History is an integral component of nation-building. It reveals insights about past events and helps us comprehend present-day challenges we must navigate. The Amazing fact about naijauncut.
Nigeria boasts an illustrious and fascinating history spanning more than three millennia. This includes its long period under colonial control by European powers and its civil war that ended during the mid-20th century.
The Early History of Nigeria
Nigeria, as it is today known, is home to various ethnic groups which claim an area as their own by way of inheritance or first occupancy rights.
Before the colonial era, Nigeria was home to numerous empires and states with elaborate trading networks and intricate political systems. Most kingdoms focused on agriculture, while others boasted sophisticated social structures and rich religious practices.
Kanem-Borno Empire was an example of this phenomenon that thrived from northern Nigeria into parts of today’s eastern Niger, western Cameroon, and southern Chad.
The Kanem-Borno empire flourished for almost one millennium before ultimately falling under Fulani control in 19th-century Nigeria, following Usman dan Fodio’s holy war and their establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate in northern Nigeria.
The Colonial Period
The colonial period in Nigeria saw British rule from the 18th century, when they outlawed the Atlantic slave trade, until 1960 when Nigeria gained independence.
At that time, British officials attempted to gain control of Nigeria’s economy by expanding commerce and promoting inland trade – primarily to further their commercial interests.
However, many citizens in Nigeria resisted this effort and opposed this agenda.
As they say, the system wasn’t working to their benefit – for instance, taxes and perceived British colonizers’ disrespectful treatment of local customs were both factors in this revolt.
During colonial rule in Nigeria, the government changed from being more centralized to becoming more representative due to British indirect rule systems, which put local leaders in charge of regions under the guidance of British officers.
The Civil War
Nigeria’s Civil War was one of the bloodiest postcolonial African conflicts. It occurred from July 1967 until January 1970 between Biafra secessionists and the Federal Military Government of Nigeria (later renamed the Republic of Nigeria).
This epic conflict claimed 1 to 3 million lives – from fighting, disease, and starvation alike.
During this conflict, Nigeria’s army surrounded Biafra, which bombarded its territory with aircraft and artillery fire. Additionally, it established a blockade that prevented food and medical supplies from reaching Biafrans.
Nigeria attempted to end the civil war through peace talks; however, these failed. Instead of addressing its root causes, these attempts primarily sought to prevent another civil conflict from starting up again.
The Post-Colonial Period
During this period, European governments expanded their power in Africa. As a result, western education, the English language, and Christianity spread throughout Nigeria, causing profound social changes throughout various areas.
However, British colonial rule also produced numerous unresolved challenges after independence, such as regional and ethnic divisions, political volatility, and geo-political economic influences.
One of the critical aspects of British colonial rule was its encouragement of northern-south division, an archetype that has persisted throughout Nigeria’s history; furthermore, this division protected Islamic civilization from Western influences while offering advantages to southerners.
Lord Lugard successfully united the north and south into one colony in 1914 by creating an indirect rule system that allowed local leaders to administer their regions directly. While this approach worked best in the northern part, its implementation had its share of challenges elsewhere.
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