The mechanisms controlling the assembly of brain nuclei are poorly understood. In the forebrain, it is typically assumed that the formation of nuclei follows a similar sequence of events that in the cortex. In this structure, projection neurons are generated sequentially from common progenitor cells and migrate radially to reach their final destination, whereas interneurons are generated remotely and arrive to the cortex through tangential migration. Using the globus pallidus as a model to study the formation of forebrain nuclei, we found that the development of this basal ganglia structure involves the generation of several distinct classes of projection neurons from relatively distant progenitor pools, which then assemble together through tangential migration. Our results thus suggest that tangential migration in the forebrain is not limited to interneurons, as previously thought, but also involves projection neurons and reveal that the assembly of forebrain nuclei is more complex than previously anticipated.