Monday, April 12, 2010


On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The new republic incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nations
Newly independent, Nigeria's government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Nigerian People's Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, and the Igbo and Christian dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria's maiden Governor-General in 1960.

Colonial Era

Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin trade in Nigeria in the port they named Lagos and in Calabar. The Europeans traded with the ethnicities of the coast and also negotiated a trade in slaves, to the detriment and profit of many Nigerian ethnicities.

Influence of the Christian Missions

Christianity was introduced at Benin in the fifteenth century by Portuguese Roman Catholic priests who accompanied traders and officials to the West African coast. Several churches were built to serve the Portuguese community and a small number of African converts. When direct Portuguese contacts in the region were withdrawn, however, the influence of the Catholic missionaries waned and by the eighteenth century had disappeared.

Abolition of the Slave Trade

In 1807 the Houses of Parliament in London enacted legislation prohibiting British subjects from participating in the slave trade. Indirectly, this legislation was one of the reasons for the collapse of Oyo. Britain withdrew from the slave trade while it was the major transporter of slaves to the Americas. Furthermore, the French had been knocked out of the trade during the French Revolution beginning in 1789 and by the Napoleonic wars of the first fifteen years of the nineteenth century.