Niamey (nyämāˈ) [key], city (1988 pop. 398,265), capital of Niger and Tillabéry dept., SW Niger, a port on the Niger River. Niamey is Niger's largest city and its administrative and economic center. Much of its importance stems from its location on the Niger River at the crossroads of the country's two main highways. The city is the trade center for an agricultural region that specializes in growing peanuts. Manufactures include bricks, food products, beverages, ceramic goods, cement, and shoes. Niamey was a small town when the French colonized the area in the late 19th cent., but it grew after it became the capital of Niger in 1926. It is the site of the National School of Administration, a university, and the National Museum, which has ethnological and zoological collections.