Both the Aro and Hausa migrated back and forth to what is now the city of Enugu and were considered foreigners to the area.
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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.
In 1900 the Southern Nigeria Protectorate was established by the colonial administration of the British Empire.
The city had a population of 722,664 according to the 2006 Nigerian census.
The city was named after Enugwu Ngwo, under which coal was found.
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.
In 1938 Enugu became the administrative capital of the Eastern Region.
Along with the Aro people who came to trade from Arochukwu in the south were the Hausa people who came to trade from the north.