This is the National Day of Nigeria and is always celebrated
on 1 October. It marks independence from British rule on 1
History of Nigerian Independence Day
European influence in modern day Nigeria began when in the
16th century when the first explorers from Spain and Portugal
began trading with locals, leading to the development of
ports, such as Lagos. The British became an increasingly
dominant influence on the region in the late 19th century
through the Royal Niger Company, resisting German attempts
to expansion in the region.
In 1900, the territories under the control of the Royal Niger
Company became the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. In 1914,
this was combined with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to
create the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, which forms
the borders of modern day Nigeria.
Many aspects of modern life in Nigeria were established
under the period of British Rule, but by the middle of the 20th
century, the call for independence sweeping across Africa
and the decline of the territories in the British Empire led to
Nigeria being granted independence on 1 October 1960 under
a constitution with a parliamentary government and a degree
of autonomy for the country’s three regions.
Nigeria marked total independence from Britain when it
became a federal republic when a new constitution was
adopted on 1 October 1963 with Nnamdi Azikiwe as its first
Political unrest led to a series of military coups in 1966 and
Nigeria was ruled by a military junta with democratic rule not
being restored until 1 October 1979.
How is Nigerian Independence Day
Despite being the national day of Nigeria, the holiday itself is
declared annually by the government of Nigeria.
In New York, Nigeria’s Independence Day has been marked by
celebrations since in 1991 and are the largest by any African
nation in the United States.