country in WC Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea: formerly a British colony & protectorate, it became independent in 1960; a republic since 1963: member of the Commonwealth: 356,669 sq mi (923,769 sq km); pop. 88,515,000; cap. Abuja
A country of western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. A variety of states were established in the region prior to the arrival of Europeans, including the Bornu, Benin, and Songhai empires. Exploited by Portuguese, British, French, and Dutch traders in the 17th and 18th centuries, Nigeria was eventually claimed by the British, who consolidated the area into one colony in 1914. The country attained its independence in 1960. Abuja is the official capital (since 1991), but many government offices remain in Lagos, the former capital and the largest city. Population: 135,000,000.