Portuguese settlers become the first Europeans to live in Nigeria. Other Europeans follow.
The Muslim Fulani empire rules the region.
Britain takes control of Nigeria, creating a system of indirect rule through local kings and chiefs.
Britain unites the northern and southern regions, forming the Colony of Nigeria.
Nigerian Chinua Achebe's “Things Fall Apart” is published.
Nigeria gains independence from Britain and joins the United Nations. A new constitution and government are adopted.
The military takes control of the government.
The eastern region of Nigeria secedes and proclaims itself the Republic of Biafra. This leads to a civil war that kills about 1 million people.
An oil boom occurs. A great surge in world oil prices boosts Nigeria's economy.
Wole Soyinka is the first African to be honored with the Nobel Prize for literature.
Nigeria wins the gold medal in soccer in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Military rule ends. Nigerians vote in free presidential elections.
Olusegun Obasanjo is elected president, marking the first civilian transfer of power in Nigeria's history. Still, election observers express concern over irregularities in voting.
Nigeria celebrates 50 years of independence. Two deadly car bombings in Abuja, the capital, disrupt the festivities.
President Goodluck Jonathan wins reelection, capturing 59% of the vote. Some supporters of rival candidates riot, claiming fraud, but the election is largely praised for being free and fair.