” with the world’s 20th largest economy.
The name Nigeria is derived from the Niger River, a named coined in the 19th century by British colonial officials, possibly a corruption of a Tuareg name for the river. From the 10th to the 20th century, the Igbo Kingdom of Nri flourished in Nigeria, displaced in 1911 by the British. British slavers, traders and colonizers had been penetrating the lower Niger for several centuries. In 1914, Britain organized the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. In 1960, Nigeria gained its independence and became part of the British Commonwealth.
A series of military coups in the 1960s led to civil war, followed by a military junta, which ruled from 1970 to 1999. It was that year that Nigeria elected its first president. Nigeria is also home to substantial oil reserves, and is a member of OPEC. Divisions between the Islamic north and the Christian south has led to sectarian violence, largely sponsored by the terrorist group Boko Haram.