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These various ethnic groups never considered themselves part of the same culture.
This general lack of Nigerian nationalism coupled with an ever-changing and often ethnically biased national leadership, have led to severe internal ethnic conflicts and a civil war.
Prior to their conquest by Europeans, these ethnic groups had separate and independent histories.
Their grouping together into a single entity known as Nigeria was a construct of their British colonizers.
The three largest and most dominant ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo (pronounced ee-bo).
Other smaller groups include the Fulani, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Edo.
The nation's capital was moved from Lagos, the country's largest city, to Abuja on 12 December 1991.
Abuja is in a federal territory that is not part of any state.
Living among creeks, lagoons, and salt marshes makes fishing and the salt trade part of everyday life in the area.
The Niger and Benue Rivers come together in the center of the country, creating a "Y" that splits Nigeria into three separate sections.
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Though there is archaeological evidence that societies have been living in Nigeria for more than twenty-five hundred years, the borders of modern Nigeria were not created until the British consolidated their colonial power over the area in 1914.
While Abuja is the official capital, its lack of adequate infrastructure means that Lagos remains the financial, commercial, and diplomatic center of the country. Nigeria has the largest population of any African country.