Léon-Gontran Damas was a French poet and politician. He was one of the founders of the Négritude movement, he used the pseudonym Lionel Georges André Cabassou. Léon Damas was born in Cayenne, French Guiana, to Ernest Damas, a mulatto of European and African descent, Bathilde Damas, a Métisse of Native American and African ancestry. In 1924, Damas was sent to Martinique to attend the Lycée Victor Schoelcher, where he would meet his lifelong friend and collaborator Aimé Césaire. In 1929, Damas moved to Paris to continue his studies. There, he was introduced to Leopold Senghor. In 1935, the three young men published the first issue of the literary review L'Étudiant Noir, which provided the foundation for what is now known as the Négritude Movement, a literary and ideological movement of French-speaking black intellectuals that rejects the political and moral domination of the West. In 1937, Damas published his first volume of Pigments, he enlisted in the French Army during World War II, was elected to the French National Assembly as a deputy from Guiana.
In the following years, Damas traveled and lectured in Africa, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. He served as the contributing editor of Présence Africaine, one of the most respected journals of Black studies, as senior adviser and UNESCO delegate for the Society of African Culture. In 1970, Damas moved to Washington, D. C. where he taught at Georgetown University and became a professor at Howard University, where he wrote his last collection of poems, Mine de Rien. Damas remained at Howard University until his death in January 1978, he was buried in French Guiana. Pigments. Paris: Guy Lévis Mano. Paris: Présence Africaine. Poèmes nègres. Paris: Guy Lévis Mano. Graffiti. Paris: Seghers. Black-Label. Paris: Gallimard. Névralgies. Paris: Présence Africaine. Mine de Rien. Collection of 36 poems. Washington, DC, quoted in Christian Filostrat, Negritude Agonistes, Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9818939-2-1 La Poésie de Léon G. Damas. Retour de Guyane. Paris: José Corti.
Poètes d’expression française. Paris: Seuil. Poèmes Nègres sur des airs africains. Paris: G. L. M. Éditeurs. Veillées noires, Contes Nègres de Guyane. Paris: Stock, 1943. Montréal: Leméac. Poésie de la Negritude: Léon Damas Reads Selected Poems from Pigments, Black Label, Nevralgies Négritude Biography, by Rochelle M. Smith, Postcolonial Studies website, English Department, Emory University. 2001. Poésie de la Negritude - Album Details on Folkways. Mine de Rien, unpublished poems by Leon Damas. L'ETUDIANT NOIR, JOURNAL MENSUEL DE L'ASSOCIATION DES ETUDIANTS MARTINIQUAIS EN FRANCE, PREMIERE ANNEE N.3 MAI-JUN 1935, http://letudiant-noir.webs.com/
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
University of Paris
The University of Paris, metonymically known as the Sorbonne, was a university in Paris, active 1150–1793, 1806–1970. Emerging around 1150 as a corporation associated with the cathedral school of Notre Dame de Paris, it was considered the second oldest university in Europe. Chartered in 1200 by King Philip II of France and recognised in 1215 by Pope Innocent III, it was often nicknamed after its theological College of Sorbonne, in turn founded by Robert de Sorbon and chartered by French King Saint Louis around 1257. Internationally reputed for its academic performance in the humanities since the Middle Ages – notably in theology and philosophy – it introduced several academic standards and traditions that have endured since and spread internationally, such as doctoral degrees and student nations. Vast numbers of popes, royalty and intellectuals were educated at the University of Paris. A few of the colleges of the time are still visible close to Pantheon and Luxembourg Gardens: Collège des Bernardins, Hotel de Cluny, College Sainte Barbe, College d'Harcourt, Cordeliers.
In 1793, during the French Revolution, the university was closed and by Item-27 of the Revolutionary Convention, the college endowments and buildings were sold. A new University of France replaced it in 1806 with four independent faculties: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Theology. In 1970, following the May 1968 events, the university was divided into 13 autonomous universities. Although all the thirteen universities that resulted of the original University of Paris split can be considered its inheritors, just three universities of the post-1968 universities embodied direct faculties successors while inheriting the name "Sorbonne", as well as its physical location in the Latin Quarter: the Pantheon-Sorbonne University. From 2010, University of Paris successors started to reorganise themselves into different groups of universities and institutions that were upgraded to "pôles de recherche et d'enseignement supérieur".
As a result, various university groups exist in the Paris area, among them Sorbonne Paris Cité, Sorbonne Universities, the University of Paris-Saclay, Paris Lumiéres, Paris-Seine, so on. In January 2018, two of the inheritors of the old University of Paris, Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University, merged into a single university called Sorbonne University. In 2019, two other inheritors of the University of Paris, namely Paris Diderot University and Paris Descartes University, are expected to merge. In 1150, the future University of Paris was a student-teacher corporation operating as an annex of the Notre-Dame cathedral school; the earliest historical reference to it is found in Matthew of Paris' reference to the studies of his own teacher and his acceptance into "the fellowship of the elect Masters" there in about 1170, it is known that Pope Innocent III completed his studies there in 1182 at the age of 21. The corporation was formally recognised as an "Universitas" in an edict by King Philippe-Auguste in 1200: in it, among other accommodations granted to future students, he allowed the corporation to operate under ecclesiastic law which would be governed by the elders of the Notre-Dame Cathedral school, assured all those completing courses there that they would be granted a diploma.
The university had four faculties: Arts, Medicine and Theology. The Faculty of Arts was the lowest in rank, but the largest, as students had to graduate there in order to be admitted to one of the higher faculties; the students were divided into four nationes according to language or regional origin: France, Normandy and England. The last came to be known as the Alemannian nation. Recruitment to each nation was wider than the names might imply: the English-German nation included students from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe; the faculty and nation system of the University of Paris became the model for all medieval universities. Under the governance of the Church, students wore robes and shaved the tops of their heads in tonsure, to signify they were under the protection of the church. Students followed the rules and laws of the Church and were not subject to the king's laws or courts; this presented problems for the city of Paris, as students ran wild, its official had to appeal to Church courts for justice.
Students were very young, entering the school at 13 or 14 years of age and staying for six to 12 years. Three schools were famous in Paris: the palatine or palace school, the school of Notre-Dame, that of Sainte-Geneviève Abbey; the decline of royalty brought about the decline of the first. The other two did not have much visibility in the early centuries; the glory of the palatine school doubtless eclipsed theirs, until it gave way to them. These two centres were much frequented and many of their masters were esteemed for their learning; the first renowned professor at the school of Ste-Geneviève was Hubold, who lived in the tenth century. Not content with the courses at Liège, he continued his studies at Paris, entered or allied himself with the chapter of Ste-Geneviève, attracted many pupils via his teaching. Distinguished professors from the school of Notre-Dame in the eleventh century incl
Maurice Thorez was a French politician and longtime leader of the French Communist Party from 1930 until his death. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of France from 1946 to 1947. Thorez, born in Noyelles-Godault, Pas-de-Calais, became a coal miner at the age of 12, he joined the French Section of the Workers' International in 1919 and was imprisoned several times for his political activism. After the 1920 split in the SFIO led to the formation of the French Communist Party, Thorez became party secretary in 1923 and, in 1930, secretary-general of the Party, a position he held until his death. In wake of his own struggle with Leon Trotsky, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin supported Thorez for PCF leadership following splits in many non-Soviet Communist parties; as the official leader, Thorez was secretly controlled by the Comintern and by the secretive Eugene Fried. In 1932 Thorez became the companion of Jeannette Vermeersch. Thorez was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1932 and reelected in 1936.
In 1934, following a Comintern directive, he helped form the Popular Front, an alliance between Communists and radical Socialists. The Front, because of strong popular support as France was reeling from the impact of the Great Depression, won the elections of 1936. With the support of the Communists under Thorez, the socialist Léon Blum became prime minister of a Popular Front government and managed to enact much of the Front's social-legislation programme. Meanwhile, Thorez presided over massive growth in the Communist Party, beginning with the elections of 1936. Following the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 and the subsequent Soviet participation in the invasion of Poland, the Communist Party was against the French war effort and so was outlawed: the Communist Party did not support what the Nazis stood for, but did support the Soviet Union's tactical treaty with Germany in order to direct German aggression away from the U. S. S. R. and toward Britain. Its publications were banned and many Party members were interned.
Thorez himself had his nationality revoked. Shortly thereafter, Thorez was drafted, but rather than fight the Germans, he deserted from the army to flee to the Soviet Union. Thorez was sentenced to death. Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, The French Communist Party declared it would violently resist the German occupation. During this time, articles written by and ghostwritten for Thorez appeared in the party's underground newspaper, Humanité Clandestine; each of these letters was signed'Maurice Thorez, Somewhere in France.' It was not until several years after the war that the party admitted that this was false, that Thorez had been in Moscow for the entire war. In his absence, the affairs of the Party and of the Party resistance movement in France were organised by his second in command, Jacques Duclos; when General Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces liberated France in 1944, Thorez received a pardon. After the Liberation, Thorez was ordered by Stalin to lead the PCF after the Second World War to a non-revolutionary road to power.
The instructions were to have the reluctant wartime Communist partisans to surrender their weapons, while the party became a powerful force in the postwar governments since it was thought that they would soon win legally. In November 1944, he returned to France from the Soviet Union, in 1945 his citizenship was restored; the PCF emerged from the Second World War as the largest political party in France based on its role in the anti-Nazi resistance movement during the occupation of France, at least after 1941. He tried to make a revolution, after strikes that he organised, in 1948 that failed only because the post-war army was for the democratic Fourth Republic. Thorez was again reelected throughout the Fourth Republic. Forming a popular front with the Socialist Party in the 1945 elections, he became vice premier of France from 1946 to 1947. During this time, the Communist members of the coalition government supported the French drive to renew colonial rule in Indochina, they were supported in this regard by Joseph Stalin.
By 1947 a combination of the emerging Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and growing social conflicts in France, linked to the increasing gap between wages and prices, put the three party union under heavy pressure. But the crisis came with the beginnings of the colonial war in Vietnam, with the communist deputies in the Assemblée nationale voting against the communist-participating government; that incident led Premier Paul Ramadier to dismiss his Communist ministers from the government on 7 May 1947. Contrary to a common legend, the firing of the communist ministers was not linked to U. S. pressure, as a condition for France to benefit from the coming Marshall Plan. But the parallel movements in Italy and Belgium show that Cold War resistance to Communism was rising all over Western Europe at that time; the Communists' refusal to continue support for the French colonial effort Vietnam on one hand and a wage-freeze during a period of hyperinflation on the other were the immediate triggers to the dismissal of Thorez and his colleagues from the ruling coalition in May 1947.
Although the Communists under Thorez's leadership continued to enjoy a dedicated following among a minority of the electorat
Hungarian Revolution of 1956
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, or the Hungarian Uprising, was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Leaderless when it first began, it was the first major threat to Soviet control since the Red Army drove Nazi Germany from its territory at the End of World War II in Europe; the revolt began as a student protest, which attracted thousands as they marched through central Budapest to the Hungarian Parliament building, calling out on the streets using a van with loudspeakers. A student delegation, entering the radio building to try to broadcast the students' demands, was detained; when the delegation's release was demanded by the protesters outside, they were fired upon from within the building by the State Security Police, known as the ÁVH. One student was wrapped in a flag and held above the crowd; this was the start of the revolution. As the news spread and violence erupted throughout the capital.
The revolt spread across Hungary, the government collapsed. Thousands organised into militias, battling the Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were executed or imprisoned, former political prisoners were released and armed. Radical impromptu workers' councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People's Party and demanded political changes. A new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had stopped, a sense of normality began to return. Appearing open to negotiating a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded other regions of the country; the Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter.
By January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions, while strengthening control over the Eastern Bloc, alienated many Western Marxists, leading to splits and/or considerable losses of membership for communist parties in capitalist states. Public discussion about the revolution was suppressed in Hungary for more than 30 years. Since the thaw of the 1980s, it has been a subject of intense debate. At the inauguration of the Third Hungarian Republic in 1989, 23 October was declared a national holiday. During World War II, Hungary was a member of the Axis powers, allied with the forces of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Bulgaria. In 1941, the Hungarian military participated in the occupation of Yugoslavia and the invasion of the Soviet Union; the Red Army was able to force back the Hungarian and other Axis invaders, by 1944 was advancing towards Hungary. Fearing invasion, the Hungarian government began armistice negotiations with the Allies.
These ended when Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the country and set up the pro-Axis Government of National Unity. Both Hungarian and German forces stationed in Hungary were subsequently defeated when the Soviet Union invaded the country in late 1944. Toward the end of World War II, the Soviet Army occupied Hungary, with the country coming under the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. After World War II, Hungary was a multiparty democracy, elections in 1945 produced a coalition government under Prime Minister Zoltán Tildy. However, the Hungarian Communist Party, a Marxist–Leninist group who shared the Soviet government's ideological beliefs wrested small concessions in a process named salami tactics, which sliced away the elected government's influence, despite the fact that it had received only 17% of the vote. After the elections of 1945, the portfolio of the Interior Ministry, which oversaw the Hungarian State Security Police, was transferred from the Independent Smallholders Party to a nominee of the Communist Party.
The ÁVH employed methods of intimidation, falsified accusations and torture to suppress political opposition. The brief period of multi-party democracy came to an end when the Communist Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Hungarian Working People's Party, which stood its candidate list unopposed in 1949; the People's Republic of Hungary was declared. The Hungarian Working People's Party set about to modify the economy into socialism by undertaking radical nationalization based on the Soviet model. Writers and journalists were the first to voice open criticism of the government and its policies, publishing critical articles in 1955. By 22 October 1956, Technical University students had resurrected the banned MEFESZ student union, staged a demonstration on 23 October that set off a chain of events leading directly to the revolution. Hungary became a communist state under the authoritarian leadership of Mátyás Rákosi. Under Rákosi's reign, the Security Police began a series of purges, first within the Communist Party to end opposition to Rákosi's reign.
The victims were labeled as "Titoists", "western agents", or "Trotskyists" for as insignificant a crime as spending time in the West to participate in the Spanish Civil War. In total, about half of all the middle and lower level party officials—at least 7,000 people—were purged. From 1950 to 1952, the Security Police forcibly relocated thousands of people to obtain property and housing for the Working People's Party members, to remove the threat of the intellectual
Frantz Fanon known as Ibrahim Frantz Fanon, was a French West Indian psychiatrist, philosopher and writer from the French colony of Martinique, whose works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory, Marxism. As well as being an intellectual, Fanon was a political radical, Pan-Africanist, Marxist humanist concerned with the psychopathology of colonization, the human and cultural consequences of decolonization. In the course of his work as a physician and psychiatrist, Fanon supported the Algerian War of Independence from France, was a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. For more than five decades, the life and works of Frantz Fanon have inspired national liberation movements and other radical political organizations in Palestine, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the United States. In What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction To His Life And Thought, leading African scholar and contemporary philosopher Lewis R. Gordon remarked that Fanon's contributions to the history of ideas are manifold.
He is influential not only because of the originality of his thought but because of the astuteness of his criticisms. He developed a profound social existential analysis of antiblack racism, which led him to identify conditions of skewed rationality and reason in contemporary discourses on the human being. Fanon published numerous books, including The Wretched of the Earth; this influential work focuses on what he believes is the necessary role of violence by activists in conducting decolonization struggles. Frantz Fanon was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, a French colony and is now a French single territorial collectivity, his father, Félix Casimir Fanon, was a descendant of African slaves and indentured Indians and worked as a customs agent. His mother, Eléanore Médélice, was of black Martinician and white Alsatian descent and worked as a shopkeeper. Fanon was the third of four sons in a family of eight children. Two of them died young, including his sister Gabrielle with whom Frantz was close.
Fanon's family was socio-economically middle-class. They could afford the fees for the Lycée Schoelcher the most prestigious high school in Martinique, where Fanon came to admire one of the school's teachers and writer Aimé Césaire. Fanon left Martinique in 1943. After France fell to the Nazis in 1940, Vichy French naval troops were blockaded on Martinique. Forced to remain on the island, French sailors took over the government from the Martiniquan people and established a collaborationist Vichy regime. In the face of economic distress and isolation under the blockade, they instituted an oppressive regime. Residents made many complaints of harassment and sexual misconduct by the sailors; the abuse of the Martiniquan people by the French Navy influenced Fanon, reinforcing his feelings of alienation and his disgust with colonial racism. At the age of seventeen, Fanon fled the island as a "dissident", traveling to British-controlled Dominica to join the Free French Forces, he joined an Allied convoy that reached Casablanca.
He was transferred to an army base at Béjaïa on the Kabylie coast of Algeria. Fanon served in France, notably in the battles of Alsace. In 1944 he received the Croix de guerre; when the Nazis were defeated and Allied forces crossed the Rhine into Germany along with photo journalists, Fanon's regiment was "bleached" of all non-white soldiers. Fanon and his fellow Afro-Caribbean soldiers were sent to Toulon, they were transferred to Normandy to await repatriation. During the war, Fanon was exposed to severe European racism towards black people. For example, white women liberated by black soldiers preferred to dance with fascist Italian prisoners, rather than fraternize with their liberators. In 1945, Fanon returned to Martinique, he lasted a short time there. He worked for the parliamentary campaign of his friend and mentor Aimé Césaire, who would be a major influence in his life. Césaire ran on the communist ticket as a parliamentary delegate from Martinique to the first National Assembly of the Fourth Republic.
Fanon stayed long enough to complete his baccalaureate and went to France, where he studied medicine and psychiatry. Fanon was educated in Lyon, where he studied literature and philosophy, sometimes attending Merleau-Ponty's lectures. During this period, he wrote three plays. After qualifying as a psychiatrist in 1951, Fanon did a residency in psychiatry at Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole under the radical Catalan psychiatrist François Tosquelles, he invigorated Fanon's thinking by emphasizing the role of culture in psychopathology. After his residency, Fanon practised psychiatry at Pontorson, near Mont Saint-Michel, for another year and in Algeria, he was chef de service at the Blida–Joinville Psychiatric Hospital in Algeria. He worked there until being deported in January 1957. In France while completing his residency, Fanon wrote and published his first book, Black Skin, White Masks, an analysis of the negative psychological effects of colonial subjugation upon black people; the manuscript was the doctoral dissertation, submitted at Lyon, entitled "Essay on the Disalienation of the Black", a response to the racism that Fanon received while studying psychiatry and medicine at university in Lyon.
For his doctor of philos
Nigeria the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean; the federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular country. Nigeria has been home to states over the millennia; the modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960, it experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. 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.
Nigeria is referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy. 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; the country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by 250 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa and Yoruba. The official language is English. Nigeria is divided in half between Christians, who live in the southern part of the country, Muslims, who live in the north. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities; as of 2015, Nigeria is the world's 20th largest economy, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. It overtook South Africa to become Africa's largest economy in 2014.
The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank. However, it has a "low" Human Development Index, ranking 152nd in the world. Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies, it is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and OPEC; the name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator; the origin of the name Niger, which applied only to the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism.
The Nok civilisation of Northern Nigeria flourished between 500 BC and AD 200, producing life-sized terracotta figures that are some of the earliest known sculptures in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem–Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa; the Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan. Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. In West Africa, the oldest bronzes made using the lost-wax process were from Igbo-Ukwu, a city under Nri influence; the Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively.
The oldest signs of human settlement at Ife's current site date back to the 9th century, its material culture includes terracotta and bronze figures. Oyo, at its territorial zenith in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, extended its influence from western Nigeria to modern-day Togo; the Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin's power lasted between the 19th centuries, their dominance reached further. At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire; the territory controlled by the resultant state included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria. For centuries, various peoples in modern-day Nigeria traded overland with traders from North Africa. Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western and northern Africa. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin significant, direct trade with peoples of modern-day Nigeria, at the port they named Lago