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The People of Nigeria, Urbanization

leading port, urban migration, Katsina, federal capital, administrative center

Nigeria is still a primarily rural country, with only 44 percent of its population in cities. Urban areas, however, doubled their share of the population between 1970 and 1996. The country has a long history of urban development, particularly in northern and southwestern Nigeria where substantial cities existed centuries before colonial rule. The largest cities, in order of size, are Lagos, Ibadan, and Kano. Lagos, one of the world’s largest cities, grew as colonial Nigeria’s capital and leading port. Despite its loss of the federal capital in 1991 to Abuja, Lagos remains the country’s economic and cultural center. Ibadan, founded as a 19th-century war camp, was the largest precolonial city in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to massive rural-to-urban migration. Its economy is based largely on agriculture and trade. Kano, the largest of the Hausa cities, grew to prominence as the center of a prosperous agricultural district and as a major terminus of trans-Saharan trade. Today, it is a major commercial, transportation, industrial, and administrative center. Other important cities include the Yoruba centers of Oyo, Ogbomosho, and Ife; the Hausa cities of Zaria, Katsina, and Sokoto; and the newer, colonial-era cities of Kaduna, Jos, and Enugu.

Article key phrases:

leading port, urban migration, Katsina, federal capital, administrative center, Sokoto, Enugu, colonial rule, rural country, cultural center, Jos, Ibadan, Ife, important cities, order of size, Abuja, Kano, Lagos, prominence, centuries, sub-Saharan Africa, Urban areas, agriculture, economy, percent, loss, population, transportation, thanks, share


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