If you are interested in the DNA of African’s in Dispora check out the link above or if you are interested in the slave trade and like me you are a descendant of one of those africans taken into slavery you must check out this blog it is Fantastic.
Obviously – as illustrated by the above maps – Nigeria is incredibly diverse and home to a great number of ethnic groups. According to a recent listing no less than 371 groups! But still it seems significant that atleast within the AncestryDNA format Nigerians from various backgrounds do share a great degree of genetic origins as described by the socalled “Nigeria” region. There is at least one important lesson we may take away from the Nigerian AncestryDNA results featured on this page. It seems inevitable that most ethnic groups within Nigeria will display close genetic affinity as a testimony of a great degree of shared origins. Sometimes due to relatively recent intermarriage but ultimately mostly to be traced back to ancient prehistory. I suppose knowing about these cross-ethnic connections and also having shared ancestry in common with people across borders could be an antidote for an overly “tribalistic” mindset. Judging from the results i have collected actually also within ethnic groups you are bound to see a great deal of individual variation correlated with geography, distinct subgroups and deep ancestry predating ethnogenesis. By no means it seems will there be any unique genetic “blueprint” for any given ethnic group.
This is a topic i intend to blog about in more detail as soon as i acquire a sufficient number of Nigerian AncestryDNA results with a representative ethnic distribution. For now i will just point out that based on my very preliminary findings and minimal sample size: it seems it is foremost the secondary regions which might give additional clues about Nigerian ethnicity. Especially their relative contributions as none of the AncestryDNA regions will be exclusive to any particular ethnic group. These clues will not per se be conclusive but rather indicative. We can verify these proportional tendencies from the above compliation picture of 4 Nigerian AncestryDNA results as well as chart 3.2:
The Yoruba are likely to score more pronounced “Benin/Togo” amounts on averagethan the Igbo
The Igbo in their turn are likely to score more pronounced “Cameroon/Congo” scoreson average than the Yoruba
The Hausa/Fulani will in all likelyhood score much higher “Senegal” amounts than both the Yoruba and the Igbo on average
Obviously these are generalizing tendencies, there will always be individual variation. Also smaller ethnic groups such as the Edo and the Ijaw are likely to be more intermediate and hence more difficult to distinguish.
Actually in several scientific DNA papers it has already been established that ethnic groups within Africa can reliably be distinguished from each other as long as they are not neighbouring groups but rather geographically apart and preferably also belonging to different language families. It is important to stress that the basis for this distinction is not in some uniquely ethnic DNA markers which can only be found among one particular ethnicity but rather because of a distinctive proportional mix of ancestral components which results in separate clustering patterns. In fact this is also the foundation for the socalled Ethnicity Estimates on Ancestry.com. When limited to only 2 possible options it enables AncestryDNA to reliably predict – within a reasonable margin of error – if someone is Akan rather than Bakongo or make an accurate distinction between a person of Wolof descent versus a person of Igbo descent.
While modern-day Nigeria is home to more than 250 ethnic groups, the four largest account for almost 70% of the population.
The Hausa and Fulani
The Hausa people form one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. They are located primarily in northern Nigeria and southern Niger. The Hausa language is spoken as a first language by around 40 million people, more than any other language in sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria, the Hausa have integrated with the Fulani to the extent that the group is often referred to as Hausa-Fulani.
The Fulani are spread over many West African countries, including Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. Historically, the Fulani were nomads who kept cattle. They are also strongly linked to Islam; the Fulani led the jihads that helped establish the Sokoto Caliphate in Hausa lands during the 19th century. They are a minority population in each country they inhabit, with the exception of Guinea, where they represent 40% of the population. In Nigeria, the Hausa-Fulani account for about 30% of Nigeria’s population.
The Yoruba live in southwestern Nigeria and the southern portion of neighboring Benin. They make up about 20% of Nigeria’s population. The Yoruba were greatly affected by the transatlantic slave trade; their territory was one of the most significant slave-exporting regions in Africa during the 1800s. The largest concentrations of Yoruba ended up in Cuba, Brazil and Trinidad. The Igbo and Yoruba peoples from the Bights of Benin and Biafra constituted roughly one-third of all enslaved Africans transported to the Americas.
The Igbo people are another large and influential ethnic group in Nigeria. With a population of about 30 million, they are found primarily in southeastern Nigeria, as well as Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.
The transatlantic slave trade also had a massive impact on the Igbo. Many of those sold into slavery were kidnapped or captured as prisoners of war. Others were debtors or had been convicted of crimes. Several scholars assert that Igbo slaves were reputed to be especially rebellious; some would even commit suicide rather than endure enslavement. Elements of Igbo culture can still be seen in former New World colonies. For instance, Jamaican Creole uses the Igbo word for “you,” and a section of Belize City is named Eboe Town after its Igbo inhabitants. In the United States, a high concentration of slaves in Maryland and Virginia were Igbo, and they still constitute a large proportion of the African American population in the area.
Please note that genetic ethnicity estimates are based on individuals living in this region today. While a prediction of genetic ethnicity from this region suggests a connection to the groups occupying this location, it is not conclusive evidence of membership to any particular tribe or ethnic group.