History of Lagos: Things you must know.

History of Lagos: Things you must know.

Lagos state is the smallest state in Nigeria with respect to land area with a total area of about 3577km square. Lagos is also the former capital of Nigeria and the largest megacity on the African continent in terms of population ” Approx. 21m, with the 4th largest economy in Africa.

Lagos is located in the southwest of Nigeria. Historians differ about its orgination. below will the the the review of the history of Lagos.

Lagos Island (Eko) is one of the oldest kingdoms on the West African Coast. Lagos was one of the earliest recipients of European traders and travellers in what is now modern Nigeria. History have it that the Portuguese merchants who because of the geographical location of Lagos on the lagoon, gave the Island its name Lagos. Lagos (EKO) is a name whose origin is told in two well-known traditional but controversial accounts.

One version of the history relates to the Advent of Awori, while the other is connected to Benin adventures in Lagos. History have it that the Awori settlement in Lagos was earlier than that of the Benin which eventually subjugated the emergent settlement. Lagos evolves as a veritable place of migration by many Yoruba groups.

Olofin (the leader of the Awori at Iddo) was said to have divided Lagos among his children. Losi would want us to believe that Aromire, as a son of Olofin left Iddo for Isale Eko, while his brothers settled in other areas of Lagos Island. The sons of Olofin, who settled in different parts of Lagos, became the class of chiefs known till this day as Idejo.

On the other side, the accounts of Benin relations with Lagos were fundamental to the evolution and eventual administration of the emergent settlement. A perusal of the various accounts suggests what could be described as hostility and accommodation. After several failed attacks of the Island and later conquest, Benin first encamped at Enu Owa but eventually moved to Idunganran, not far from their original settlement. The Benin/Edo connection with Lagos had indelible implications for the governance of the emergent city-state. Benin undoubtedly established a monarchical system which borrowed considerably from the Yoruba system of kingship. The Obaship in Lagos became a centralized one akin to the system in Benin and Idunganran as the seat of government.

While Oba Ado and Oba Gabaro were busy with consolidating their footholds on the Island, the business of building a central monarchical system in Lagos was the handiwork of Oba Akinsemoyin. It is important to recall that those who assisted Akinsemoyin in his administration became the class of chiefs known as Akarigbere. These chiefs were Benin/Edo dominated. There were other two classes of chiefs: the Ogalade and the Abagbon. Not only was Akinsemoyin an architect of centralized government in Lagos, but he was also good at trading and fostering relationships with Europeans, most especially the Portuguese. Akinsemoyin would seem to have followed this line of action with a view to improving the position of Lagos vis-à-vis other coastal areas of West Africa. Apart from that, Akinsemoyin was also reported to be enthusiastic about Lagos traders who were encouraged to travel to such areas as Badagri, Awori and Egbado areas to buy goods such as cloth, palm kernels, palm oil and other materials for exchange with gunpowder, tobacco and salt among Europeans on the Lagos Island. It is not an exaggeration to say that before the death of Akinsemoyin, Lagos had become not only an entrepot that had become popular in the hinterland of Yorubaland, but also perceived by European travellers as an Island that could yield benefit to European traders.

The concern is that the Akitoye-Kosoko contention for the throne led to British active involvement in local politics. The reason for British intervention is not farfetched. Lagos Island was fast becoming an important seaport for European trade with West Africa. It was, therefore, the intention of the British to have a larger share of the trade with Lagos pushing aside other European rivals like the Germans and the French. The British eventually supported Akitoye against Kosoko and this provided the ground for the bombardment of 1851.

To know more about the History of Lagos read Professor H.O. Danmole, formerly Professor of History, University of Ilorin and Lagos State University, currently Professor and Dean, Faculty of The Humanities and Social Sciences, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin. Academic research on History of Lagos

History of Lagos Kings: Obas of Lagos(Eko).

Ashipa (1600–1630) died on the way back to Benin
King Ado              (1630–1669) first King of Lagos
King Gabaro       (1669–1704)
King Akinsemoyin            (1704–1749)
Eletu Kekere      (1749)
King Ologun Kutere         (1749–1775)
Adele Ajosun     (1775-1780 & 1832-1834)
Eshilokun             (1780–1819)
Oba Idewu Ojulari           (1819–1832)
King Oluwole     (1836–1841)
King Akintoye    (1841-1845 & 1851-1853)
Oba Kosoko        (1845–1851)
King Dosunmu [Docemo]             (1853–1885)
Oba Oyekan       (1885–1900)
Oba Esugbayi Eleko         (1901-1925 & 1932)
Oba Ibikunle Akitoye      (1925–1928)
Oba Sanusi Olusi               (1928–1931)
Oba Falolu           (1932–1949)
Oba Adeniji Adele           (1949–1964)
Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II               (1965–2003)
Oba Rilwan Akiolu            (2003–present)

History of Lagos: Things you must know.

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  1. Jenifer michael

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