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She referred to the area as Nigeria, after the Niger River, which dominates much of the country's landscape. More than 250 ethnic tribes call present-day Nigeria home.The three largest and most dominant ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo (pronounced ee-bo).This general lack of Nigerian nationalism coupled with an ever-changing and often ethnically biased national leadership, have led to severe internal ethnic conflicts and a civil war.Today bloody confrontations between or among members of different ethnic groups continue. Nigeria is in West Africa, along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and just north of the equator.
The name Nigeria was suggested by British journalist Flora Shaw in the 1890s.
In July 2000, Nigeria's population was estimated at more than 123 million people.
At about 345 people per square mile, it is also the most densely populated country in Africa. Despite the rampages of AIDS, Nigeria's population continues to grow at about 2.6 percent each year. Nearly 45 percent of its people are under age fourteen.
The Niger and Benue Rivers come together in the center of the country, creating a "Y" that splits Nigeria into three separate sections.
In general, this "Y" marks the boundaries of the three major ethnic groups, with the Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the southwest, and the Igbo in the southeast.Other smaller groups include the Fulani, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Edo.