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The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) become one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.

Other major slaving ports in Nigeria were located in Badagry, Lagos on the Bight of Benin and on Bonny Island on the Bight of Biafra.

The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.

Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western, central and northern Africa.This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator.The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied only to the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain.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.Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.