Independence Day (1 October 1960) is an official national holiday in Nigeria, celebrated on the first of October. It marks Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule on 1 October 1960.
The history of Nigeria can be traced to settlers trading across the middle East and Africa as early as 1100 BC. Numerous ancient African civilizations settled in the region that is known today as Nigeria, such as the Kingdom of Nri, the Benin Empire, and the Oyo Empire. Islam reached Nigeria through the Borno Empire between (1068 AD) and Hausa Statesaround (1385 AD) during the 11th century,while Christianity came to Nigeria in the 15th century through Augustinian and Capuchin monks from Portugal. The Songhai Empire also occupied part of the region.
The history of Nigeria has been crucially impacted by the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which started in Nigeria in the late 15th century. At first, Europeans captured people who lived along the coast. The first slave trading post used by the British and the Portuguese is Badagry , a coastal harbour. The chains where they tied up young and virile young people still stands today. Later, they used local brokers to provide them with slaves. This activity escalated conflicts among the different ethnic groups in the region and disrupted older trade patterns through the Trans-Saharan route.
Lagos was invaded by British forces in 1851 and formally annexed in 1865. Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901 while her colonization lasted until 1960, when an independence movement succeeded in gaining her independence. Nigeria first became a republic in 1963, but succumbed to military rule three years later after a bloody coup d’état. A separatist movement later formed the Republic of Biafra in 1967, leading to the three-year Nigerian Civil War. Nigeria became a republiconce again after a new constitution was written in 1979. However, the republic was short-lived, when the military seized power again for another four years. A new republic was planned to be established in 1993, but was aborted by General Sani Abacha. Abacha died in 1998 and a fourth republic was later established the following year, which ended three decades of intermittent military rule.