Cave paintings and archaeological finds
testify that people have lived in the Sahara in northern
Niger for over 40,000 years. As the desert has spread,
the inhabitants have moved south.
A few centuries after the beginning of our era, two
powerful kingdoms were established, which included parts
of today's Niger. In the 600s, the Kingdom of Songhai
was founded in today's Mali and the kingdom expanded
into southwestern Niger. In the 8th century, the kingdom
of Kanem arose in the east around the border to what is
today Chad. Both Songhai and Kanem took advantage of a
favorable position on the trade routes of the time.
Kanem also benefited from iron mining around Lake Chad.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Niger, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
From the 9th century onwards, Tuaregs (a Berber
people) migrated into Niger from the north, while
livestock-eating hausa migrated from the east.
During the 1000s, both Songhai's and Kanem's princes
converted to Islam and the new religion spread within
the upper class in the cities.
Songhai experienced its heyday during the second half
of the 15th century, but was conquered by Morocco in the
late 16th century. During the 1400s, civil war and decay
existed within Kanem, but the kingdom then rose again,
now with Bornu west of Lake Chad as the center.
Descendants of the royal dynasty in Bornu sat on the
throne until 1846.
Niger is colonized
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first
European explorers arrived. France began its
colonization of the area in the 1880s and in 1904 formed
the colony of French West Africa, which included today's
Niger. In 1921 Niger became a colony of its own.
The colonization took place quickly and brutally.
French administrators were deployed and the power of
traditional chieftains trimmed. In 1930, peanuts were
started growing and livestock farming was encouraged.
But it was only when uranium was discovered in Niger in
1959 that France began to show some greater interest in
From the late 1940s, domestic political parties began
to emerge. Main rivals became the conservative and
French-friendly Hamani Diori and leftist politician
Djibo Bakary, who advocated immediate independence. In a
1958 referendum, Diori's line won and Niger became an
autonomous republic within the French Commonwealth that
year. Bakary went into exile and his party Sawaba
(Independence) was banned. When Niger became independent
in 1960, Diori became the country's first president.
The army attacks al-Qaeda
The government army reports that it has attacked a column belonging to the
al-Qaeda terror network in northern Niger. At the attack, three terrorists are
killed and 50 captured people are freed.
PNDS forms partial alliances
President Issoufou's ruling party PNDS joins some small parties in a new
alliance called the Nigerian Rebirth Movement (MRN).
Alleged murder attempt on Issoufou
A number of soldiers and civilians are arrested accused of planning to
assassinate President Issoufou.
Tandja is acquitted and released
Imprisoned President Tandja is released after a court of appeal has dropped
all charges against him. The Court held that the lower court that sentenced
Tandja to prison did not have the powers to try a former head of state.
Tuareg becomes new prime minister
Mahamadou Issoufou takes over as president and promises to prioritize the
fight against poverty and food shortages. Issoufou appoints Tuareg, Brigi
Rafini, as new prime minister for a government consisting mainly of ministers
from Issoufou's party PNDS and Hama Amadou's party Moden.
Mahamadou Issoufou wins the presidential election
the 12th of March
Mahamadou Issoufou, leader of the former opposition party Nigerian Democracy
and Socialism (PNDS), wins the second and decisive round of the presidential
election with 58 percent of the vote. He is victorious over former Prime
Minister Seyni Oumarou, who is running for President Tandja's ousted National
Social Development Movement (MNSD) party.
General elections are conducted
Presidential and parliamentary elections are held. Among the presidential
candidates are former Prime Ministers Seyni Oumarou and Hama Amadou, as well as
opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou, who wins in the first round of elections.
Oumarou, who is running for President Tandja's deposed National Social
Development Movement (MNSD), comes second. Issoufou and Oumarou are thus moving
on to a second round of elections in March. Issoufou's party The Nigerian Party
for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) is the largest in parliament.
Two Frenchmen are kidnapped and killed
Two Frenchmen are kidnapped by the extreme Islamist movement Aqim when they
visit a restaurant in the capital Niamey. They are killed by the kidnappers
during a French-backed exemption attempt a week later.