Intermarriages flourished among the various groups. One of the most prosperous trades even before the arrival of the Europeans was the slave trade.
It was common practice in many African civilizations to sell war captives, delinquent children, and the handicapped; and Nigeria was no exception.
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.
Within two decades, parts of the Oyo Empire, Bornu, and Nupe were added by conquest to the Fulani Empire.
Though there was no centralized governments, trade and commercial activities existed.
With an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometers), Nigeria's size approximately equals the combined areas of New Mexico, Arizona and California.
A coastal state on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Nigeria is bounded by Niger to the north, Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east and southeast, and Chad to the northeast.
In 1553, the first English ships landed at the Bight of Benin, then known as the "Slave Coast." The present day Nigeria came into existence in 1914, when the Colony of Lagos, the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, and the protectorate of Northern Nigeria were amalgamated.
Even before the arrival of Europeans, the many nationalities or ethnic groups were highly organized and had law and order.
Nigeria's national flag, believed to have been designed by Taiwo Akinkunmi—a Nigerian student in London, consists of a field of green, white, and green, divided into three equal parts.