It is also listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world.
Europeans traded goods with peoples at the coast; coastal trade with Europeans also marked the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade.
The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) became one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.
Nigeria has been home to a number of kingdoms and tribal states 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.
Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire (also known as the Sokoto Caliphate).
Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem–Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911.
However, it currently has a "low" Human Development Index, ranking 152nd in the world.
Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies.
Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western, central and northern Africa.