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The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.
Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.
Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under age 18.
It is also listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world.
Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan.Europeans traded goods with peoples at the coast; coastal trade with Europeans also marked the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade.The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) become one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country.