Nigeria has a rich heritage deriving from its indigenous ethnic elements as well as from Middle Eastern and Western cultural influences. Most African countries can trace their origin from very diverse, heterogeneous backgrounds with a rich mixed ethnic heritage. Some African countries have as many as 250 ethnic groups. Nigeria is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa and, relative to its size, in the world. The four dominant groups, Igbo in the East, Yoruba in the West, and the Hausa and Fulani in the North, constitute 60% of the population. The Igbo have a population of 16.6 million (17%), whereas the Hausa and Fulani have a population of 29.5 million (30%), and the Yoruba have a population of 20.3% million (20%) (World Almanac, 1995).
Yorubaland, located within the tropics, is much nearer to the equator than to the Tropic of Cancer. The roughly east-west coastline is on the average about 60' 22'N of the equator, where the coastline swings southward toward the delta. The great achievement of Yoruba settlements is their remarkable urban centers, unparalleled anywhere else in tropical Africa (Africa Year-book, 1995; Mabogunje, 1962). The Yoruba are characterized by their indigenous economies-hunting, fishing, farming, and craft industries-as