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The country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 500 different languages and are identified with a wide variety of cultures. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north.A minority of the population practise religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.
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.Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan.Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri.Benin's power lasted between the 15th and 19th centuries.Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.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.
Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.
For centuries, various peoples in modern-day Nigeria traded overland with traders from North Africa.
Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western, central and northern Africa.
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.
Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture.
Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies.