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Since the 17th century the location of present-day Enugu has been inhabited by the Nike () subgroup of the Igbo people; one of Enugu's neighbourhoods still retains the village's old name Ogui.
The main rivals of the mostly Igbo Eastern Nigerians were the Hausa/Fulani people of Northern Nigeria.
Igbos from northern and western Nigeria to return to their "native" areas in eastern Nigeria and Enugu became a destination.
Enugu was then renamed simply Enugu and developed as one of the few cities in West Africa created from European contact. As of 2005 there are no significant coal mining activities left in the city.
Enugu became the capital of the Eastern Region after Nigeria's independence in 1960; a succession of territorial adjustments in 1967, 19 led to Enugu becoming the capital of what is now Enugu State.
Many of the Zikists tried to use the Iva Valley shooting to fuel their nationalistic agenda and push the British imperial administration, out of Nigeria.
A British campaign to invade Arochukwu and open up the hinterland for British military and political rule was carried out in 1901.A war between the British and Aro officially started on 1 December 1901 lasting till 24 March 1902 when the Aro were defeated.
On the African side of the city a rapid influx of migrant workers sparked the development of squatter camps on the Udi Hills near the coal mines and the Iva Valley.Enugu is also one of the filming locations for directors of the Nigerian movie industry, dubbed "Nollywood".Enugu's main airport is the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.Enugu's population rose sharply with its industrialisation; the population of the city reached 62,000 in 1952.Mining in Enugu was sometimes turbulent, as demonstrated by the events of 18 November 1949 when 21 striking miners were shot and killed and 51 wounded by police under British governance.The city was named after Enugwu Ngwo, under which coal was found.