The earliest known documentation of Nigeria is that it was the sight of a group of organized states called Hausa. The earliest Nigerians were the Nok people. These Noks were skilled artisans, but they didn't last long. The Noks had disappeared by the second millennium.The Southwest region of Lake Chad, Africa was ruled by the Kanem-Bornu during the 8th century. By the 1300's, the empire of Kanem-Bornu was a flourishing center of Islamic culture, rivaling Mali in the west.As this African kingdom began to stagnate, the western states fell under the rule of Songhai and the empire fell in result. During the 15th century, Nigeria was a very prosperous country with great cultivation and trading. By the late 16th century, the Kanem-Bornu broke up and the Hausa states regained their independence. In the 19th century, the Fulani then took dominance in the lands of Hausa and the southern part of the country was divided at this time. In the west, Yoruba had their own states; the Edo ruled in Benin in the south-central parts; and the Ibo had control in the east, in and north of the Niger delta.
People such as Mungo Park, Richard Lemon Lander, and John Landerfirst explored the interior in 1830-31.Realizing the potential of the area, the Portuguese, the British, and others established slave-trading stations in the Niger delta.The British sent consuls to Calabar and Lagos, where traders were established, and they took full possession of Lagos.The British then established protectorates after the conclusion of several treaties with the native chiefs and in 1893, the name Niger Coast Protectorate was established.Then, in 1900, after expansion in the southwest, which brought about the addition of the kingdom of Benin, the name was changed to the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.In the same year, the British proclaimed the protectorate of Northern Nigeria as well.