Nigeria /naɪˈdʒɪəriə/, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean.Long the site of numerous kingdoms and empires, the modern state of Nigeria has its origins in the British colonization of the region during the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, emerging from the combination of two neighboring British protectorates: (the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate). The British set up administrative and legal structures while retaining traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became independent in 1960, but plunged into civil war several years later. It has since alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships, with its 2011 presidential elections being viewed as the first to be conducted reasonably free and fair.Nigeria is often referred to as the "the Giant of Africa", due to its large population and economy. With around 174 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. The country is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who mostly live in the Southern and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the North and South-West. A minority of the population practice traditional and native religions, such as the Igbo and Yoruba religions.Nigeria has been identified as a regional power in Africa, with particular hegemony over West Africa A full year of 2013, its economy (GDP) became the largest in Africa with more than $500 billion, overtaking South Africa becoming the world's 26th largest economy, furthermore the debt-to-GDP ratio is only 11 percent, 8 percent below from 2012 ratio, and is expected to become one of the world's top 20 economies by 2050. The country's oil reserves have played a major role in its growing wealth and influence. Nigeria is considered to be an Emerging market by the World Bank, It is also a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies. It is also listed among the "Next Eleven" economies to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, OPEC, and the United Nations among other International organizations.