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Jos

The meaning of «jos»

Jos /ˈdʒoʊs/ is a city in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. The city has a population of about 900,000 residents based on the 2006 census.[1] Popularly called "J-Town", it is the administrative capital and largest city of Plateau State.

The city is located on the Jos Plateau at about 1,238 metres or 4,062 feet above sea level. During British colonial rule, Jos was an important centre for tin mining and is the trading hub of the state as commercial activities are steadily increasing.

The earliest known settlers of the land that would come to be known as Nigeria were the Nok people (circa 1000 BC), skilled artisans from around the Jos area who mysteriously vanished in the late first millennium.[2]

According to the historian Sen Luka Gwom Zangabadt,[3] the area known as Jos today was inhabited by indigenous ethnic groups who were mostly farmers. According to Billy J. Dudley,[4] the British colonialists used direct rule for the indigenous ethnic groups on the Jos Plateau since they were not under the Fulani emirates where indirect rule was used. According to the historian Samuel N Nwabara,[5] the Fulani empire controlled most of northern Nigeria, except the Plateau province and the Berom, Mwaghavul, Ngas, Tiv, Jukun and Idoma ethnic groups. It was the discovery of tin by the British that led to the influx of other ethnic groups such as the Igbo, Yoruba, thus making Jos a cosmopolitan city.

According to the white paper of the commission of inquiry into the 1894 crisis, Ames, a British colonial administrator, said that the original name for Jos was Gwosh in Afizere (the first settlers in the area) language which was a village situated at the current site of the city; according to Ames, the Hausa, who arrived there after, wrongly pronounced Gwosh as Jos and it stuck.[6] Another version was that "Jos" came from the word "Jasad" meaning body. To distinguish it from the hill tops, it was called "Jas", which was mis-pronounced by the British as "Jos". It grew rapidly after the British discovered vast tin deposits in the vicinity. Both tin and columbite were extensively mined in the area up until the 1960s. They were transported by railway to both Port Harcourt and Lagos on the coast, then exported from those ports. Jos is still often referred to as "Tin City". It was made capital of Benue-Plateau State in 1967, and became the capital of the new Plateau State in 1975. Jos has become an important national administrative, commercial, and tourist centre. Tin mining has led to the influx of migrants (mostly Igbos, Yorubas and Europeans) who constitute more than half of the population of Jos. This "melting pot" of race, ethnicity and religion makes Jos one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria. For this reason, Plateau State is known in Nigeria as the "home of peace and tourism".

Excellent footage of Jos in 1936 including the tin mines, local people and the colonial population is held by the Cinema Museum in London ref HM0172. [1]

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