A 3000 square mile region
located in central Nigeria
, the plateau
rises through gentle slopes to a maximum height of 4200 feet
. Composed mainly of granite
, the area is covered by grasslands
, cut by the Gongola River
. It has a pleasant climate
, with average temperatures of 75 degrees fahrenheit
, and yearly rainfall
totals averaging 56 inches.
The Jos Plateau has some of the highest population densities in Nigeria, with the town of Jos as the region's chief center. It is the capital for Plateau State, one of 31 states in Nigeria, and was established in 1915 as a transport camp for local tin mines, before growing into a major administrative and processing center. Its 17 local counties are divided and governed roughly along the lines of the 20 local ethnic groups.
The plateau was used as a refuge in the 19th century, for non-Islamic people fleeing from the Islamic Fulani people. Since then the settlers have made their living mining tin, farming corn and yams, and raising cattle.