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Who Named Nigeria, When & Meaning of Nigeria

Who named Nigeria? What was the country named before then? and What is the meaning of the name ‘Nigeria’?… These are all very important questions regarding the history of our nation I believe every citizen must know the answers to.

However, it is without doubt that many people are clueless about such topics. But, since you’re here, your name will be erased from the list of clueless individuals.

Nigeria is the most populated country and the number #1 economy on the African continent. However, this glorious nation didn’t exist at all until in 1914 when three regions were merged by the British Colonial masters.

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During it’s merger, a name had to be chosen for the new country.


Who named Nigeria?

The name Nigeria formulated by a British journalist Flora Shaw who later got married to Lord Fredrick Lugard. And I’m sure you at least know who Lord Fredrick Lugard is 🙂 

Okay. I’ll just go a little bit further…

Lord Lugard played a huge role in the creation of our beloved nation. Prior to then, he was the governor of both the Northern and Southern protectorates.


There’s no documented date for exactly what day and month Nigeria got her name. However, historians claim this was done in the late 19th century — n 1987 precisely.

Meaning of Nigeria

Flora Shaw combined the words “Niger” and “Area” to form the name Nigeria.

In other words, the nation’s name was gotten from its longest river — River Niger.

Over the cause of time, the word Niger Area, transformed into Nigeria. And this has been in use ever since.

Our nation is blessed an lucky to have its origin tied to Flora Shaw. She was more than just a journalist — she was a pioneer for the abolition of slavery which greatly ravaged the African continent and several parts of the world.

There she is…

Flora Shaw Lady lugard. Photo credit: wikimedia

Lady Lugard died on 25 January 1929, after falling ill with pneumonia.

Nigeria’s Former name

The name ‘Nigeria’ currently in use has been the same way ever since the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorate. Therefore there’s no former name of any sort.

However, before amalgamation took place all the various regions existed on their own — albeit had separate governments and used separate names.

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