Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sovereign country located in West Africa bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located.
Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous pre-colonial states and kingdoms over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms; Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1, 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 2015 presidential election marking the first time an incumbent president had lost re-election.
A multinational state, Nigeria is inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups with over 500 distinct languages all identifying with a wide variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa–Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west, and Igbo in the east; comprising over 60% of the total population. The official language of Nigeria is English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north. Nigeria has respectively, the fifth-largest Muslim population in the world and the sixth-largest Christian population in the world, with the constitution ensuring freedom of religion. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world, with an estimated 206 million inhabitants as of late 2019. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under the age of eighteen. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and is the world's 24th largest economy according to the list by the IMF (2020 estimates), worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity, respectively. The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent as of 2019 it has risen to an approximated figure of 16 percent. Nigeria is a lower middle-income economy with a gross national income per capita between $1,026 and $3,986. Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy, it is also considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank; it has been identified as a regional power on the African continent, a middle power in international affairs, and has also been identified as an emerging global power. However, its Human Development Index ranks 158th in the world.