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Britain acquired what is now Nigeria as a result of this scramble for Africa.In 1914 the various protectorates were consolidated into one colony, the Protectorate of Nigeria. Under the leadership of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigerians began to ask for self-determination and increased participation in the governmental process on a regional level.On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent country, but this independence brought about a series of political crises.Nigeria enjoyed civilian rule for six years until January 15, 1966 when, in one of the bloodiest coups in Africa, the military took over the government of Tafawa Balewa, assassinated him and replaced him with General J. Later that month Ironsi was killed in a counter-coup, and replaced by General Yakubu Gowon.With the arrival of the Europeans, slavery became more lucrative.Intertribal wars were encouraged by the Europeans so that more captured slaves could be sent to the New World. When the mouth of the Niger River was discovered in 1830, the British heightened their economic expansion into the interior of the country.
The first Europeans to reach Nigeria were the Portuguese in the fifteenth century.
In 1553, the first English ships landed at the Bight of Benin, then known as the "Slave Coast." The present day Nigeria came into existence in 1914, when the Colony of Lagos, the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, and the protectorate of Northern Nigeria were amalgamated.
Even before the arrival of Europeans, the many nationalities or ethnic groups were highly organized and had law and order.
With an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometers), Nigeria's size approximately equals the combined areas of New Mexico, Arizona and California.
A coastal state on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Nigeria is bounded by Niger to the north, Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east and southeast, and Chad to the northeast.