History Of Enugu State: Local Government Areas, Headquarters And Population. The name of the state derives from its capital city, Enugu. The word “Enugu” (from Enu Ugwu) means “the top of the hill”. The first European settlers arrived in the area in 1909, led by a British mining engineer named Albert Kitson.
In his quest for silver, he discovered coal in the Udi Ridge. The Colonial Governor of Nigeria Frederick Lugard took a keen interest in the discovery, and by 1914 the first shipment of coal was made to Britain. As mining activities increased in the area, a permanent cosmopolitan settlement emerged, supported by a railway system.
Enugu acquired township status in 1917 and became strategic to British interests. Foreign businesses began to move into Enugu, the most notable of which were John Holt, Kingsway Stores, the British Bank of West Africa and the United Africa Company.
From Enugu the British administration was able to spread its influence over the Southern Province of Nigeria. The colonial past of Enugu is today evidenced by the Georgian building types and meandering narrow roads within the residential area originally reserved for the whites, an area which is today called the Government Reserved Area (GRA).
From being the capital of the Southern Provinces, Enugu became the capital of the Eastern Region (now divided into nine States), the capital of now defunct Federal Republic of Biafra, thereafter, the capital of East Central State, Anambra State, (old) Enugu State, and now the capital of the present Enugu State through a process of state creation and diffusion of administrative authority.