Niger is a huge land-locked country set squarely in the middle of the Sahara Desert. The country borders the North frican countries of Algeria and Libya in the north and the Gulf of Guina countries of Benin and Nigeria in the south. To the west are the Sahelian countries of Mali and Burkina Faso and the Saharan country of Chad lies to the east. The north of the country is the vast Sahara Desert with some of the most daunting dunes found anywhere in the Sahara. The stark splendour of the Sahara in Niger are one of the region's most spectacular sights, The south savana and steppe which is increasingly affected by desertification. The trans-Saharan caravan trade with slaves an important commodity were a major part of the economy for centuries. The caravan trade towns of Agadez and Zinder are magnificent example of traditional mudbrick architecture. The modern economy is cetered in the southwest where some livestock rearing and agriculture is possible. This is becaue the country's namesake, the Niger River cuts across a narrow band of the country there. And it is here where most of the population lives. The economy is primarily based on livestock rearing and agriculture (peanuts abd cotton). Cotton is the principal export commodity. There are iron ore deposits which have not been fully developed. The population consists of several tribes including nomads (Taureg, Toubou, and Fulani) in the north and agrarians (Hausa, Djerma, and Songhai) in the south. The people are primarily Muslim. The official language is French. Frnce began moving into the area (late-19th cenury). The Saharn north proved difficult to pacify.
Niger officially became a French colony (1921). The first territirial assembly was elcted (1946). Niger became an autonomous republic within the French Community (1958). France granted full independence and the country joined the United Nations and withdrew from the French Community, but continued to retain ties with France (1960). Slavery has continued as a problem in modern Niger. We do not yet have a Niger page, but we do have a school page.
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