The history of Nigeria can be traced to prehistoric settlers (Nigerians) living in the area as early as 1100 BC. Numerous ancient African civilizations settled in the region that is today Nigeria, such as the Kingdom of Nri, the Benin Empire, and the Oyo Empire. Islam reached Nigeria through the Borno Empire between (1068 BC) and Hausa States around (1385 AD) during the 11th century, while Christianity came to Nigeria in the 15th century through Augustinian and Capuchin monks from Portugal. The Songhai Empire also occupied part of the region.
The history of Nigeria has been crucially impacted by the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which started in Nigeria in the late 15th century. At first, Europeans captured Nigerians who lived in coastal communities. Later, they used local brokers to provide them with slaves. This dynamic escalated conflicts among the different ethnic groups in the region and disrupted older trade patterns through the Trans-Saharan route.