Nigeria in 38 historical maps
Nigeria is named after the river Niger that flows through the western part of the country, ending in the Atlantic ocean. It means "flowing water" and may be derived from the native word Ni Gir or N'eghirren (Tuareg). The Cantino map (1502) was the first world map on which the coastline of this western part of Africa was depicted relatively accurate. Due to lack of information the inland was often filled with fictitious elements. On 17th century and later maps (e.g. Blaeu) the name of neighbouring country Benin was used to identify large parts of present-day Nigeria. During the 18th century the African maps looked rather empty again (e.g. Anville), because cartographers applied a more scientific approach and showed only features that were actually verified. The first separately printed (atlas) maps of Nigeria did not appear until their independence from the UK in 1960.