Rivers State is one of the 36 states of Nigeria. According to census data released in 2006, the state has a population of 5,185,400, making it the sixth-most populous state in the country.
Its capital, Port Harcourt is the largest city and is economically significant as the centre of Nigeria’s oil industry.
Rivers State is bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, to the North by Imo, Abia and Anambra States, to the East by Akwa Ibom State and to the West by Bayelsa and Delta states. It is home to many indigenous ethnic groups: Ikwerre, Ibani, Opobo, Okrika, and Kalabari, Etche, Ogba, Ogoni, Engenni and others.
The inland part of Rivers state consists of tropical rainforest; towards the coast the typical Niger Delta environment features many mangrove swamps.
Rivers state, named after the many rivers that border its territory, was part of the Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 till 1893, when it became part of the Niger Coast Protectorate. In 1900 the region was merged with the chartered territories of the Royal Niger Company to form the colony of Southern Nigeria.
The state was formed in 1967 with the split of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. Until 1996 the state contained the area which is now in Bayelsa State.