The origin of Nigeria dates as far back as 11000 BC. Historically, it is believed that every city was founded by migrants who left their former settlement to settle elsewhere. The story is not any different for our dear country, Nigeria.
Nigeria was founded by prehistoric settlers from various kingdoms and empires such as the Oyo Empire, the Borno Empire, the Kingdom of Nri, and the Benin Empire. These ancient African settlers are some of what make up Nigeria today.
According to archaeological research, people had already been living in the south-eastern part of Nigeria, precisely in the Afikpo, Nsukka, Ugwuele, and Igbo Ukwu about 100,000 years ago. The Igbos have long been settled the present-day Igboland. This is traceable to the bronze metal works found in the region around the 9th Century AD and fossil human skeleton found at Iwo-Eleru, a western part of Nigeria, 13,000 years ago.
Igbo Kingdom, being the oldest kingdom in Nigeria, is believed to have its roots in the Kingdom of Nri. Nri and Aguleri are believed to be the origin of the Igbo creation myth, and they are in the territory of the Umueri clan. The Umueri clan further traces its lineage back to Eri, their partraichical king-figure. It is yet unclear, however, how Eri came to be or where he originates from, although he is believed to have been sent by God (called ‘Chukwu’ by the Igbos). Till today, each king in Iboland traces his origin back to Eri.
The Hausa Kingdoms, which started with a formation of seven states by a collection of Hausa people, was situated somewhere between the Niger River and Lake Chad. The Bayajidda legend has it that the Hausa states were founded by Bayajidda’s sons. These states are Daura, Kano, Katsina, Zaria, Gobir, Rano, and Biram.
The Yoruba people dominated the west side of the Niger River bank while on the other side of the river, there were the Igalas, who have linguistics similar to the Yorubas. It is believed that the Igalas split from the Benue people about 2,000 years ago. The Yoruba people lived in village communities, having compounds, and their major profession was subsistence agriculture.
Around the 8th century, certain village compounds came together to form territories which have now become cities or states in the present day Yorubaland, among which are Oyo State, Ekiti State, Ondo State, Ogun State, Osun State, and a part of Kwara State. These states make up the South-western region of Nigeria today.
Nigeria was colonized by the British and gained independence on 1st October 1960, becoming a Republic in 1963.
Feature Image: Dead Country Stamps and Banknotes