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The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied only to the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain.The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD.The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country.This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator.The Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911.The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914.The British set up administrative and legal structures while practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.
Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous kingdoms and states over the millennia.Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.