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Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and OPEC.The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country.The country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 500 different languages and are identified with a wide variety of cultures. 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.A minority of the population practise religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.For centuries, various peoples in modern-day Nigeria traded overland with traders from North Africa.Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western, central and northern Africa.
Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under age 18.
Usually the captives were taken back to the conquerors' territory as forced labour; after time, they were sometimes acculturated and absorbed into the conquerors' society.
A number of slave routes were established throughout Nigeria linking the hinterland areas with the major coastal ports.
Oyo, at its territorial zenith in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, extended its influence from western Nigeria to modern-day Togo.
The Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria.The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD.