In northern Nigeria, in the 11th century, there
were medieval states that adopted Islam. The Yoruba
people in the southwest had the kingdom which was also
early city states. Beginning in the 1400s, Portuguese
first came and then British. The slave trade that had
previously gone north through the Sahara now gained a
new market. Millions of slaves were shipped to America.
From the end of the 19th century, today's Nigeria came
under British control. When the colony began to wind
down after the Second World War, the colony was divided
into three regions, each dominated by one of the three
major ethnic groups.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Nigeria, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The oldest traces of a larger, organized society are
derived from the Nok people, who lived on the central
Jos Plateau during the centuries around the birth of
Residents of the early states of the savannah in the
north conducted caravan trade through the Sahara to the
Mediterranean coast. In the region around Lake Chad,
such a state, Kanem, appeared as early as the 8th
century. Kanem's Nilo-Saharan rulers adopted Islam in
the 11th century. Kanem swallowed up a number of small
states west and south of Lake Chad, including Bornu. The
capital of the new kingdom of Kanem-Bornu was moved
there since Kanem collapsed in the 1400s.
The thriving Hausa cities west of Bornu, including
Gobir, Katsina, Kano and Zinder, also converted to
Islam. Hausa became the region's foremost traders and
their languages spread throughout Northern Nigeria.
The shepherds fulani immigrated to the Hausa states
in the 13th century. Fulani first formed an elite to
serve the Hausa kings, but in the early 1800s, the Hausa
cities came under the rule of Fulani, mainly as a result
of the Islamic war of Usman dan Fodio's holy war, jihad.
Like the Hausa states in the north, the Yoruba
kingdoms in the southwest were city states from the
beginning. Ife was an important Yoruba city as early as
the 11th century. In close connection with the Yoruba
states, in the 14th century Benin Kingdom grew strongly
through trade, and in the 16th century the Yoruba state
Oyo subjugated other city states.
For centuries, Yoruba, Igbo and many other peoples
had abided by slaves and operated slave trade across the
Sahara. With the arrival of Europeans, the market
widened. Between 1650 and 1860 extensive trade was
carried on across the Atlantic.
However, Britain banned its citizens from
participating in the slave trade as early as 1807. The
ban helped Oyo, who was a major slave exporter, to
collapse in a civil war. The war spread to all of
Yorubaland. The British blocked the coast to stop the
slave trade and annexed Lagos in 1861.
When the European superpowers divided Africa at the
Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, Britain claimed the area
around the Niger River. In 1894, Britain proclaimed
southern Nigeria as a protectorate. In the north, the
British company Royal Niger Company had, since 1866,
been entitled to administer and trade, but in 1900 the
British government also declared that area of
patronage. The two protectorates were merged in 1914.
Through so-called indirect rule, the local
administration was managed by traditional rulers.
The indirect regime was applied differently in the
north and in the south. In the north, the British
cooperated with the local rulers, the emirs. Christian
mission was stopped, while Islam and traditional values
were promoted. Hausa was recognized as an official
language. In the south, however, English was the
official language. Even there the government was run by
local kings and rulers, but their position was
undermined by Christian mission and other Western
After the Second World War, Britain began to
dismantle its colonies. In Nigeria, a federation with
three regions was created, in an attempt to keep
religious and regional conflicts at bay. Each region was
dominated by one party: the Northern People's Congress (NPC)
was supported mainly by Hausa and Fulani in the northern
region, where about half the population lived. The
Action Group (AC) was supported by Yoruba in the West,
while the Igbo people in the East were represented by
the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC,
later renamed the National Citizens' Council).
The contradictions were great about how the future
state should be governed. In the compromise reached,
Nigeria became a federation with parliamentary rule. In
1954, the federation became self-governing and in 1959
elections were held for the federal parliament. The NPC,
which was regionalist, Muslim and aristocratic, gained
its own majority. Nevertheless, the NPC formed a
coalition with the NCNC, which was nationalist,
Christian and populist.
54 soldiers are sentenced to death
They have been charged with mutiny in a secret trial in a military court,
suspected of refusing to participate in battles against Boko Haram.
Main candidates in the election clear
The ruling party PDP unanimously appoints the incumbent president as its
candidate in the February 2015 election.
Violence in December
Several dozen people are killed in a series of new attacks and attacks,
including in the cities of Damaturu, Maiduguri and Jos. Nearly 200 people,
including many women and children, are reported to have been robbed of a village
The state of emergency is not extended
Refuses to extend the state of emergency in the country's three northeastern
states; According to the opposition, the special laws have in no way been able
to curb Islamist violence in the region.
1.5 million people flee
According to UN data, 900,000 have fled their homes in northeastern Nigeria
only in the past six months, due to Boko Haram's violence. Boko Haram is said to
have taken control of some 20 cities so far.
Violence in November
Several hundred people are killed in a series of attacks during the month.
Among other things, around 50 boys die when a suicide bomber explodes at a
school in the state of Yobe. Several other assaults require about the same
number of lives. At an attack on the largest mosque in Kano, at least 120 people
are killed. Boko Haram is believed to be behind all attacks.
Nigeria free from Ebola
The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the country ebola-free when it
has been 42 days without any new disease case. A total of 19 people have been
confirmed to be infected, of whom seven have died. WHO commends Nigeria for an
exemplary effort to stop the spread of infection, including through careful
tracking and control of nearly 900 people who have been in contact with sick
Three men are sentenced to 25 years in prison for terrorist offenses linked
to terrorism. According to Human Rights Watch, however, the trial has violated
both Nigeria's constitution and a number of international agreements. According
to Nigerian press, the men belong to Boko Haram and they are suspected of having
planned attacks in Lagos.
Violence in October
A ceasefire that the government says has entered into with Boko Haram, and
which would lead to the Islamist group releasing the more than 200 abducted
schoolgirls, is not leading anywhere. Instead there will be reports of more
abducted children, looting and new attacks with death. According to various
data, between 500 and 1,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram since
Twelve soldiers are sentenced to death
A military court finds them guilty of having participated in a mutiny in
Borno in May. The mythists must have been upset over the lack of equipment and
support from the army leadership in the fight against Boko Haram.
Regional meeting on Boko Haram
The foreign ministers from Nigeria as well as Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Chad
discuss joint efforts, in a meeting where representatives of the UN and AU as
well as the US, the UK, France and Canada and participate. The meeting
culminated in an appeal to the outside world for more help in stripping arms
supplies to Boko Haram and hampering the group's funding.
Violence during September
About 30 people are killed in a blast attack in Bauchi, in the north. There
are reports that Boko Haram has taken control of the city of Bama and is
preparing to attack Maiduguri. The military rejects the reports.
Emergency permit due to Ebola
The disease that has claimed up to 1,000 deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone and
Guinea during the summer has now reached Nigeria. Two people have died in Lagos
and seven more have been confirmed to be infected. The government grants
approximately SEK 80 million in disaster relief efforts to stop the spread of
infection and the start of school is postponed until October to curb the
Military overwhelm in the pursuit of Boko Haram
Amnesty International accuses the army and the state-backed civilian militia
CJTF of extensive abuse, including extrajudicial executions.
Violence during August
Boko Haram continues to rage mainly in the northeast. There are reports of
murders and abductions. The Islamist sect claims to have taken control of the
city of Gwoza, with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, and governs according
to Sharia. Both civilians and soldiers flee across the border to Cameroon. At
one time, close to 100 prisoners are reported to have been exempted by Chad
"Over 2,000 civilians killed in six months"
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, over 2,000 civilians have been
killed in six months. Nearly three-quarters of the deaths that Boko Haram is
accused of during the first six months of the year have occurred in Borno. The
state governor later states that 176 teachers have been murdered since 2011, and
900 schools have been destroyed.
Regional intervention against Boko Haram
Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon agree that each country should contribute
700 soldiers. When and where the force is to be deployed does not appear after
the meeting of the country's defense ministers.
Parliament in Adamawa in the Northeast dismisses Governor Murtala Nyako for
alleged corruption. Nyako is one of the former PDP politicians who switched to
APC. He claims that the PDP pushed through the deposition in revenge for his
conflict with President Jonathan.
Violence during July
Several hundred victims are again reported. At one point, more than 50 Boko
Haram members must have been killed following an attack against an army base in
Damboa. Later, an unknown but large number of people are killed when Boko Haram
attacks the city. Over 80 die in two suicide bombings in Kaduna. One attack is
aimed at a vehicle column with ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, the second attack
is carried out when moderate Muslim leader Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi holds a prayer
meeting in a town square. Both Buhari and Bauchi escape unharmed.
The opposition party APC holds congress
John Odigie Oyegun, former governor of the state of Edo in the south, is
appointed party chairman.
Regional intelligence cooperation
Nigeria agrees with Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon to form a new regional
unit to fight Boko Haram.
Britain promises increased military support
The British government also promises money for better schooling in Northern
The Emir of Kano dies
During his 50 years on the throne, Ado Abdullahi Bayero has made great
efforts to reduce tensions between Muslims and Christians. He was also a sharp
critic of Boko Haram. He is succeeded by the fired central bank governor Lamido
Sanusi (see February 2014), one of Jonathan's most outspoken critics
EU sanctions against Boko Haram
The EU decides on similar sanctions as the UN (see May 2014).
The wave of violence continues in June
The month begins with reports of massacres. Several hundred people are said
to have been killed in concerted Boko Haram attacks against four villages in
Borno. Later, about 50 die in attacks against churches near Chibok, and about 20
in an explosive attack in Abuja.
UN sanctions against Boko Haram
The UN Security Council sets up the group is put on a "black list" of
organizations that have ties to the al-Qaeda terror network. It will thus be
prohibited to supply Boko Haram with weapons while freezing its financial assets
"Total war" against Boko Haram
Nigeria and neighboring countries Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Chad state at a
meeting in Paris that Boko Haram has grown into a regional threat, a "West
Africa's al-Qaeda ". The countries will joint military operations, exchange
intelligence, cooperate with arms smuggling and tighten border controls.
New videotape allegedly showing kidnapped girls
They are dressed in full Islamic costume and are said to have converted to
Islam. Boko Haram leader Shekau now offers to release the girls in exchange for
all imprisoned members of the movement.
Massacre in Borno, condemnation by the UN Security Council
The statement concerns the abduction of the girls from Chibok as well as the
"The girls should be sold as slaves"
Three weeks after the abduction in Chibok (see April 2014), Boko Haram's
leader Abubakar Shekau says on a videotape that he was behind the kidnappings
and plans to sell them as slaves. The case is attracting great attention in the
outside world. The United States, France and the United Kingdom send
intelligence experts, and the United Kingdom and China promise to assist with
satellite monitoring of the area. The Nigerian police are announcing a reward of
close to SEK 2 million for information that will help save the girls.
Violence during May
Several hundred people in continued blast attacks and attacks on villages. At
the beginning of the month, more than 300 residents were killed in the twin
towns of Gamboru-Ngala in Borno, since the soldiers normally stationed at the
site have left. The survivors flee across the border to Cameroon. Attacks are
also being carried out in, for example, Abuja and Jos in central Nigeria. Entire
villages are destroyed and many children are among the victims.
Schoolgirls are robbed
Around 270 girls are robbed of Boko Haram from a school in Chibok in Borno.
Some manage to escape, but over 200 remain lost.
Violence during April
Several hundred people are killed in new attacks during the month. The
violence continues to mainly affect Borno and other parts of northeastern
Nigeria, but some 70s are also killed in an explosion against a bus station in
Schools are closed for security reasons
Borno authorities shut down 85 high schools with a total of 120,000 students
following a series of attacks blamed on Boko Haram.
Land conflicts behind deadly violence
Dozens of people are reported to have been killed when armed men attack four
villages in the state of Katsina in the northwest. The suspicions are directed
at members of the Fulani ethnic group, which have long been in conflict with the
Hausa. The conflict concerns the competition for land (see Population and
languages). Later, more than 100 people are reported to have been shot dead in
three villages in Kaduna, central Nigeria, under similar circumstances.
New Minister of Defense
The post that has been vacant since June 2012 goes to former Army Chief of
Staff Aliyu Gusau.
The Governor is kicked
President Jonathan dismisses Lamido Sanusi for "financial negligence". Sanusi
has accused the state-run oil company NNPC of shredding the equivalent of $ 20
billion. He has been praised internationally for cleansing up the Nigerian
banking sector and stabilizing the currency, but his fight against corruption
has given him many political enemies.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar joins the APC
He is the highest-ranking defender from the ruling party so far.
Violence in February
Several attacks were reported during the month, against villages in Borno and
against a boarding school in Yobe. Over 250 people are killed. Boko Haram is
suspected in all cases.
PDP senators jump off
About ten senators pass to the opposition. The PDP still retains its majority
in the Senate (see also December 2013).
The defense line is dismissed
The Chief of Defense Staff and the Heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force are
replaced. No explanation is provided, but the changes are believed to be linked
to the inability of the armed forces to curb the Islamist movement Boko Haram.
Laws against homosexuals come into force
The law prohibits same-sex marriage and makes it criminal to manifest
homosexual orientation or act for the rights of gays. Violations of the law can
result in up to 14 years in prison. According to critics, the law indirectly
means that violence against homosexuals is approved.