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According to the white paper of the commission of inquiry into the 1994 crisis, Ames, a British colonial administrator, said that the original name for Jos was Gwosh which was a village situated at the current site of the city; according to Ames, the Hausa wrongly pronounced Gwosh as Jos and it stuck.
Another version was that "Jos" came from the word "Jasad" meaning body.
To distinguish it from the hill tops, it was called "Jas," which was mis-pronounced by the British as "Jos." It grew rapidly after the British discovered vast tin deposits in the vicinity.
Both tin and columbite were extensively mined in the area up until the 1960s.
They were transported by railway to both Port Harcourt and Lagos on the coast, then exported from those ports. In 1967 it was made capital of Benue-Plateau State, becoming the capital of the new Plateau State in 1975.
Jos has become an important national administrative, commercial, and tourist centre.
Tin mining has led to the influx of migrants, mostly Igbos, Yorubas and Europeans, who constitute more than half of the population of Jos.
This "melting pot" of race, ethnicity and religion makes Jos one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria.
In 2004, the former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, was suspended for six months for failing to control the violence.
In November 2008, clashes between Christians and Muslims killed almost 400 and wounded many.
In spite of the communal clashes, visitors are surprised at the amount of activities still going on in the city.
Popularly called "J-town", it is the administrative capital of Plateau State.
The city is located on the Jos Plateau at an elevation of about 1,238 metres or 4,062 feet high above sea level.