Who Named Nigeria as a Country and When Was It?

Nigeria was named by British journalist Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Frederick Lugard also known as Lady Lugard, in 1897. The name “Nigeria” was coined from the two words ‘Niger’ and ‘Area’. 

Nigeria is a country located in the western part of Africa. It is regarded as the most populous country in Africa. It is worth noting that the origin of the name ‘Nigeria’ is currently fading, as most of the country’s citizens cannot tell you who named the country. We provided the woman who named Nigeria and the reason she had to name the country. We also went further to explain why it was important for the country to use the name ‘Nigeria’.

Who Gave Nigeria Her Name?

Flora Shaw, a British journalist and writer, came up with the name Nigeria on January 8, 1897. She is best known as the wife of Lord Frederick Lugard, the man who gave birth to Nigeria. Prior to that, he was the governor of both the Northern and Southern protectorates.

Why Did Flora Shaw Choose The Name Nigeria?

British Protectorate on the Niger River is an essay published on January 8, 1897, in The Times. Shaw urged in her essay for a more simple word to replace the official designation of the ‘agglomeration of pagan and Mohammedan States.’ She thought the title ‘Royal Niger Company Territories’ was too long to use as the name of a real estate property controlled by the trading company in that African region.

She was looking for a new name, and she chose ‘Nigeria’ over phrases like ‘Central Sudan,’ which were associated with the region by various geographers and visitors. She thought the term ‘Sudan’ referred to a territory in the Nile basin.

Using the exact words from her article in The Times on January 8, 1897, she stated that “the name Nigeria, applying to no other part of Africa, may without offense to any neighbors be accepted as co-extensive with the territories over which the Royal Niger Company has extended British influence and may serve to differentiate them equally from the colonies of Lagos and the Niger Protectorate on the coast and from the French territories of the Upper Niger.”

Which Year Can Nigeria Regard as its Year of Existence?

Certainly, the county’s existence predates the 1914 amalgamation. Because of Nigeria’s existence, the amalgamation of Nigeria was seen as a historic event (prior to 1914).

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Similarly, the fact that the geographical and political entity known as Nigeria existed as two distinct entities prior to the 1914 amalgamation (the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria) never negated the basic and historical fact that the name ‘Nigeria’ had been in use and recognized 17 years prior to the 1914 amalgamation.

As a result, our previous political leaders, political scientists, and historians’ failure to account for Nigeria’s birth on January 8, 1897, is clearly an outlier in the country’s history. In this sense, there is little doubt that the country will commemorate its 125th anniversary in 2023, despite the fact that the country’s centenary was supposed to be commemorated in 1997.

Other countries observe ‘Founders Day,’ but this is not the case in the country. As a result, it is critical to pose the question, ‘Why is the case of Nigeria different?’

How does the Country Recognize Flora Shaw?

Another source of concern is that Miss Flora Louise Shaw (later Mrs. Lugard), the visionary who originated the name ‘Nigeria,’ is not receiving the well-deserved recognition she deserves in the same manner that other Nigerian founding fathers have been honored in various ways in our public domains.

Flora Shaw was unquestionably the first woman to assume the prestigious position of Nigeria’s First Lady. Her name, on the other hand, is glaringly absent from the Federal Capital Territory and several major Nigerian cities. Lady Lugard was only remembered by the Nigerian government at the country’s (amalgamation) centenary celebrations in 2014 when 100 important personalities were honored with the Centenary Award.

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