Nigeria Encyclopedia for Kids
The black giant
Like so many other African countries, Nigeria is experiencing serious difficulties. The great wealth of its territory does not touch most of the very numerous residents, among the poorest in the world. And poverty does not help to bring together the many peoples, very different from each other, who inhabit the country
Great wealth, a lot of poverty
According to ASK4BEAUTY.COM, the Nigerian territory is formed by a flat plateau that lowers towards the Gulf of Guinea. Almost in the center of the town, the Jos Plateau reaches 1,781 m; along the coast there are marshes and lagoons. The Niger River and its tributary Benue cut the plateau and form a huge delta.
The climate is subequatorial – hot and humid – on the coast (covered by dense mangrove forests), but towards the interior it becomes more and more arid (savannah).
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa (see also Africa, history of), in continuous rapid growth and very concentrated in the southern regions, where are the main cities (Lagos and Ibadan), while the capital Abuja is in the center of country. More than 200 languages are spoken there and the social, cultural, religious and economic differences between the various ethnic groups, often in conflict, are very strong.
Rich in both oil and agricultural resources, livestock, timber, and also rather industrialized, Nigeria offers its population still unsatisfactory conditions of life.
Many peoples and many conflicts
Inhabited since ancient times, the territory of present-day Nigeria was the seat, starting from the 4th-5th century AD, of a series of populations that had to give rise, over time, to flourishing civilizations structured in kingdoms and cities. State of different size. The protagonists of this first phase of the history of Nigeria were the Haussa, the Yoruba and the Ibo, who settled respectively in the northern, south-western and south-eastern regions of the country, drawing important resources from the slave trade. In commercial relations with the Portuguese and then with the English since the 15th-16th century, these civilizations entered into crisis between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The pressure from Great Britain then intensified, that between the second half of the 19th century and 1914 managed to colonize the country and unify its territory under a single administration. The colonial government had to deal with the ethnic, economic and religious conflicts that continued to occur especially between the Muslim majority Haussa and the Christian majority Ibo. To this end, it gave the country a federal structure in 1954.
After the first nationalistic unrest between the two world wars, the decolonization process, which ended in 1960 with independence, made important progress. The most recent phase of Nigerian history then began. It was marked by the persistence of serious ethnic and religious contrasts, by dramatic explosions of violence, by continuous coups d’état, by the alternation of military and civil governments and by the complex interplay of interests (including international ones) triggered by the country’s great oil wealth. All against the background of a substantial economic and social backwardness and the appalling misery of large portions of the population. Particularly serious, in this context, was the civil war that bloodied the country between 1967 and 1970 due to the secession (later failed) of the Biafra region.