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Europeans traded goods with peoples at the coast; coastal trade with Europeans also marked the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade.The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) became one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.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.With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.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.Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.
This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator.It is also listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world.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 and OPEC.Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire (also known as the Sokoto Caliphate).
The territory controlled by the resultant state included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria; it lasted until the 1903 break-up of the Empire into various European colonies.