The area of what is now the Republic of Niger was
probably settled in the Paleolithic Age. From the time
of the European Middle Ages, there were several large
empires and city-states (Songhai Empire on the Niger
River, Kanuri in the southeast of the country,
city-states of the Haussa). The cities that lay along
the route of the camel caravans through the Sahara to
the Mediterranean or east to the Red Sea became
extremely wealthy due to the lively trade in gold, salt
and slaves. From the 11th century, members of the Berber
tribe of the Tuareg immigrated to the north of today's
Niger and sold the Haussa resident there. The center of
the nomadic Tuareg was the Aïr Mountains and the city of
Agadaz, also the base of the caravan trade.
In the course of the 19th century, several European
researchers came to the area (eg Mungo Park, Dixon
Denham, Heinrich Barth). At the so-called "Africa
Conference" in 1885, the European colonial powers
divided the African continent regardless of existing
borders or ethnic groups. The area between Lake Chad,
Niger and the Aïr Mountains was awarded to France. After
conquering neighboring Mali, French troops occupied the
state territory of what is now the Republic of Niger
within a few years against the bitter resistance of the
local ethnic groups. Even after the occupation of the
country, the conflicts, for example between the Songhai
in the southwest and the colonial rulers, continued.
In 1911 the area was administered as a province
"Upper Senegal and Niger" part of French West Africa and
from Dakar, today's capital of Senegal. In 1922, France
declared the area an independent colony with the city of
Zinder in the south as the administrative seat (from
1926 Niamey ).
According to AbbreviationFinder,
independence movements began to form in the first
half of the 20th century. After the end of the Second
World War, the "Parti Progressiste Nig¨¦rien"
(Progressive Party of Niger, PPN) was founded in 1946 as
the first major political organization. The second
relevant party was the UDN (Union of Niger).
In 1957, France granted the country internal
autonomy. In the first elections, the UDN prevailed
under Djibo Bakary, who became Niger's first head of
government. Contrary to the government's goal of
immediately achieving independence, the majority of the
population called for the country to remain within the
French Union through a referendum, a goal that the Niger
Progressive Party, PPN, also pursued. His leader Hamani
Diori replaced Bakari at the end of 1958 as head of
government of the country.
In August 1960 the Niger became an independent
republic within the "Communaut¨¦ Française". The PPN has
been declared a unitary party. France remained present
in the country in the form of political advisers and as
a military power. The authoritarian head of government
Diori (until 1974) was accused of corruption and
A two-year drought in the Sahel region (1973)
destroyed almost all of the livestock and thus the
livelihood of the nomadic population living there. The
already economically weak country was dependent on
foreign food aid. There was unrest in the country when
the extensive donations in kind that came from all over
the world partially disappeared or were sold on the
black market at inflated prices. In 1974 the Diori
regime was overthrown by a military coup, which was
supported by large sections of the population.
Lieutenant Colonel Seyni Kountch¨¦ took over the
leadership of the state (until 1987) at the head of a
Supreme Military Council ("Conseil Militaire Supr¨ºme" /
CMS). He overruled the country's constitution and
declared the fight against corruption and the
improvement of food supplies to be the main objectives
of his policy.
The Nigerian leadership was able to improve the
country's economic situation slightly in 1975 by forcing
shares in the uranium ore production, which until then
had only been in the hands of a French mining company.
Due to tensions with the neighboring country of Chad
(Libyan troops invaded there in 1981), Niger lost its
previously most important uranium buyer with Libya only
a few years later.
Another drought in the Sahel region in the 1980s led
to a wave of refugees in the south of the country and a
further deterioration in living conditions.
In 1987 General Ali Saïbou became the new head of
state of the Republic of Niger after the death of Seyni
Kountch¨¦ (until 1993). He initiated democratic reforms
and commissioned the drafting of a new constitution. The
recently founded "Mouvement National de la Societ¨¦ de
D¨¦voloppement" (MNSD) has been declared a unitary party
of the Republic of Niger.
In the early 1990s, there were ongoing clashes
between the "Tuareg Liberation Front of Aïr and Azawad"
(FLAA) and government forces. The Tuareg were
particularly affected by the ongoing drought and had
called for increased aid measures for the affected areas
and people. Some called for an autonomous area in the
north of the republic. It was only after numerous armed
confrontations that a peace treaty was signed between
the Tuareg and the Nigerian government in 1995.
A transitional government was formed in 1991 with the
independent Amadou Cheiffou at the head. In 1992 a new
democratic constitution came into force, which declared
Niger to be the presidential parliamentary republic. In
the first free parliamentary elections since the
military came to power in 1974, the opposition alliance
AFC (Alliance des Forces de Changement / Alliance of
Forces of the Change). The former MNSD party remained
the strongest opposition party in parliament. The Social
Democrat Mahamane Ousmane became the new President in
March 1993. He appointed PNDS leader Mahamdou Issoufou
as the new head of government of the Republic of Niger.
In new elections in January 1995 (the government
coalition between CDS and PNDS was broken), the MNSD won
the majority of the votes and became the strongest
parliamentary group with 29 out of a total of 83 seats
(CDS 23, PNDS 12, other 19 ). Hama Amadou has been
appointed as the new head of government by the MNSD.
A year later, in January 1996, there was another
military coup d'¨¦tat after internal power struggles led
to the government's inability to act. The constitution
was abolished and the political parties banned. Colonel
Ibrahim Barr¨¦ Maïnasara declared himself president of a
"National Healing Council" (Conseil de Salut National /
CNS). This promised new elections in the same year. A
constitutional amendment in May 1996 granted the
president far more powers than before, while political
parties were re-admitted.
The parliamentary and presidential elections held in
1996 were boycotted by the opposition or accused of
manipulating the elections. President Maïnasara and his
close UNIRD (Union Nationale des Ind¨¦pendants pour le
Renouveau D¨¦mocratique) won the elections with
superiority. In April 1999, President Maïnasara was
murdered, and Daouda Malam Wank¨¦, the leader of the
Presidential Guard, became the new president. In the
November 1999 presidential election, MNSD candidate
Mamadou Tandja was elected with almost 60% of the vote.
The MNSD was also the strongest party in parliamentary
elections. Hama Amadou became the country's new head of
government at the head of a coalition of MNSD and CDS.
The 2004 elections confirmed Tandja and Amadou.
In 2007, Prime Minister Hama Amadou's government was
overthrown by an opposition vote of no confidence. The
government was accused of being involved in a corruption
affair in which international aid funds provided for
educational projects were misappropriated. Seyni Oumarou
(MNSD) took office as head of government, the government
Since the 1995 peace agreement had never been
implemented, the Tuareg rebel organization MNJ
(Mouvement des Nig¨¦riens pour la Justice) resumed armed
struggle against the government in February 2007, and
President Mamadou Tandja refused to negotiate. In August
the conflict spread to neighboring Mali.
The Constitution of the 6th Republic entered into
force in August 2009, extending President Tandja's term
in office, in breach of the 1999 constitution. During a
coup in February 2010, Tandja was ousted by a military
junta. A "Supreme Council for the Restoration of
Democracy" (CSRD) took power. The constitution was
overridden and a new one came into force in 2010. The
parliamentary and presidential elections at the end of
January 2011 brought a change of power: the previous
opposition party PNDS won the majority of seats in the
National Assembly and its leader Mahamadou Issoufou won
the presidential election. He was sworn in in April