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Nigeria  became a British protectorate in 1901. The period of British rule  lasted until 1960 when an independence movement led to the country being  granted independence. Nigeria first became a republic in 1963, but  succumbed to military rule after a bloody coup d'état in 1966.

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sovereign  country in West Africa bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the  northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its southern  coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a federal  republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where  the capital, Abuja, is located. Lagos is the most populous city in the  country and the African continent, as well as one of the largest  metropolitan areas in the world.

Nigeria has been home to several indigenous pre-colonial states and  kingdoms since the second millennium BC, with the Nok Civilization  having been the first time the country had been unified internally in  the 15th Century B.C. The modern state originated with British  colonialization in the 19th century, taking its present territorial  shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern  Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard. The British set  up administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule  through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent  federation on October 1, 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to  1970, followed by a succession of democratically-elected civilian  governments and military dictatorships, until achieving a stable  democracy in 1999; the 2015 presidential election was the first time an  incumbent president had lost re-election.

Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic  groups speaking 500 distinct languages, all identifying with a wide  variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are the  Hausa–Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west, and Igbo in the east,  together comprising over 60% of the total population. The official  language is English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the  national level. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Muslims, who  live mostly in the north, and Christians, who live mostly in the south.  The country has the world's fifth-largest Muslim population and  sixth-largest Christian population, with a minority practicing  indigenous religions, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba  ethnicities. Nigeria's constitution ensures freedom of religion.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most  populous country in the world, with an estimated 206 million inhabitants  as of late 2019. It has the third-largest youth population in the  world, after India and China, with nearly half its population under the  age of eighteen. Nigeria's economy is the largest in Africa and the 24th  largest in the world, worth almost $450 billion and $1 trillion in  terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity, respectively. Nigeria  is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large  population and economy, and is also considered to be an emerging market  by the World Bank; it has been identified as a regional power on the  African continent, a middle power in international affairs, and has also  been identified as an emerging global power. However, its Human  Development Index ranks 158th in the world, and the country is  classified as a lower middle-income economy, with a gross national  income per capita between $1,026 and $3,986.

Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of  many other international organizations, including the United Nations,  the Commonwealth of Nations, the ECOWAS, and OPEC. Nigeria is also a  member of the informal MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as  the globe's next emerging economies, as well as the "Next Eleven"  economies, which are set to become among the biggest in the world.

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