Timeline of Nigerian History
9000 BCE Late Stone Age evidence of indigenous habitation in Iwo Eleru rock shelter in southwestern Nigeria.
600 BCE Evidence of iron technology used by Nok civilization, near present day Abuja.
1000-1500 CE Foundation of centralized states such as Kanem, Borno, Benin, Ife, Oyo, and the Hausa city states
1100-1400 CE Introduction of Islam into savanna and Sahelian states of northern Nigeria
1804 Usman dan Fodio flees Gobir and then declares jihad against the Hausa rulers of Gobir. This war will eventually lead to the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate in northern Nigeria. The Caliphate spread Islam beyond the ruling classes to common people to a greater extent than had previously existed.
1807 British abolition of the slave trade. Although the trade in slaves continues from southern Nigerian ports for another forty years, trade in palm oil and other forms of “legitimate” commerce expand rapidly from this point.
1833 Final collapse of the Oyo empire, which marks the beginning of sixty years of instability and war among Yoruba states in the southwest.
1846 The Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionaries establish a mission in Abeokuta; from this point Christianity begins to spread rapidly in southern Nigeria for the first time. A new elite emerges in the south, educated in European mission schools and sharing many European cultural attributes.
1861 The British make Lagos a Crown Colony, the beginning of the British colonization of Nigeria.
1885 Establishment of the Oil Rivers Protectorate in southeastern Nigeria, renamed the Niger Coast Protectorate in 1893.
1886 Formation of the Royal Niger Company (RNC) which monopolizes trade in the Niger basin until the revocation of its charter in 1900. In the same year, a peace treaty is signed, ending the prolonged war among Yoruba-speaking peoples of the southwest.
1887 King Ja Ja of Opobo exiled to the West Indies for abrogation of Treaty of Protection which guaranteed the British free trade in his realm.
1892 British attack on the Ijebu
1893 Establishment by the British of a Protectorate over the Yoruba.
1894 Revolt of the people of Brass against the Royal Niger Company. In the same year, Nana, the Itsekiri governor of the river Benin, is deposed and deported for hindering British access to interior markets
1897 Name “Nigeria” officially adopted.
1898-1909 Ekumeku underground resistance movement fights against the RNC and British colonial rule.
1900 Creation of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria.
1902 The Aro Expedition begins as part of the British effort to “pacify” the hinterlands of eastern Nigeria.
1903 British forces conquer the Sokoto Caliphate and kill the Sultan
1908 Protests in Lagos against the water rate, fueled by the reporting of Nigerian journalists such as Herbert Macaulay, often dubbed the “father of Nigerian nationalism.” Macaulay and other journalists use newspapers to report on and critique the performance of the colonial government.
1914 Amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates.
1914-1918 Nigerian troops aid the British cause in the First World War
1920 Foundation of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA)
1923 Establishment of the Clifford Constitution allowing for elected representation for Nigerians in the governance of Nigeria for the first time. Aina Onabolu (1882-1963) fights the colonial administration to introduce art education into the secondary curriculum in Lagos. (See: Nigerian Lives: Aina Onabolu)
1925 Foundation of the West African Students’ Union (WASU)
1929 The “Women’s War”, or Aba Riots, a major protest against colonial taxation and British indirect rule in southeastern Nigeria.
1936 Foundation of the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) a political organization of young nationalists in the Lagos area
1944 Nnamdi Azikiwe founds the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (later Nigerian Citizens) which quickly becomes an influential political party pushing for independence for Nigeria from British colonial rule. In the same year Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti founds the Abeokuta Ladies’ Club, later renamed the Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU) to lobby against the injustices of colonial indirect rule.
1945 Nigerian labor unions organize a General Strike bringing work and business to a standstill. The strike precipitates important economic changes in the form of the first Ten Year Plan, adopted later the same year.
1948 Establishment of the first Nigerian university in Ibadan
To be continued