Nigeria history and tradition
Nigerian culture is as multi-ethnic as the people in Nigeria. The people of Nigeria still cherish their traditional languages, music, dance and literature. Nigeria comprises of three large ethnic groups, which are Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani and Igbo. However there are other ethnic groups as well. Thus culture in Nigeria is most positively multi-ethnic which gives a lot of value to different types of arts, which primarily include ivory carving, grass weaving, wood carving, leather and calabash. Pottery, painting, cloth weaving and glass and metal works.
Nigerian clothing is unique and attractive. Lace, jacquard, adire, and ankara are some of the materials that are used to prepare dresses in Nigeria. Nigerian clothing for women include buba, kaba, iro, gele and iborun or ipele and Nigerian clothing for men include buba, fila, sokoto, abeti-aja and agbada. Other than traditional attire, the people also wear western attires as well.
Nigeria i/naɪˈdʒɪəriə/, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroonin the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. There are over 500 ethnic groups in Nigeria of which the three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined by Flora Shaw, who later married Baron Lugard, a British colonial administrator, in the late 19th century. The British colonised Nigeria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, setting up administrative structures and law while recognizing traditional chiefs. Nigeria became independent in 1960. Several years later, it had civil war as Biafra tried to establish independence. Military governments in times of crisis have alternated with democratically elected governments.
Nigeria, known as “the Giant of Africa”, is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who mostly live in the South and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the north. A minority of the population practice traditional and local religions, including the Igbo and Yoruba religions. Its oil reserves have brought great revenues to the country. It is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies. Nigeria is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations, and theAfrican Union.
The Nok people of central Nigeria produced the earliest terracotta sculptures found in the country.In the northern part of the country, Kano andKatsina have a recorded history dating back to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.
Also in the North, at the beginning of the 19th century under Usman dan Fodio, the Fulani led the centralized Fulani Empire, which continued until 1903 when the Fulani population and land were divided into various European colonies. Between 1750 and 1900, one to two-thirds of the population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves.
The royal Bini mask of ivory, one of Nigeria’s most recognized artifacts
The Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th] and 14th century respectively. Yoruba mythology states that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it pre-dates any other civilization. The oldest signs of human settlement dates back to the 9th century. Ifẹ produced terracotta and bronze figures, and Ọyọ once extended from western Nigeria to Togo. The Kingdom of Benin is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin’s power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people started in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. It is one of the oldest kingdoms in Nigeria. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan; they trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. The oldest pieces of bronzes made out of the lost-wax process in West Africa were from Igbo Ukwu, a city under Nri influence.
The people traded overland with traders from North Africa for centuries. In the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin trade in Nigeria, in the port they named Lagos and in Calabar. The Europeans traded goods with the peoples of the coast. Soon they also negotiated for a portion of the existing African slave trade.
Traditionally, peoples captured in war were made slaves by the conquerors. Usually they were taken back to the conquerors’ territory, put to work and sometimes acculturated and eventually absorbed into the other culture. When the Europeans entered the trade, they transported slaves mostly to the Americas to work as laborers. There, slavery became a racial caste to which people of African descent were confined, particularly in what became the United States. The demands of the slave trade produced a greater market in slaves than had existed before. Nigerian ethnic groups were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean as part of the African diaspora of slavery.