The Nok people of central Nigeria produced the earliest terracotta sculptures found in the country. In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating back to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.
Also in the North, at the beginning of the 19th century under Usman dan Fodio, the Fulani led the centralized Fulani Empire, which continued until 1903 when the Fulani population and land were divided into various European colonies. Between 1750 and 1900, one to two-thirds of the population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves.
The Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th century respectively. Yoruba mythology states that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it pre-dates any other civilization. The oldest signs of human settlement dates back to the 9th century. Ifẹ produced terracotta and bronze figures, and Ọyọ once extended from western Nigeria to Togo. The Kingdom of Benin is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin's power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people started in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. It is the oldest kingdom in Nigeria. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan; they trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. The oldest pieces of bronzes made out of the lost-wax process in West Africa were from Igbo Ukwu, a city under Nri influence.
The people traded overland with traders from North Africa for centuries. In