What Is The Oldest Tribe In Nigeria

Nigeria is an ethnically diverse state within the African continent, with a wide range of languages and tribes. While the main tribes of Nigeria include the Igbos and those, the Yorubas and the Hausas, there are also various minorities scattered across the federation’s different states. Before the establishment or merging of Nigeria at the time of 1914 were many ancient tribes with their customs, forms of government, and practices of religion.

Before 1500, Nigeria’s present settlement was divided into kingdoms and not into states like we do today. These old kingdoms identified themselves by ethnic groups ‘ names. The earlier empires include the Nupe Kingdom, Kanem-Borno Empire Nupe Kingdom, the Kanem-Borno Empire, Igala Kingdom, Igbo Kingdom of Nri, Oyo Empire, the Kingdom of Ife, Benin Kingdom, and the Sokoto caliphate. In the later part of the 19th century when it was the time that Portuguese, as well as the English, were brought to West Africa through Christian missionaries. The missionaries claimed to have taught natives to write and read.

In this article, we will examine ten of the oldest tribes of Nigeria and the specifics of the tribes. It is important to note that no one can pinpoint the exact tribe that claims they are the oldest. However, we have evidence that these are among the oldest tribes in the country at present.

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic country with more than 197 million people that are part of 300 ethnic groups. Several indigenous tribes possess distinct DNA markers as they are direct descendants of the first human populations of the modern age. They have distinct genetic and linguistic features. Additionally, even in the face of English colonization, several tribes have managed to maintain their traditions for thousands of years. Which of these tribes was the first to have existed? Here’s a brief overview of the oldest Nigerian indigenous groups.

The ten most ancient tribes of Nigeria are as follows. It isn’t based on any random standards. In addition, we are placing these tribes into an unofficial order, using historical information and information.


In no specific order, These are the oldest tribes of Nigeria and their specifics.


The Nupe tribe is considered to be among the oldest tribes in the country. It is said that most languages and dialects from the middle are due to their Nupe people. There are Nupe tribes within Niger state Kwara, Kogi, and the FCT. The long-standing Nupe Kingdom was founded in the middle of the 15th century in a basin between Niger state and the Kaduna rivers.

The majority of the facts learned about the ancient kingdom were mostly legends that were transmitted verbally. The legend goes that King Jibiri was the very first Nupe monarch to embrace the religion of the Islamic religious system in 1770. Ma’azu was the ruler of the Nupe Kingdom in the early 1800s when the Nupe kingdom had huge prosperity. Following Ma’azu’s death came the Fulani victory over Northern Nigeria through subsequent wars, which led to the Nupe kingdom being taken over and becoming an Emirate of Gwandu.

There are currently more than five dialects spoken by Nupe people, which include the Bassa-Nge dialect, Kupa, Kakanda, Dibo/Abawa, and the Gana-Gana. They are the Nupe people are among the oldest tribes in Nigeria. The Nupe ethnic group is the core of Nigerian culture and art, and most Middle Belt dialects can have their roots in the Nupe people.


Igala is another ethnic group from Nigeria that is worthy of mentioning since the Igala kingdom was established at the end of the 16th century. This is one of the oldest tribes in the nation. The Igala Kingdom, previously known as the Igala Kingdom, was founded by Abutu-Eje in the 16th century. It was ruled by nine top officials, known as”Igala Mela, “Igala Mela.” They were believed to be the guardians of the holy Earth shrine.

One of the first Ata (the head of the Igala kingdom) was a woman called Ebule-Jon. Her successor was Agana-Poje, her brother, who was also the parent of Idoko, his successor. Ayegba was the commander of the war of popular opinion against Jukun and was the brother of Idoko, who succeeded his father as Ata’Gala. In the Igala region, Igala people are famous for their courage and settled in areas formed by Benue and the Niger states rivers. They are also found throughout Kogi state.


The Ijaw constitutes the name of a Nigerian ethnic group living mostly in the Niger Delta. States like Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers have large populations. They are also found in other Nigerian states like Ondo, Akwa Ibom, and Edo State, where they are permanent residents. The Ijaws are home to around 10 million and account for 1.8 percent of the Nigerian population.

The Ijaws have been living within Nigeria’s Niger Delta region since 500 BCE, making them the oldest tribe in Nigeria and one of the world’s oldest tribes.


The Kanuri are among the oldest tribes in Nigeria. They are split into subgroups, known under various names depending on the location.

Kanuri language was the dominant one. Kanuri Language was the main tongue of the Bornu Empire and continues to be the case to this day. Most Kanuri speakers reside in the northeast of Nigeria. There are approximately 3 million Kanuri natives in the country.

Bornu’s Emirate of Ceremonial Ritual can be traced back to the Kanem-Bornu kingdom, established in 1000 CE. In the Kanuri, the myth, Sef, the son of Yemen’s Dhu Ifazan, came to Kanem in the 9th century and founded the Sayfawa Dynasty. In Zilum, located within the Lake Chad region, evidence of the indigenous state’s development goes back to 800 BCE.


The Gbagyi are among the tribes of Nigeria that have been around for centuries. They are regarded as peaceful, friendly, and accommodating people. The Gbagyi is an exclusive group of Nigerians with a unique tradition that reflects their view of the universe.

It is believed that the Gbagyi tribe’s history is believed to be concentrated within a vast region of diverse terracotta productions. Other traditions of clay found in the belt are very ancient. The one from Daima (near the northern border of Nigeria) dates between 600 B.C. and 600 B.C. and A.D. 1100, while the one from Yelwa dates between the seventh and second centuries A.D.

The Gbagyi first came into contact with Islam at the turn of the century during the Sokoto Jihad of 1804, and then Christianity was introduced in the early 20th century via southerners.


The Edo or Benin people from Edo state are among the oldest tribes in Nigeria. These are Edo descendants that use the Edo language. The term “Benin” (and “Bini”) refers to a Portuguese version of “Ubini,” which first became popular in 1440, during the time of Oba (ruler) Ewuare the Great.

Edo people reside within The Nigerian Edo State, which takes its name from the inhabitants of Benin City, the region’s most important historical conglomeration. Numerous related groups are found in the surrounding areas of Edo, which are also surrounded by administrative and political borders. These groups can trace their roots to the early medieval Benin City.


It is believed that the Yoruba tribe is among the oldest tribes in Nigeria. In Africa, there are more than 35 million Yoruba people. They mainly originated from Nigeria and accounted for 15.5 percent of the population.

The Yoruba are among the most urbanized people in Africa. Through the ages, most Yorubians lived in urban areas that were well-organized and with strong city-states and the Oba’s house. Many of these cities were fortresses that had massive gates and walls from earlier times.

Cities in Yoruba have long been among the top African cities. Ibadan, one of the most important Yoruba cities established during the 1890s, was the largest city in Sub-Saharan Africa for a long period. Lagos, another significant Yoruba metropolis, remains the largest city in Africa today.


All over West Africa, there are predominantly people who speak Hausa. They are Hausa people who have lived in pre-colonial settlements, small villages, cities, and towns for centuries. They speak Hausa, the Afro-Asian language spoken by the Chadic people.

In the past, historically, the Hausa Aristocracy established an equestrian society. This Hausa Nok civilization arose in northern Nigeria about 1000 BCE and died in the West African region around 300 AD for no reason. It is believed to be the descendant of an ancestral nation split into the Hausa. Its social system of Nok is believed to be advanced. It is believed that the Nok civilization is believed to have been the first one to create life-size Terracotta from Sub-Saharan Africa.


The Igbo group is believed to be among the oldest tribes in Nigeria. They are a type of meta-ethnicity born in Nigeria’s present southern and southeastern regions. The Igbo people are believed to be among the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The language family Niger-Congo comprises the Igbo language.

The history of the Igbo group has been the focus of much speculation since it is unclear how the Igbo community became what it is today. Igbo people Igbo were a split people before British colonial power in the early 20th century. The Igbo have developed an incredibly strong sense of ethnicity following the decolonization process. The Igbo regions split off in the short-lived Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970).


The Ibibio people live along the southern coast of Nigeria. They are typically found within the state, including Akwa Ibom and Cross River. They share a kinship with people from the Annang and the Efik peoples. The Cross River branch of Benue-Congo is believed to be home to a large dialect cluster known as Efik-Ibibio.

The Ibibio people reside in the region known as the palm belt of southeast Nigeria and are considered the longest-running Nigerian ethnic group. They are the Ibibio people, who are believed to be the original people to establish themselves in the southern part of Nigeria. They are believed to have arrived at their present location around 7000 B.C. Despite the history’s evidence, it remains unclear when the Ibibio came to the state.


It is believed that the Ebira group is a major Nigerian ethnic group. Most Ebira individuals hail out of Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, and Edo states. The long-standing Nigerian tribes were at war with Fulani warlords from the west and north in the course of the defeat of the Hausa nation by forces of the religious as well as political leader Uthman Dan Fodio. Igu (Koton large) along with Igu (Koton Small) were formed at the beginning of the 19th century. They fought the jihadists of Bida and Ilorin between 1865-1880. The Fulanis, on the contrary, were unable to defeat the Ebiras. Their inherent defenses from their steep terrain helped them in some way. Nigeria is an ethnically diverse state within the African continent, with a wide range of languages and tribes. While the main tribes of Nigeria include the Igbos and those, the Yorubas and the Hausas, there are also various minorities scattered across the federation’s different states. Before the establishment or merging of Nigeria at the time of 1914 were many ancient tribes with their customs, forms of government, and practices of religion.


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