Plateau State is the twelfth largest state of Nigeria, and is roughly located in the centre of the country. Its capital is Jos. Plateau State is celebrated as "The Home of Peace and Tourism", an image that has been fractured in recent years by Muslim-Christian clashes in the state. Plateau State gets its name from the Jos Plateau. It has a population of around 3.5 million people.
Plateau state has been adjusted to its present borders many times. Colonial manipulation was from a desire to protect the railway construction and guarantee a safe passage of mined tin to the coast. There was also an attempt initially to create a province of largely non Muslims under one Resident. Later alterations came from strong local desires for self government.
The British began to exert colonial control of Nigeria in the early 20th century. At that time, much of Plateau State was part of Bauchi Province. In 1926, Plateau Province, made up of Jos and Pankshin Divisions, was carved out of Bauchi Province. The border changed several times in subsequent years as the government sought not to split ethnic groups. In May 1967, Benue and Plateau Provinces were merged to form the large Benue-Plateau State. At this time Nigeria had twelve states.
Following the civil war, Benue-Plateau State was one of several large states which were further split up following pressure on the Federal Government. Under the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon, The country was further divided into nineteen states in 1976 and Plateau State was created from Benue-Plateau State along the area of the original Plateau Province. In 1996, Plateau State was further subdivided to create Nasarawa State which was carved out of the western half of Plateau State by the Abacha military regime.
Tin mining activities began in 1902 under the British and continue to present day.
The State has over forty ethno-linguistic groups but no single group large enough to claim majority position. Some of the indigenous tribes in the State include: Afizere, Amo, Anaguta, Angas, Aten, Berom, Bogghom, Buji, Challa, Chip, Fier, Gashish, Goemai, Irigwe, Jarawa, Jukun, Kwagalak, Kwalla, Meryang, Miango, Miship, Montol, Mushere, Mupum, Mwaghavul, Ngas, Piapung, Pyem, Ron-Kulere, Rukuba, Taletc, Taroh, Youm. Each ethnic group has its own distinct language, but as with the rest of the country, English is the official language in Plateau State although Hausa has gained acceptability as a medium of communication. These people groups are predominantly farmers and have similar cultural and traditional ways of life. People from other parts of country have come to settle in Plateau State and generally coexist peacefully with the indigenes. These include the Hausa, Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, and Bini. Plateau State is predominantly Christian although the exact numbers aren't known.
In 1976, Plateau State had fourteen local government areas (LGAs). New LGAs were carved out of the large ones in 1989, 1991 and 1996, so that today, the new Plateau State is subdivided into the following seventeen LGAs:
* Barkin-Ladi * Bassa * Bokkos * Jos-East * Jos-North * Jos-South * Kanam * Kanke * Langtang-North * Langtang-South * Mangu * Mikang * Panshkin * Qua'an-Pan * Riyom * Shendam * Wase