African nation, named for the river Niger, mentioned by that name 1520s (Leo Africanus), probably an alteration (by influence of Latin niger "black") of a local Tuareg name, egereou n-igereouen, from egereou "big river, sea" + n-igereouen, plural of that word. Translated in Arabic as nahr al-anhur "river of rivers."
Republic in western Africa, bordered by Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria to the northwest, Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, and Nigeria and Benin to the south. Niamey is the capital and largest city.
Note: Niger was under French control from the 1880s to 1960, when it gained full independence.