Who Coined Out the Name Nigeria?

Nigeria is the name of a country located in West Africa, it borders Cameroon to its east, Niger in the north, Benin in the west and Chad in the northeast.

History of the word- Nigeria

The name Nigeria was derived from the Niger River which runs across the country. This name was coined in the late 19th century by Flora Shaw who was a British journalist and who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator.


Who is Flora Shaw

Her full name is Flora Louise Shaw. She was a British journalist and writer born on 19 December 1852 and died on 25 January 1852.

She was born at 2 Dundas Terrace, Woolwich, South London and was the fourth of fourteen children. Her father was an English man, Major General George Shaw. Her mother was a French woman, Marie Adrienne Josephine who was from Mauritius. 

She had nine sisters, the first and the last dying in infancy, and four brothers.

Her paternal grandfather, Sir Frederick Shaw was a member of parliament from the year, 1830 to 1848 and was regarded as the leader of the Irish conservatives.

Her paternal grandmother, Thomasine Emily was the daughter of the Honourable George Jocelyn and granddaughter of the first Earl of Roden, 

How did the name Nigeria come about

Miss Shaw suggested the name “Nigeria” in an essay that first appeared in The Times on 8 January 1897. The name was suggested for the British Protectorate on the Niger River for the “agglomeration of pagan and Mahomedan States”. In her essay, Flora Shaw argued for a much shorter term that would be used in place of the official title “Royal Niger Company Territories”. She thought the term “Royal Niger Company Territories” was too long a name to be used as a Real Estate Property. She preferred the term Nigeria to others such as “Central Sudan) which was associated with the area by some travellers and geographers.

She also argued that the term ‘Sudan’ was better associated with a territory in the Nile Basin (which is now current Sudan). The name Nigeria applied to no oither part of Africa and was not going to bring any offence to neighbouring territories over which the Royal Niger Company has extended British influence. She was of the opinion that the name would serve as a means of differentiating between the French territories of the Upper Niger and the colonies of Lagos and the Niger protectorate on the coast

In 1905, Shaw wrote what is regarded as the definitive history of Western Sudan and the modern settlement of Northern Nigeria titled, A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan, With an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria 

Personal Life and Marriage 

On 10 June 1902, she married Lugard who was Governor of Hong Kong (1907–1912) and later Governor-General of Nigeria (1914–1919). They had no children.

On 25 January 1929, at the age of 76, she died of pneumonia in Surrey, a country in South East England.

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