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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.Ten ethnic groups account for 80 percent of Nigeria's population.

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There were village groups, clans, emirates, states, kingdoms, and some empires.The Kanem-Bornu empire goes as far back as the tenth century.Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo, chief-of-staff of the armed forces in Muhammed's government became the new head of state.In 1978 Nigeria produced a new constitution similar to that of the United States.Gowon was overthrown in a bloodless military coup on July 29, 1975, when he was attending a summit meeting of the Organization of African Unity.

Brigadier General Murtala Ramat Muhammed became the leader of the government.The Oyo Empire, founded in the late fourteenth century by Oranmiyan, a Prince of Ile-Ife, had a powerful army and maintained diplomatic contact with other kingdoms in the area.The Fulani Empire was established in 1803 by the jihad, or holy war against the rulers of the Hausa states by Usman Dan Fodio; it went on to become one of the most powerful kingdoms.Intermarriages flourished among the various groups. One of the most prosperous trades even before the arrival of the Europeans was the slave trade.It was common practice in many African civilizations to sell war captives, delinquent children, and the handicapped; and Nigeria was no exception.Within two decades, parts of the Oyo Empire, Bornu, and Nupe were added by conquest to the Fulani Empire.