From the 1500s to the 1800s, many people from the land now called Nigeria (and other parts of West Africa) were taken away and turned into slaves by Europeans, and they were sent to work in the Americas. These slaves were bought and sold in the Americas by Europeans who lived there. Today, many people related to those slaves still live in America, though they are no longer slaves. They are called African-Americans.
From 1901 to 1960, the United Kingdom ruled Nigeria. However, by 1960 the people wanted independence very much, and Britain finally let them have it. For some time after this, Nigeria was a dictatorship, where the leaders stayed in control even if the majority of people disliked them. At this time, Nigeria had a big war called the Biafra War with Christian Igbo people who wanted their own country in the East. They did not want to be a part of Nigeria, which was ruled by a Muslim, and they wanted their own country called “Biafra”. They did not get their country, and hundreds of thousands of people were killed.
In 1999, Nigeria became a democracy, where people choose their leaders. After that, Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba Christian from the south, became President. In 2007, Umaru Yar’Adua, a Hausa Muslim, was elected to be the next President. Yar’Adua died in May, 2009. Goodluck Jonathan, the vice president, then became president.
Since 2002, there have been a battles in the north of the country. The battles are between government troops and the Islamist group Boko Haram. This group wants to have Sharia law for the country.