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This Is The History of Lagos

Lagos is the largest megacity on the African continent in terms of population. It was once the former capital of Nigeria. It has about 14.3 million people dwelling in the state according to the United Nations  in 2020. Lagos is also the fourth largest economy in Africa. Lagos is one of the southwestern States in Nigeria that is bounded on the west by the Republic of Benin, on the north and east by Ogun State and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. In the late 15th Century, Lagos Island was occupied by the yoruba hunters and fishermen who called the state Oko. The settlement was eventually dominated by the people of the Kingdom of Benin. They called the land Eko from the 16th to the mid 19th Century. The first European immigrants who visited the settlement of Lagos met the Abori and Bini people who referred to Lagos as Oko. A Portuguese explorer by name Rui de Sequeira visited the environment (Oko) and named the surrounding environment Lago de Curamo.

Eventually, people abandoned the name oko (and also Onim, Eko as it was known to some people) for Lagos which was coined from the Portuguese language which meant lakes or lagoons. It is still unofficially referred to as Eko to this day.

The first Oba of Lagos is Oba Ado. During his reign as King, Lagos was a major centre for slave trading. This was widely supported until two centuries later when Oba Akitoye ascended to the throne of Lagos and attempted to ban slave trading.

Many local merchants strongly disagreed with the intentions of Oba Akitoye. They eventually made a move and eventually dethroned and sent Oba Akitoye on exile. The King’s brother; Oba Kosoko  was eventually crowned King and slave trade continued. As Akitoye was on Exile in Europe in 1841, he called for British intervention to help him ban slave trading and regain his throne. Akitoye was eventually restored as King over Lagos in 1851

The British further went ahead to annexe Lagos Island as a colony in 1861. The remaining part of the Benin Empire which is the current day Nigeria was seized by the British in 1887. When the British established the colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914, Lagos was declared its capital. Lagos remained the capital until 1960 when it obtained its independence from Britain. A planned city of Abuja was raised to be the capital of Nigeria. Lagos was therefore the capital of Nigeria between  1914 to 1991 before being replaced by the city of Abuja. Ikeja replaced Lagos as the state capital of Lagos. Below is a list of all the Kings who ruled Lagos:

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 I (1885–1900)

Oba Eshugbayi Eleko (1901-1925 & 1932)

Oba Ibikunle Akitoye (1925–1928)

Oba Sanusi Olusi (1928–1931)

Oba Falolu Dosunmu (1932–1949)

Oba Adeniji Adele (1949–1964)

Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II (1965–2003)

Oba Rilwan Akiolu (2003–till date)

The current Lagos is now a metropolitan area which is a major educational and cultural centre. Lagos has the University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Lagos City Library, National Museum, National Library etc. Although Lagos is no longer the capital of Nigeria, there are still a lot of government agencies operating from Lagos. Lagos keeps attracting other tourists and business associates from other parts of the country.

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Written by Bols Jacobs

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