African art describes the modern and historical paintings, sculptures and other visual culture from native or indigenous Africans and the African continent. The definition may include the art of the native African, African diasporas, such as African American and other American art. Despite this diversity, there are some unifying artistic themes when considering the totality of the visual culture from the continent of Africa. Masquerade, sculpture, fiber art, dance are important art forms across Africa and may be included in the study of African art; the term "African art" does not include the art of the North African areas along the Mediterranean coast, as such areas had long been part of different traditions. For more than a millennium, the art of such areas had formed part of Islamic art, although with many particular characteristics; the art of Ethiopia, with a long Christian tradition, is different from that of most of Africa, where traditional African religion was dominant until recently.
African art includes ancient art, Muslim art of North and West Africa, the Christian art of East Africa, the ritualistic art of these and other regions. Most African sculpture was in wood and other natural materials that have not survived from earlier than, at most, a few centuries ago. Masks are important elements in the art of many peoples, along with human figures highly stylized. There is a vast variety of styles varying within the same context of origin depending on the use of the object, but wide regional trends are apparent. Direct images of deities are infrequent, but masks in particular are or were made for religious ceremonies. Since the late 19th century there has been an increasing amount of African art in Western collections, the finest pieces of which are now prominently displayed. African mask art has had an important influence on European Modernist art, inspired by their lack of concern for naturalistic depiction. West African cultures developed bronze casting for reliefs, like the famous Benin Bronzes, to decorate palaces and for naturalistic royal heads from around the Bini town of Benin City, Edo State, in terracotta as well as metal, from the 12th–14th centuries.
Akan goldweights are a form of small metal sculptures produced over the period 1400–1900. Many West African figures are used in religious rituals and are coated with materials placed on them for ceremonial offerings; the Mande-speaking peoples of the same region make pieces from wood with broad, flat surfaces and arms and legs shaped like cylinders. In Central Africa, the main distinguishing characteristics include heart-shaped faces that are curved inward and display patterns of circles and dots. East Africans are known for Tinga Tinga paintings and Makonde sculptures. There is tradition of producing textile art; the culture from Great Zimbabwe left more impressive buildings than sculpture, but the eight soapstone Zimbabwe Birds appear to have had a special significance and were mounted on monoliths. Modern Zimbabwean sculptors in soapstone have achieved considerable international success. Southern Africa's oldest known clay figures date from 400 to 600 AD and have cylindrical heads with a mixture of human and animal features.
Artistic creativity or Expressive individualism: In Western African art in particular, there is a widespread emphasis on expressive individualism while being influenced by the work of predecessors. An example would be Dan artistry as well as its presence in the Western African diaspora. Emphasis on the human figure: The human figure has always been the primary subject matter for most African art, this emphasis influenced certain European traditions. For example, in the fifteenth century Portugal traded with the Sapi culture near Ivory Coast in West Africa, who created elaborate ivory saltcellars that were hybrids of African and European designs, most notably in the addition of the human figure; the human figure may symbolize the living or the dead, may reference chiefs, dancers, or various trades such as drummers or hunters, or may be an anthropomorphic representation of a god or have other votive function. Another common theme is the inter-morphosis of animal. Visual abstraction: African artworks tend to favor visual abstraction over naturalistic representation.
This is. The study of African art until focused on the traditional art of certain well-known groups on the continent, with a particular emphasis on traditional sculpture and other visual culture from non-Islamic West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa with a particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. However, there has been a movement among African art historians and other scholars to include the visual culture of other regions and time periods; the notion is that by including all African cultures and their visual culture over time in African art, there will be a greater understanding of the continent's visual aesthetics across time. The arts of the people of the African diaspora, in Brazil, the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, have begun to be included in the study of African art. African art takes many
Zimbabwe the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English and Ndebele the most used. Since the 11th century, present-day Zimbabwe has been the site of several organised states and kingdoms as well as a major route for migration and trade; the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes first demarcated the present territory during the 1890s. In 1965, the conservative white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia; the state endured a 15-year guerrilla war with black nationalist forces. Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it was suspended in 2002 for breaches of international law by its then-government, from which it withdrew in December 2003; the sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
It was once known as the "Jewel of Africa" for its prosperity under the former Rhodesian administration. Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, when his ZANU-PF party won the elections following the end of white minority rule. Under Mugabe's authoritarian regime, the state security apparatus dominated the country and was responsible for widespread human rights violations. Mugabe maintained the revolutionary socialist rhetoric of the Cold War era, blaming Zimbabwe's economic woes on conspiring Western capitalist countries. Contemporary African political leaders were reluctant to criticise Mugabe, burnished by his anti-imperialist credentials, though Archbishop Desmond Tutu called him "a cartoon figure of an archetypal African dictator"; the country has been in economic decline since the 1990s, experiencing several crashes and hyperinflation along the way. On 15 November 2017, in the wake of over a year of protests against his government as well as Zimbabwe's declining economy, Mugabe was placed under house arrest by the country's national army in a coup d'état.
On 19 November 2017, ZANU-PF sacked Robert Mugabe as party leader and appointed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his place. On 21 November 2017, Mugabe tendered his resignation prior to impeachment proceedings being completed. On 30 July 2018 Zimbabwe held its general elections, won by the ZANU-PF party led by Emmerson Mnangagwa. Nelson Chamisa, leading the main opposition party MDC Alliance contested the election results and filed a petition to the Constitution Court of Zimbabwe; the court confirmed Mnangagwa's victory. The name "Zimbabwe" stems from a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, an ancient ruined city in the country's south-east whose remains are now a protected site. Two different theories address the origin of the word. Many sources hold that "Zimbabwe" derives from dzimba-dza-mabwe, translated from the Karanga dialect of Shona as "houses of stones"; the Karanga-speaking Shona people live around Great Zimbabwe in the modern-day province of Masvingo. Archaeologist Peter Garlake claims that "Zimbabwe" represents a contracted form of dzimba-hwe, which means "venerated houses" in the Zezuru dialect of Shona and references chiefs' houses or graves.
Zimbabwe was known as Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe Rhodesia. The first recorded use of "Zimbabwe" as a term of national reference dates from 1960 as a coinage by the black nationalist Michael Mawema, whose Zimbabwe National Party became the first to use the name in 1961; the term "Rhodesia"—derived from the surname of Cecil Rhodes, the primary instigator of British colonisation of the territory during the late 19th century—was perceived by African nationalists as inappropriate because of its colonial origin and connotations. According to Mawema, black nationalists held a meeting in 1960 to choose an alternative name for the country, proposing names such as "Matshobana" and "Monomotapa" before his suggestion, "Zimbabwe", prevailed. A further alternative, put forward by nationalists in Matabeleland, had been "Matopos", referring to the Matopos Hills to the south of Bulawayo, it was unclear how the chosen term was to be used—a letter written by Mawema in 1961 refers to "Zimbabweland" — but "Zimbabwe" was sufficiently established by 1962 to become the preferred term of the black nationalist movement.
In a 2001 interview, black nationalist Edson Zvobgo recalled that Mawema mentioned the name during a political rally, "and it caught hold, and, that". The black nationalist factions subsequently used the name during the Second Chimurenga campaigns against the Rhodesian government during the Rhodesian Bush War of 1964–1979. Major factions in this camp included the Zimbabwe African National Union, the Zimbabwe African People's Union. Archaeological records date human settlement of present-day Zimbabwe to at least 100,000 years ago; the earliest known inhabitants were San people, who left behind arrowheads and cave paintings. The first Bantu-speaking farmers arrived during the Bantu expansion around 2000 years ago. Societies speaking proto-Shona languages fir
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from palaeontology, the study of fossil remains, it is important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research, it draws upon anthropology, art history, ethnology, geology, literary history, semiology, textual criticism, information sciences, statistics, paleography, paleontology and paleobotany. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, opposition to the excavation of human remains.
The science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.
One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, he was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of, covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79; these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington. He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798.
Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy; the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s, his approach was methodical by the standards of the time, he is regarded as the first scientific archaeologist.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, within types by date or "chronologically"
Ife is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. The city is located in present day Osun State. Ife is about 218 kilometers northeast of Lagos with a population of 509,813. According to the Yoruba religion Ife was founded by the order of the Supreme God Olodumare to Obatala and fell into the hands of his brother Oduduwa, which created turmoil between the two. Oduduwa created his own dynasty through his sons and daughters that became different rulers of many kingdoms; the first Oòni of Ife is a descendant of Oduduwa, the 401st Orisha. The present ruler since 2015 is Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife, a Nigerian accountant. Named as the city of 401 deities Ife is home to many worshipers of these deities which are celebrated through festivals. Along with the culture of Ife, their beliefs extend along the concept of the Ase, which help make art of the Kings and Gods. Ilé-Ifè is famous worldwide for its ancient and naturalistic bronze and terracotta sculptures, dating back to between 1200 and 1400 A.
D. According to Yoruba religion, the Supreme God, ordered Obatala to create the earth, but on his way he found palm wine which he drank and became intoxicated. Therefore, the younger brother of the latter, took the three items of creation from him, climbed down from the heavens on a chain and threw a handful of earth on the primordial ocean put a cockerel on it so that it would scatter the earth, thus creating the land on which Ile Ife would be built. Oduduwa planted a palm nut in a hole in the newly formed land and from there sprang a great tree with sixteen branches, a symbolic representation of the clans of the early Ife city-state; the usurpation of creation, by Oduduwa, gave rise to the ever-lasting conflict between him and his elder brother Obatala, still re-enacted in the modern era by the cult groups of the two clans during the Itapa New Year festival. On account of his creation of the world, Oduduwa became the ancestor of the first divine king of the Yoruba, while Obatala is believed to have created the first Yoruba people out of clay.
The meaning of the word "ife" in Yoruba is "expansion". Oduduwa had sons, a grandson, who went on to found their own kingdoms and empires, namely Ila Orangun, Ketu, Sabe and Oyo. Oranmiyan, Oduduwa's last born, was one of his father's principal ministers and overseer of the nascent Edo empire after Oduduwa granted the plea of the Edo people for his governance; when Oranmiyan decided to go back to Ile Ife, after a period of service in Benin, he left behind a child named Eweka that he had in the interim with an indigenous princess. The young boy went on to become the first legitimate ruler of the second Edo dynasty that has ruled what is now Benin from that day to this. Oranmiyan went on to found the Oyo Empire that stretched at its height from the western banks of the river Niger to the Eastern banks of the river Volta, it would serve as one of the most powerful of Africa's medieval states, prior to its collapse in the 19th century. The Oòni of Ife is a descendant of the godking Oduduwa, is counted first among the Yoruba kings.
He is traditionally considered the only one that speaks. In fact, the royal dynasty of Ife traces its origin back to the founding of the city more than ten thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ; the present ruler is Adeyeye Ogunwusi, styled His Imperial Majesty by his subjects. The Ooni ascended his throne in 2015. Following the formation of the Yoruba Orisha Congress in 1986, the Ooni acquired an international status the likes of which the holders of his title hadn't had since the city's colonisation by the British. Nationally he had always been prominent amongst the Federal Republic of Nigeria's company of royal Obas, being regarded as the chief priest and custodian of the holy city of all the Yorubas. In former times, the palace of the Ooni of Ife was a structure built of authentic enameled bricks, decorated with artistic porcelain tiles and all sorts of ornaments. At present, it is a more modern series of buildings; the current Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife, is a Nigerian accountant and the 51st Ooni of Ife.
He succeeded the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who had died on July 28, 2015. Ife is well known as the city of 401 deities, it is said that every day of the year the traditional worshippers celebrate a festival of one of these deities. The festivals extend over more than one day and they involve both priestly activities in the palace and theatrical dramatisations in the rest of the kingdom; the King only appeared in public during the annual Olojo festival. Kings and Gods were depicted with large heads because the artists believed that the Ase was held in the head, the Ase being the inner power and energy of a person. Both historic figures of Ife and the offices associated with them are represented. One of the best documented among this is the early king Obalufon II, said to have invented bronze casting and is honored in the form of a naturalistic copper life-size mask; the city was a settlement of substantial size between the 12th and 14th centuries, with houses featuring potsherd pavements. Ilé-Ifè is known worldwide for its ancient and naturalistic bronze and terracotta sculptures, which reached their peak of artistic expression between 1200 and 1400 A.
D. In the period around 1300 C. E. the artists at Ife developed a refined and naturalistic sculptural tradition in terracotta and copper alloy - coppe
The Shona are a Bantu ethnic group native to Zimbabwe and neighboring countries. The people are divided into five major clans and adjacent to other groups of similar culture and languages; this name came into effect in the 19th century due to their skill of disappearing and hiding in caves when attacked. Hence Mzilikazi the great king called them amaShona meaning "those who just disappear." When the white settlers came to Mashonaland, they banned the Shona people from staying near caves and kopjes because of their hiding habits. This explanation is. There are various interpretations whom to subsume to the Shona proper and whom only to the Shona family; the Shona people are divided into various tribes in the east regions of Zimbabwe. It is important not to mistake the Bukalanga tribe of Matabeleland as these are a distinct clan of the Lozwi-Moyo Empire. Ethnologue notes that the language of the Bukalanga is mutually intelligible with the main dialects of the Eastern Shona as well as other Bantu languages in central and east of Africa, but counts them separately.
Sure members:Karanga or Southern Shona Duma Njiva Jena Mhari Ngova Nyubi Govera Rozvi, sharing the Karanga dialect Zezuru or Central Shona Budya Gova Tande Tavara Nyongwe Pfunde Shan Gwe Korekore or Northern Shona Shawasha Gova Mbire Tsunga Kachikwakwa Harava Nohwe Njanja Nobvu Kwazwimba narrow Shona Toko Hwesa Members or close relatives: Manyika in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In Desmond Dale's basic Shona dictionary special vocabulary of Manyika dialect is included. Kalanga, in South-Western Zimbabwe, rather integrated in the Nguni culture, therefore little identification with the other Shona and Botswana: Dhalaunda/Batalaote Lilima Baperi Banyai, speaking Nambya in Zimbabwe and Botswana, sometimes subsumed to the Western Shona Ndau in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, their language is only intelligible with the main Shona dialects and comprises some click sounds that do not occur in standard ChiShona. When the term Shona was invented during the Mfecane in late 19th century by the Ndebele king Mzilikazi, it was a pejorative for non-Nguni people.
On one hand, it is claimed that there was no consciousness of a common identity among the tribes and peoples now forming the Shona of today. On the other hand, the Shona people of Zimbabwe highland always had in common a vivid memory of the ancient kingdoms identified with the Monomotapa state; the terms "Karanga"/"Kalanga"/"Kalaka", now the names of special groups, seem to have been used for all Shona before the Mfecane. Dialect groups are important in Shona. Although'standard' Shona is spoken throughout Zimbabwe, the dialects not only help to identify which town or village a person is from but the ethnic group with which the person identifies; each Shona dialect is specific to a certain ethnic group, i.e. if one speaks the Manyika dialect, they are from the Manyika group/tribe and observe certain customs and norms specific to their group. As such, if one is Zezuru, they speak the Zezuru dialect and observe those customs and beliefs that are specific to them. In 1931, during the process of trying to reconcile the dialects into the single standard Shona, Professor Clement Doke identified six groups, each with subdivisions: The Korekore or Northern Shona, including Taυara, Korekore proper, Goυa, the Korekore of Urungwe, the Korekore of Sipolilo, Nyongwe of "Darwin", Pfungwe of Mrewa.
The influx of immigrants, into the country from bordering countries, has contributed to the variety. There are more than ten million people who speak a range of related dialects whose standardized form is known as Shona; the Shona are traditionally agricultural. Their crops were sorghum, beans, African groundnuts, not before the 16th century, pumpkins. Sorghum and maize are used to prepare the main dish, a thickened porridge called sadza, the traditional beer, called hwahwa; the Shona keep cattle and goats, in history as transhumant herders. The livestock had a special importance as a food reserve in times of drought; the precolonial Shona states received a great deal of their revenues from the export of mining products gold and copper. In their traditional homes, called musha, they had separate round huts for the special functions, such as kitchen and lounging around a yard cleared from ground vegetation; the Shona are known for the high quality of their stone sculptures. Traditional pottery is of a high level.
Traditional textile production was expensive and of high quality. People preferred to wear skins or imp
History of art
The history of art focuses on objects made by humans in visual form for aesthetic purposes. Visual art can be classified such as separating fine arts from applied arts. In recent years, technological advances have led to video art, computer art, Performance art, animation and videogames; the history of art is told as a chronology of masterpieces created during each civilization. It can thus be framed as a story of high culture, epitomized by the Wonders of the World. On the other hand, vernacular art expressions can be integrated into art historical narratives, referred to as folk arts or craft; the more that an art historian engages with these latter forms of low culture, the more it is that they will identify their work as examining visual culture or material culture, or as contributing to fields related to art history, such as anthropology or archaeology. In the latter cases art objects may be referred to as archeological artifacts; the oldest human art, found dates to the Stone Age, when the first creative works were made from shell and paint.
During the Paleolithic, humans practiced hunting and gathering and lived in caves, where cave painting was developed. During the Neolithic period, the production of handicrafts commenced; the earliest human artifacts showing evidence of workmanship with an artistic purpose are the subject of some debate. It is clear that such workmanship existed by 40,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic era, although it is quite possible that it began earlier. Engraved shells created by homo erectus dating as far back as 500,000 years ago have been found, although experts disagree on whether these engravings can be properly classified as ‘art’; the Paleolithic had its first artistic manifestation in 25,000 BCE, reaching its peak in the Magdalenian period. Surviving art from this period includes small carvings in stone or bone and cave painting; the first traces of human-made objects appeared in southern Africa, the Western Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, Siberia and Australia. These first traces are worked stone, wood or bone tools.
To paint in red, iron oxide was used. Cave paintings have been found in the Franco-Cantabrian region. There are pictures as well as pictures that are naturalistic. Animals were painted in the caves of Altamira, Trois Frères and Lascaux. Sculpture is represented by the so-called Venus figurines, feminine figures which may have been used in fertility cults, such as the Venus of Willendorf. There is a theory. Other representative works of this period are the Venus of Brassempouy. In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Neolithic; the term Epipaleolithic is used synonymously for outside northern Europe, for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus. The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia, it refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and West Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans 15,000 to 5,000 BP, in Southwest Asia 20,000 to 8,000 BP; the term is less used of areas further east, not all beyond Eurasia and North Africa.
The Neolithic period began in about 8,000 BCE. The rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin—dated between the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras—contained small, schematic paintings of human figures, with notable examples in El Cogul, Valltorta and Minateda. Neolithic painting is similar to paintings found in northern Africa and in the area of modern Zimbabwe. Neolithic painting is schematic, made with basic strokes. There are cave paintings in Pinturas River in Argentina the Cueva de las Manos. In portable art, a style called Cardium Pottery was decorated with imprints of seashells. New materials were used in art, such as amber and jasper. In this period, the first traces of urban planning appeared, such as the remains in Tell as-Sultan, Jarmo and Çatalhöyük. In South-Eastern Europe appeared many cultures, such as the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture, the Hamangia culture. Another region with many cultures is China most notable being the Yangshao culture and the Longshan culture; the last prehistoric phase is the Metal Age, during which the use of copper and iron transformed ancient societies.
When humans could smelt metal and forge metal implements could make new tools and art. In the Chalcolithic megaliths emerged. Examples include the dolmen and menhir and the English cromlech, as can be seen in the complexes at Newgrange and Stonehenge. In Spain the Los Millares culture was formed, characterized by the Beaker culture. In Malta, the temple complexes of Ħaġar Qim, Tarxien and Ġgantija were built. In the Balearic Islands notable megalithic cultures developed, with different types of monuments: the naveta, a tomb shaped like a truncated pyramid, with an elongated burial chamber. In the Iro
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