Bayelsa is a southern state in Nigeria, located in the core of the Niger Delta region. Bayelsa State was formed in 1996 from Rivers State, making it one of the newest states in the federation. The name of the state, Bayelsa, is a combination of the first few letters of the major local government areas within its confines: Brass LGA (BALGA), Yenagoa LGA (YELGA), and Sagbama LGA (SALGA). The state borders Rivers State, of which it was formerly part, and Delta State.
Bayelsa is predominantly Ijaw, with the Ijaw languages being widely spoken within the state. The state is the smallest in Nigeria by population as of the 2006 census, as well as one of the smallest by area. Being in the Niger Delta region, Bayelsa State has a riverine and estuarine setting, with bodies of water within the state preventing the development of significant road infrastructure.
As a state in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the Bayelsa State's economy is dominated by the petroleum industry. The state is the site of Oloibiri Oilfield, where oil was first discovered in Nigeria, and as of 2015 was estimated to produce 30-40% of the country's oil. Though being the site of one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in the country contributes to local economic development, the state remains plagued by rampant poverty as well as pollution stemming from oil spills.