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Formal administration of any part of Nigeria goes back to 1861 when Lagos, a vital component of the lucrative palm oil trade, was ceded to the British Crown.

Nigeria enjoyed civilian rule for six years until January 15, 1966 when, in one of the bloodiest coups in Africa, the military took over the government of Tafawa Balewa, assassinated him and replaced him with General J. Later that month Ironsi was killed in a counter-coup, and replaced by General Yakubu Gowon.With the arrival of the Europeans, slavery became more lucrative.Intertribal wars were encouraged by the Europeans so that more captured slaves could be sent to the New World. When the mouth of the Niger River was discovered in 1830, the British heightened their economic expansion into the interior of the country.Ten ethnic groups account for 80 percent of Nigeria's population.English is the official language; however, Yoruba, Ibo, and Hausa represent the principal languages, joined by Kanuri, Fulani, Nupe, Tiv, Edo, Ijaw and Ibibio.In early 1967 the distribution of petroleum revenues between the government and the Eastern Region, where the majority of Ibos come from, sparked a conflict.

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