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GUINEA-BISSAU

Guinea-Bissau The name Guinea remains a source of debate; it is perhaps a corruption of an Amazigh (Berber) word meaning “land of the blacks.” The country is mainly flat and the inland consist of savannas and forests making the country the third largest forest country in African. The country  uses the name of its capital, Bissau, to distinguish it from Guinea Conakry, its neighbogh.

Portuguese settlers controlled the area for centuries, until 1956 when Amilcar Cabral and Rafael Barbosa secretly organized the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and staged an armed rebellion against the Portuguese in 1961. Independence wasn't achieved until 1974, following the Carnation Revolution (a military coup in Lisbon, Portugal). Luis Cabral became the first president. He is the half brother of Amílcar Cabral. Amílcar Cabral was a Bissau-Guinean and Cape Verdean agricultural engineer, intellectual, poet, theoretician, revolutionary, political organizer, nationalist and diplomat was a fierce anti colonial leader.. Guinea Bissau gained its independence from the Portuguese on September 10th 1974.  Luis Cabral is ousted in military coup led by Joao Bernardo Vieira; plans for unification with Cape Verde dropped. The overthrow is the first of many political coups that undermine the country's stability over the next four decades. Upon independence, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with the Republic of Guinea. The current president a former finance minister, Jose Mario Vaz won the presidential election run-off of May 2014. Guinea-Bissau is now one of the poorest countries in the world even though it has tremendous potential for development.

 

Guinea Bissau has an agriculture base economy in which 90% of export products are nuts, Cashew being the vital nut crop which provides a modest living for farmers and is the main source of foreign exchange. There is also tremendous potential for forestry and fishery development that has yet to be tapped into.

 

Some of the most notable beautiful part of the country is the Bijagos remote islands of the coast. The Bijagos Islands are a group of about 88 islands and islets located in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bijagos archipelago was formed from the ancient delta of the Rio Geba and the Rio Grande and spans an area of 2,624 km2 (1,184 sq. miles). However, of the 88 islands only some 20 islands are populated year-round, namely Bubaque which is where the Bijagos administrative capital is situated and is the most populated island, Bolama, Carache, Caravela, Enu, Formosa, Galinhas, João Vieira, Maio, Meneque, Orango, Orangozinho, Ponta, Roxa, Rubane, Soga, Unhacomo, Uno, and Uracane all are small town. Major tourist attraction sights includes: 

  • Centro Artistico Juvenil (Bissau)

  • Igreja Catolica da Bissau (Bissau)

  • Bolama Polon Di Bra

  • Mercado Central (Bissau)

  • Presidential Palace (Bissau)

  • Amílcar Cabral Statue

  • Mesquita Bissau (Bissau).

There are over 20 African ethnicities, including the Balante, one of the largest ethnic groups in the country, then Fulani and their many subgroups, the Diola, the Nalu, the Bijagó, the Landuma, the Papel (Pepel), and then the  Malinke. Portuguese is the country’s official and formal language, however, Crioulo—a creole that emerged during the slave trade—is spoken as the lingua franca.

 

National dishes includes, Caldo stews, caldo Mancara a Groundnut soup, caldo Branco, Batons de manioc, Fried cassava. Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc.

 

The calabash is the primary musical instrument of Guinea-Bissau, and is used in extremely swift and rhythmically complex dance music. Lyrics are almost always in Guinea-Bissau Creole, a Portuguese-based creole language.

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IVORY COAST

 

Ivory Coast officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire  is located in West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire is bounded to the north by Mali and Burkina Faso, to the east by Ghana, to the south by the Gulf of Guinea, to the southwest by Liberia, and to the northwest by Guinea. Ivory Coast got its name from a historically major exportation of Ivory centuries ago. Since early French and Portuguese explorers identified sections of the West African Coast by the natural resources: Ivory Coast is a French translation of the Portuguese name Costa do Marfim given by browsers traders en route to India appearing on the Portuguese portolans in the seventeenth century. The country’s political capital is Yamoussoukro and its economic capital is Abidjan making it a dual capital country.

The country gained its independence from the French on August 7th 1960 and for more than three decades was hailed as a model of stability on the continent. However, in 2002 an armed rebellion split the nation in two. Since then, peace deals have alternated with renewed violence as the country has slowly edged its way towards a political resolution of the conflict. In October 1985 the President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who held power until he dies in 1993 declared that the country be officially call Côte d’Ivoire. The current president is Mr. Ouattara won a second five-year term in the 2015 election.

 

Ivory Coast is the World’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans largely use to make chocolate around the world and its citizens enjoy a relatively high level of income. Offshore reserves of petroleum and natural gas have been exploited since 1995 and are a significant source of export revenue for the country. Cote d’Ivoire is ranked the 15th largest oil producer in Africa. It produces approximately 37,000 barrels daily which makes it the 66th largest producer of oil in the world. The government expects its energy drive to boost oil production to 200,000 barrels a day by 2020. Mineral resources exploited in Côte d’Ivoire include diamonds and gold. Other minerals deposits such as iron ore, bauxite, and manganese also exist but on a limited scale.

 

The ethnic composition of Ivory Coast is complex with more than 60 ethnic groups represented The tribal territories parental groups include The Akua Baoulé, the Krou, The Northern Mandes, The Voltaiques (Gur). It is the Baoulé who crowned Michael Jackson as King.

 

Popular dishes includes: Attiéké, famous Ivorian land snail, Most Ivoirians depend on grain and root vegetables, yams, plantains, maize, rice and peanuts with Fufu (the national dish). Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) fran.

 

Ivory Coast has many different types of music genres and ethnic dances. There are four famous Ivorian artists like Magic System, Alpha Blondy, Meiway and Christina Goh. Out of all these four artists, the best-well known artist from all over the Ivory Coast is Alpha Blondy.

 

Notable tourist attraction sites includes:

  • Les Cascades de Man (Man)

  • Jardin botanique de Bingerville (Abidjan)

  • Musee National des Costumes (Grand Bassam)

  • Historic Town of Grand-Bassam

  • Dipi Crocodile Farm (Assinie)

  • Banco National Park (Abidjan)

  • Grande Mosquee du Plateau (Abidjan)

  • L'Ancienne Maison du Gouverneur de Bas Sassandra (Sassandra)

  • Grande Mosquee (Yamoussoukro)

  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission (Tomb for MV Dumana RAF Seaplane Tender (Sassandra), Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (Yamoussoukro))

  • The Plateau (Abidjan)

  • St. Paul's Cathedral (Abidjan)

  • Comoe National Park.

UNESCO Heritage site in Ivory Coast:

1. Historic Town of Grand-Bassam

A colonial town built during the 19th and 20th centuries, Grand-Bassam was the first Ivorian capital following French rule in the region. Its quarters, which specialised in commerce, administration and general housing, helped the city become the economic and judicial hub of the country, in addition to being its most important port

LIBERIA

 

Liberia is located on the West coast of African. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Ivory Coast to its east. The country is home to a lush rainforests containing a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Liberia is the only black state in Africa never subjected to colonial rule and is the oldest republic on the continent.

The region was known as Costa de Pimenta (Pepper Coast), due to the amount of melegueta pepper, and was inhabited by Mende-speaking peoples as far back as the 12th century. Liberia is one of the very few countries on the continent not colonized by a European country, and subsequently established a unique relationship with the Unites States. The country was in fact founded and colonized by freed American slaves with the help of a private organization called the American Colonization Society in 1821-1822, which founded a colony at Cape Mesurado in 1821. In 1824 the territory was named Liberia. That concept was based on the premise that former American slaves would have greater freedom and equality in Africa. In that regard, slaves freed from other slave ships also were sent there instead of being repatriated to their countries of origin.

Those black colonists formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, they founded the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the Unites States. They named country's capital city Monrovia, after James Monroe, the fifth president of the Unites States.

From 1944 to 1971, the first President elect, William Tubman put great effort into bridging the political, economic, and social gaps between descendants of original settlers and inhabitants of the interior, as well as in promoting of foreign investments. In 1980, a military coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe ousting and publicly executing President William Tolbert and 13 of his aides and ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. Internal unrest overcame the country as repression grew, and by December 1989, Charles Taylor launched a rebellion against Doe's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which countless thousands were killed, including Doe himself.

A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for elections that brought Taylor to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. In August 2003, a peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of Taylor, who was exiled to Nigeria. He is now on trial in The Hague. The country’s first post-conflict elections, held in 2005, were noteworthy for the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the presidency, as she was the first woman to be elected head of state in Africa. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the continent's first female president in 2005, after the end of a brutal 14-year conflict. She was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2011 for her efforts to secure peace, promote economic and social development and strengthen the position of women. Former football start George Weah secured a stunning run-off victory in December 2017 in the country's first democratic transfer of power.

Liberia has a wealth of natural resources. Prior to the civil war, it was among the leading producers of iron ore on the continent. Other minerals include diamonds, gold, lead, manganese, graphite, cyanite (a silicate of aluminum, with thin bladelike crystals), and barite. "During the civil war, iron production ground to a halt, and diamond exports were banned by the UN in 2001, in an effort to halt the traffic of “blood” or “conflict” diamonds," according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Although, diamond trade was resumed with the removal of sanctions in 2007. Rubber accounts for the overwhelming majority of Liberian export earnings, followed by gold, diamonds, coffee, and cocoa. Agriculture is the leading sector of the economy. About half the land area is suitable for cultivation. Cultivation of cash crops such as coffee, cacao (grown for its seeds, cocoa beans); oil palm, sugarcane, and swamp rice has drastically increased.

The people of Liberia are classified into three major groups: the indigenous people, who are in the majority and who migrated from the western Sudan in the late Middle Ages; black immigrants from the United States (known historically as Americo-Liberians) and the West Indies; and other black immigrants from neighboring western African states who came during the anti-slave-trade campaign and European colonial rule. Liberia’s indigenous ethnic groups may be classified into three linguistic groups, all belonging to the Niger-Congo language family: the Mande, Kwa, and Mel. Prominent among the Mande are the Vai, who invented their own alphabet and who, in addition, use Arabic and English; the Kpelle, the largest Mande group, who are also found in Guinea; Loma (also found in Guinea); Ngbandi; Dan (Gio); Mano; Mende; and Malinke. Kwa-speaking peoples include the Bassa, the largest group in this category and the largest ethnic group in Monrovia; the Kru and Grebo. The Mel group includes the Gola and Kisi, who are also found in Sierra Leone and are known to be the oldest inhabitants of Liberia.

Cuisine in Liberia and its culture are adapted from African American culture, especially foods from the American South (Southern food), interwoven with traditional West African foods. Popular dishes include: Torborgee (spicy stew made from Torborgee beans with fish or meat); Fufu (a doughy food that accompanies most meals) can be made from rice, plantain, cassava, corn, or yam); Kanya (ground peanuts mixed with toasted rice flour and sugar); Palava; Jollof Rice; Sweet Potato Pone; Lemon Grass Tea.

A variety of musical genres exist within the many cultures of West Africa. People play many different musical instruments -- drums, cowbells, shakers, string or wind instruments. This recording focuses on four basic musical genres found in Liberia -- traditional music, Liberian songs, Christian songs, and popular Highlife music. There is a growing popularity of Hip Co, a musical movement. Hip Co evolved in the 1980s and became a megaphone for voicing social and political concerns. "Highlife," one of the much popular music in West Africa, emerged in the late 1950's. It combines Western and African instruments, Latin American dance rhythms, and traditional West African melodies and lyrics to create a unique new sound. Although there is some dispute as to its exact origins, most people agree that Highlife music originated from the use of traditional songs of West African coastal peoples of Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia (particularly the Kru). Like many aspects of its very rich tapestry, Liberia today is blessed with many gifted and talented musicians.


Landmarks and major tourist sites in Liberia include:

  • Liberian National Museum (Monrovia)

  • Kpatawee Waterfall

  • Mount Nimba

  • Providence Island (Monrovia)

  • National Park Sapo (The largest park in the country and the second largest in West Africa)

  • National park Lofa-Mano

  • Ce Ce Beach (Monrovia)

  • Centennial Pavilion (Monrovia)

  • Lake Piso (Robertsport)

  • The Oasis Spa (Monrovia)

  • Wulki farms (Monrovia)

  • Sacred Heart Cathedral (Monrovia)

  • Matadi Central Mosque (Monrovia).

 
MALI

 

Known as "The Jewel of West Africa's Crown," Mali is a landlocked country located in West Africa, bounded on the north by Algeria, on the east by Niger and Burkina Faso, on the south by Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, and on the west by Senegal and Mauritania. Mali is the eighth-largest country on the continent. The area that is now Mali was once part of the three great precolonial Sudanic empires: Ghana Empire, Mali Empire, and Songhai Empire. Mali Empire dated from c. 1230 to 1670. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers. The empire began as a small Mandinka kingdom. During the 11th and 12th centuries it began to develop as an empire following the decline of the Ghana Empire to the north. During this period, trade routes shifted southward to the savanna, stimulating the growth of states. For centuries, caravans crossed the Sahara desert from North Africa while others came from the forest regions to the south, meeting at the crossroads of Timbuktu. Timbuktu was a major trading and learning center.

 

Mali has a wealth of natural resources such as gold, cotton and salt. Mali is the third largest gold producer on the continent, and gold and cotton counts for the most of the country’s exports. Many other mineral deposits such limestone, Bauxite deposits, Manganese and phosphate deposits. Iron is the most widespread, with deposits found in the west near the Senegal and Guinea borders. Lithium and uranium deposits have been also discovered. There are also small quantities of tungsten, tin, lead, copper, and zinc.

 

Upon gaining independence from France on June 200th 1960 Mali suffered from droughts, rebellions, a coup ad twenty-three years of military dictatorship under Moussa Traoré until democratic election in 1992 according to the BBC. In 1992, Alpha Oumar Konaré won Mali's first democratic, multi-party presidential election, before being re-elected for a second term in 1997, which was the last allowed under the constitution. In 2002 Amadou Toumani Touré, a retired general who had been the leader of the military aspect of the 1991 democratic uprising, was elected.[32] During this democratic period Mali was regarded as one of the most politically and socially stable countries in Africa. The current president is Ibrahim Boubaccar Keita who took office in 2013.

 

There are over forty languages spoken in Mali and the Bambara, Soninké, Khassonké, and Malinké (also called Mandinka), all part of the broader Mandé group, collectively constitute 50 percent of Mali's population. Other significant groups are the Fulani 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, and Tuareg and Moor 10%. In Mali as well as Niger, the Moors are also known as Azawagh Arabs, named after the Azawagh region of the Sahara. In the far north, there is a division between Berber-descendent Tuareg nomad populations and the darker-skinned Bella or Tamasheq people, due to the historical spread of slavery in the region. The official language is French, although maority of the population can communicate in Bambara, serving as an important lingua franca.

  • Major landmarks and tourist sites include: Bandiagara Cliffs (Dogon Country) (Mopti)

  • Fort de Medine (Kayes Region)

  • Tomb of Askia (Gao)

  • La Dune Rose (Gao), National Museum of Mali

  • National park of Mali

  • Monument de l"Independance (Bamako)

  • Gouina Falls

  • Bamako city center

  • market (Bamako, the capital)

  • Djinguereber Mosque (Timbuktu)

  • Mosque of Sankore (Timbuktu)

  • Great Mosque Of Djenne (Djenne)

  • Cathedral of Bamako (Bamako).

Malian cuisine includes rice and millet as staples of Mali, a food culture heavily based on cereal grain. Dishes such as, Fufu, Jollof rice, and Peanut Butter Sauce, Capitaine Sangha, Gumbo, Saga Saga.

Mali's music has always claim international status popularized by one of the great voices that have come out of the continent - Salif Keita. Literary tradition is passed mainly by word of mouth, with jalis reciting or singing histories and stories known by heart. Amadou Hampâté Bâ, Mali's best-known historian, spent much of his life writing these oral traditions down for the world to remember. The best-known novel by a Malian writer is Yambo Ouologuem's Le devoir de violence, which won the 1968 Prix Renaudot. Other well-known Malian writers include Baba Traoré, Modibo Sounkalo Keita, Massa Makan Diabaté, Moussa Konaté, and Fily Dabo Sissoko.

UNESCO Heritage sites in Mali includes:

1. Timbuktu

Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century.

2. Tomb of Askia

The Tomb of Askia, in Gao, Mali, is believed to be the burial place of Askia Mohammad I, one of the Songhai Empire's most prolific emperors. UNESCO describes the tomb as a fine example of the monumental mud-building traditions of the West African Sahel. The complex includes the pyramidal tomb, two mosques, a cemetery and an assembly ground.

3. Old Towns of Djenné

Inhabited since 250 BCE, the city was an important link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. It contains 2,000 traditional houses.

4. Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons)

The sandy plateau and cliffs of Bandiagara outline the site, featuring houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries, and Togu-Na meeting-places. Age-old social traditions such as masks, feasts, rituals, and ancestral worship also add to its cultural significance.

 
MAURITANIA

Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwestern Africa., bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara in the north, Algeria in the northeast, Mali in the east and southeast, and Senegal in the southwest. It is the eleventh largest country on the continent. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast, which is home to around one-third of the country's 4.3 million population. Precolonial Mauritania was the cradle of the Almoravid movement that spread Islam in the region and also controlled the Islamic part of Spain for decades. The Almoravid dynasty (Berber: Imṛabḍen, Arabic: Al-Murābiṭūn) was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco. It established an empire in the 11th century that stretched over the western Maghreb and Al-Andalus. Founded by Abdallah ibn Yasin, a theologian.

 

Mauritania became independent from France      on November 28 1960. In 1964 the first President Moktar Ould Daddah, originally installed by the French, formalized Mauritania as a one-party state with a new constitution, setting up an authoritarian presidential regime. As a result of his authoritarian regime, he was ousted in a bloodless coup on July 10 1978. He had brought the country to near-collapse through a disastrous war to annex the southern part of Western Sahara, framed as an attempt to create a "Greater Mauritania." A civilian government established in December 1980 was replaced the following April by a largely military administration. In 1991 a new constitution established a multiparty system and a new bicameral legislative structure. Additional coups took place in 2005 and 2008, each followed by elections. Constitutional amendments to the 1991 constitution, put forth in 2006, included a new legislative body, an adjustment of the presidential term, and an age limit of 75 for presidential candidates. Following the 2008 coup, the military leadership announced that the 1991 constitution, augmented by a supplemental charter, would remain in place according to Encyclopedia Britannica. The current president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz Assumed office on August 5th 2009.

Mauritania is rich in natural resources and currently holds the title as the 18th largest oil producer in Africa and 95th largest producer of oil in the world. Oil was discovered in Mauritania at the Chinguetti Oil field in 2001. Oil production started in February 2006, and Mauritania now produces about 6000 barrels of oil a day. Mauritania’s crude oil reserves are estimated at around 600 million BPD, and the oil sector is expected to contribute to the economy of Mauritania, which the mining industry accounts for around 25% of GDP. Approximately half of Mauritania’s energy needs are fulfilled by hydroelectricity generated by installations on the Sénégal River. A power plant inaugurated in Nouakchott in 2003 is capable of supplying more than one-third of the power required by the capital. The country is also rich in mineral resources such as iron and ore, copper deposits of Akjoujt are extensive, substantial gypsum deposits, and Reserves of ilmenite (the principal ore of titanium) have been located.

The local population is divided into three main ethnic tiers: Bidhan, Haratin, and West Africans. The Bidhan or Moors represent around 30% of citizens. They speak Hassaniya Arabic and are primarily of Arab-Berber origin. The Haratin constitute roughly 40% of the population. They are descendants of former slaves, and also speak Arabic. The remaining 30% of the population largely consists of various ethnic groups of West African descent. Among these are the Niger-Congo-speaking Halpulaar (Fulbe), Soninke, Bambara and Wolof. The official language is Arabic, although, the predominant spoken languages are Hassaniya Arabic, Pulaar (Fula), Soninke, Wolof and French.

Notable landmarks and tourist sites include:

  • The Adrar (called the Jewel in Mauritania's crown)

  • Banc d'Arguin National Park

  • Port de Peche (Nouakchott the capital)

  • Reserve Satellite du Cap Blanc

  • Le Ksar al Kiali

  • National Museum

  •   Saudi mosque (Nouakchott)

  • Chinguetti Mosque (Chinguetti)

  • Centre culturel francais St Exupery (Nouakchott) Ancient Ksour of Ouadane

  • Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata, Ibn Abbas Mosque (Nouakchott).

Mauritania is home to a diversified dining scene with dishes influenced by several of its neighboring countries lie Senegal. Most traditional Mauritanian meals are served in communal fashion. Since everyone's eating from a communal dish (with their hands), hand washing is an important first step in sitting down to a meal. Thieboudiene (Cheb-u-jin) also call jolo rice, Yassa Poulet, Lebanese-style chawarma (pressed mutton slices), and Moroccan tajines and stews can be found in local establishments, Hakko, Mauritanian Sweet Tea, Mahfe (peanut soup).

Mauritania’s music scene has been most heavily influenced by the Moors—the country’s predominant ethnic group. The name of Mauritania’s professional musical caste is the iggawen, or griots.There is three different ways to play music in the Mauritanian tradition, according to Moorish culture: the white way, the black way, and the mixed or “spotted” way. The white way, or Al-bayda, represents a more delicate and refined sound, and comes from the Moors of North Africa. Al-kahla, or the black way, is generally more masculine and roots, and comes from the Moors of the sub-Saharan region. The mixed or “spotted” way, l’-gnaydiya, falls somewhere in between. All music is based on this sophisticated and rather rigid modal system derived from Arab musical theory. Dimi Mint Abba, who passed away in June 2011, was one of the first singers to tour the English-speaking world throughout the mid-1980s.

UNESCO Heritage sites in Mauritania includes:

1. Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata

Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries to serve the caravans crossing the Sahara, these trading and religious centres became focal points of Islamic culture. They illustrate a traditional way of life centred on the nomadic culture of the people of the western Sahara.

2. Banc d'Arguin National Park

The park consists of sand dunes, coastal swamps, small islands, and shallow bodies of water; all bordering the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Birds are often found to migrate in the area, accompanied by various species of sea turtles and dolphins, whose presence fishermen often use to attract fish.

NIGERIA

 

Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa," due to its large population and economy. Located on the West coast of the continent, bordering Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. It comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located. Lagos, the former capital, retains its standing as the country’s leading commercial and industrial city. Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country. With approximately 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. The country also has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million children under age 18.

Nigeria has been home to a number of kingdoms and tribal states over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became an independent federation on October 1st. 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until 1999, with Major-General Muhammadu Buhari seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1983. His regime was overthrown by another military coup in 1985. Umaru Yar'Adua of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) came into power in the general election of 2007 beating Olusegun Obasanjo, the former military head of state. Yar'Adua died on 5 May 2010. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Yar'Adua's replacement on 6 May 2010. The 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair when Goodluck Jonathan won. In the March 2015 election, Muhammadu Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan, the first opposition candidate to do so. Observers generally praised the election as being fair. Jonathan was generally praised for conceding defeat and limiting the risk of unrest. One high profile incident in 2014 was the kidnapping of two hundred school girls by Boo Haram.

Resource extraction is the most important and the fastest-growing sector of the economy, reflecting the rise to prominence of crude oil output.

Nigeria is biggest oil producer on the continent and the 13th largest producer in the world with daily production reaching about 1.9 million barrels. Nigeria also has the second largest proven oil reserves and the 10th largest in the world.  The petroleum industry remains dominant, and crude petroleum continues to account for virtually all export earnings. The most economically valuable minerals are crude oil, natural gas, coal, tin, and columbite (an iron-bearing mineral that accompanies tin). Petroleum, first discovered in 1956, is the most important source of government revenue and foreign exchange—its share of the gross domestic product rose from virtually nothing in the 1950s to about two-fifths in the late 1990s. Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market, and has already reached lower middle income status according to the World Bank, with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in the continent. Nigeria also has a thriving movie industry - Nollywood, emerging as a cultural phenomenon across the continent and around the world.

 

Notable landmarks and tourist attraction sites includes:

  • Freedom Park Lagos (Lagos)

  • Olumo Rock (Abeokuta)

  • Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove (Osogbo)

  • Anglican Church of Nigeria (Abuja)

  • Synagogue Church Of all Nations (Lagos)

  • Kajuru Castle (Kaduna)

  • Bower's Tower (Ibadan)

  • Obudu Mountain Resort (Obudu)

  • Emir's Palace (Kano)

  • Dala Hill (Kano)

  • Oduduwa Shrine and Grove (Ile-Ife)

  • Iga Idungaran (Lagos)

  • An Noor Mosque (Abuja)

  • Central Mosque of Lagos (Lagos)

  • Abuja National Mosque (Abuja)

  • The Cathedral Church of Christ (Lagos).

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. The country's official language is English.

The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Famous artists includes: P-Square, YCee, WizKid, Runtown, Seyi Shay, Niniola to name a few.

 

Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise Nigeria.

  • Coconut rice is rice made with coconut milk.

  • Jollof rice is made with tomato and pepper base

  • Fried rice is typically mixed with an assortment of eggs, vegetables, and meat, poultry or prawns.

  • Bean and plantain pottage

  • Akara

  • Suya

  • Efori

  • Banga

  • Chin chin

  • Ogbono or apon

  • Edikangikong

  • Moin moin

UNESCO Heritage sites in Nigeria includes:

1. Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove

The dense forests are one of the final remnants of high forests in southern Nigeria. It is the last sacred grove of the Yoruba culture

 

2. Sukur Cultural Landscape

The site features the Palace of the Hidi, terraced fields, and the remains of a former iron industry.

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