Interesting facts about Niger

niger flag

Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of the Niger.

It is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest.

The official language is French.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Niger was estimated to be 21,092,468 people.

It is the 21st largest country in the world in terms of land area with 1,267,000 square kilometers (489,000 square miles).

Niamey is the capital and largest city of Niger. Niamey lies on the Niger River, primarily situated on the east bank. It is an administrative, cultural and economic centre.

niamey

Niger located along the border between the Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions.

The terrain there is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes. There are also large plains in the
south and hills in the north.

Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès also known as Mont Bagzane and Mont Bagzan is the highest mountain in Niger rising to a height of 2,022 meters (6,634 feet) above sea level.

mont idoukal-n-taghès

The network of protected areas in Niger covers about 17% of the national territory. It is made up of 1 national park, 2 national nature reserve, 1 nature reserve, plus other types of protected areas.

The W National Park is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger
shaped like a “W”. The park includes areas of the three countries Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, and is governed by the three governments. The park is known for its large mammals, including aardvarks,
baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotami, African leopards, West African lions, serval and warthogs. The W National Park of Niger was created by decree on 4 August 1954, and since 1996 has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

w national park

The Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve is a national nature reserve in Niger. It includes several overlapping reserve designations, and covers both the eastern half of the Aïr Mountains and the western sections of the Ténéré desert. The reserves boast an outstanding variety of landscapes, plant species and wild animals. The Aïr and Ténéré UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1991, and marked as endangered 1992. The entire reserver covers 77,360 square kilometers (29,870 square miles), which made it the second largest nature reserve in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world.

aïr and ténéré national nature reserve

Niger has 3 UNESCO world heritage sites.

Known as the gateway to the desert, Agadez, on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, developed in
the 15th and 16th centuries when the Sultanate of Aïr was established and Touareg tribes were sedentarized in the city, respecting the boundaries of old encampments, which gave rise to a street
pattern still in place today. The historic centre of the city, an important crossroads of the caravan trade, is divided into 11 quarters with irregular shapes. They contain numerous earthen dwellings and a well-preserved group of palatial and religious buildings including a 27 meters (88.5 feet) high minaret made entirely of mud brick, the highest such structure in the world. Historic Centre of Agadez was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

agadez

The Grand Mosque of Niamey is an Islamic mosque located in Niamey. It was built in the 1970s. The
largest mosque in the city, it is located along Islam Avenue. Funded with money from Libya, the mosque
features a minaret with 171 steps from top to bottom.

niamey mosque

The Dabous Giraffes are a neolithic petroglyph by an unknown artist. Completed between 9000 BC and 5000 BC, the giraffe carvings were first documented by David Coulson in 1997 while on a photographic expedition at a site in Niger. The carving is (6 meters) 20 feet in height and consists of two giraffes carved into the Dabous Rock with a great amount of detail. The Bradshaw Foundation is an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of this petroglyph.

dabous giraffes

Humans have lived in what is now Niger from the earliest times.

Through extensive archaeological research, much evidence has been uncovered indicating that man has
been present in northern Niger for over 600,000 years.

By at least the 5th century B.C., Niger became an area of trans-Saharan trade, led by the Berber
tribes from the north, using camels as an adapted means of transportation through the desert.

One of the great empires of Africa called the Songhai expanded into modern day Niger until its
collapse in 1591.

In the 19th century, contact with Europe began when the first European explorers explored the area
searching for the mouth of the Niger River.

Although French efforts at pacification began before 1900, dissident ethnic groups, especially the
desert Tuareg, were not subdued until 1922, when Niger became a French colony.

On 11 July 1960, agreements on national sovereignty were signed by Niger and France, and on 3 August 1960, the Republic of the Niger proclaimed its independence.

niger-flag-2

The country is named after the Niger River.

The economy of Niger is based largely upon internal markets, subsistence agriculture, and the export
of raw commodities: foodstuffs to neighbors and raw minerals to world markets.

Niger has some of the world’s largest uranium deposits.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and is rated by the UN as one of the world’s least-developed nations.

Niger has a wide variety of ethnic groups as in most West African countries. The ethnic makeup of Niger is as follows: Hausa (53.0%), Zarma-Sonrai (21.2%), Tuareg (10.4%), Fula (French: Peuls or Peulhs; Fula: Fulɓe) (9.9%), Kanuri Manga (4.4%), Tubu (0.4%), Arab (0.3%), Gourmantche (0.3%), other (0.2%).

Islam is the most dominant religion, practiced by 80% of the population. The second most practiced religion is Christianity; this by less than 20% of the population.

The cuisine of Niger takes after many traditional African cuisines, and a significant amount of spices
are used in dishes. Grilled meat, seasonal vegetables, salads and various sauces are some of the foods
consumed.

Horse racing, camel racing and sorro wrestling are some of the traditional sports in Niger that were firmly entrenched in their culture. Sorro Wrestling is known as the “King of Sports” in the country.

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