The word “centralized state” is associated with those states in which all the governmental powers are concentrated at the centre or unit.

The Nigerian centralized states and kingdoms manifested between 1500 AD and 1900 AD. The states and kingdoms involved were Benin, Nupe, Jukun, Bomu, and the Hausa states.

Hence, a lot of factors that led to the formation of states were.-

  1. favorable geographical factors which include fertile soil, grassland, mineral deposits – gold, iron, tin, etc.
  2. Migration of people from one area to another.
  3. Some areas like the Oyo empire and Benin kin were militarily competent.
  4. Religious influence – example, Jukun.
  5. Existence of commercial cities – Kano, Katsina, Onitsha, etc.
  6. The presence of the dynamic political organization in some areas like Oyo, Benin, and so on.

Meanwhile, some people formed a new state where they are geographically favoured. For instance, commerce was instrumental to the growth of Kano, Kastına, Onitsha and so on.

However, some factors were responsible for the expansion of such states and they are:

  • Heads of powerful clans were the first set of people to occupy areas. They had lots of children and agricultural products.
  • The military might of the people involved was also another factor.
  • Religion: Major religions claimed to have the power to control spirits and that of the supernatural – rainfall, disaster, etc.
  • Slavery: The request for slaves also added to the expansion of states.
  • Inter-marriage between rulers and the formation of alliances was another factor.


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