Some say Lagos is a no man’s land, is it true? Well, we will definitely know at the end of this article.

How come all other states have founding fathers and when it comes to Lagos it becomes “we all own Lagos and it belongs to everyone and nobody”.

Funny right? Okay, this article will capture some salient parts of Lagos history, its obas and some few places but highly of great importance to etymology.

Not to worry, the article will not bore you but just an eye-opener to some interesting facts.

Shall we? Yes, we shall!

Brief History of Lagos

Lagos was originally inhabited by the Awori subgroup of the Yoruba people in the 15th century. So this looked sorted out right!

Under the leadership of the Oloye Olofin, the Awori moved to an island now called Iddo and then to the larger Lagos Island.

In the 16th century, the Awori settlement was conquered by the Oyo Empire and the island became a Oyo war camp called “Eko” under Oba, at the time.

Eko is still the native name for Lagos.

Lagos (Portuguese for “lakes”) was a name given to the settlement by the Portuguese. Meaning that we had a first point of contact with the Portugal folks.

But how come Nigeria was colonized by Britain and not Portugal? A story for another day friends.

Throughout history, it was home to a number of warring ethnic groups who had settled in the area.

Following its early settlement by the Awori nobility and its conquest by the Oyo warlords, the state first came to the attention of the Portuguese in the 15th century.

Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo, which means Lake of Curamo.

And in the early 19th century came the British empire and I guess we all know what happened. Hence, here we are till date.

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Detailed Fact About Lagos

Lagos ( in Yoruba: Èkó) is the most populous city in Nigeria and the second-largest city in Africa after Kinshasa, DRC.

It is with a population of 14.8 million as of 2021 within the city proper.

The Lagos metropolitan area has a total population of 21.3 million, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in Africa, after Cairo.

The City is a major African financial center and is the economic hub of Lagos State and Nigeria at large.

The megacity has the fourth-highest GDP in Africa and houses one of the largest and busiest seaports on the continent.

Lagos is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

Obas (Kingship)

The Oba of Lagos, otherwise known as the Eleko of Eko, is the traditional, yet ceremonial, sovereign of Lagos.

The king has no political power but is sought as a counsel or sponsor by Nigerian politicians who seek support from the various residents of Lagos.

Among other ceremonial roles, the Oba appears in tourism advertisements on behalf of the city, often stating, “you’ve gotta go to Lagos”.

The official residence of the king, since 1630, is Iga Idunganran.

A castle believed to be constructed by the Portuguese over the course of close to a century.

It is today a very popular tourist site.

List of the obas till date

Ashipa (c. 1682-1716)

Ado (1716–1755) (son of Ashipa)

Gabaro (1755–1760)

Akinsemoyin (c. 1760-1775)

Eletu Kekere (c. 1775 – 1780)

Ologun Kutere (also Ologunkutere) (1780-1801) or until 1803

Interregnum between Ologun Kutere and Adele (c 1805 – c. 1810/11)

Adele Ajosun (1811-1821)

Oṣinlokun Ajan (Oshinlokun, Eshinlokun) (1821–1829)

Idewu Ojulari (1829–1832) or until 1835

Adele Ajosun (second term) (1835-1837)

Oluwole (1837-1841)

Akitoye (1841-1845)

Kosoko (1845–1851)

Akitoye (second term) (1851-1853)

Dosunmu (1853–1885)

Oyekan I (1885–1900)

Eshugbayi Eleko (1901-1925)

Ibikunle Akitoye (1925–1928)

Sanusi Olusi (1928–1931)

Eshugbayi Eleko (second term) (1931-1932)

Falolu Dosunmu (1932–1949)

Adeniji Adele (1949–1964)

Adeyinka Oyekan II (1965–2003)

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Rilwan Akiolu (2003– till date)

Awesome right!

Some Key Places That Shaped Lagos History

Are you living in Lagos without knowing Lagos? Read this and know “Èkó for show”!!!

1. Ojota

Ojota used to be a military settlement in the late 18th century and soldiers practiced their shooting there.

The area had several gun firing spots and became known as “Oju Ota” in Yoruba which means “Bullet spots”.

It later metamorphosed into Ojota which it is called now.

2. Abule Egba

This area is on the outskirts of Lagos and got its name from the early settlers who were Egba people from Abeokuta.

The area was first called “Abule awon egba” in Yoruba, which means “Village of Egba people”. It later became “Abule Egba”.

3. Apongbon

Apongbon is one of Lagos’ most popular markets, and it’s also quite close to the popular Oke-Arin market.

It got its name from the then-acting governor of the Lagos colony, William McCoskry, who had a Red Beard.

The Yorubas who couldn’t pronounce the colonial governor’s name decided to describe him by his red beard and started calling him *“Oyinbo to pon ni agbon”* (Apon l’agbon) meaning a red-bearded man. It later became Apongbon.

4. Magodo

Magodo is now a posh area, but in the past, it used to be sacred land.

The residents had a lot of taboos and one of them was to avoid using mortars and pestles, “Ma gun odo” which means “Don’t pound it”. It later became Magodo

5. Epetedo

Epe is named after the early settlers who were Epe traders. The area became dominated by the Epes and they still trade there until today.

6. Ebute-Metta

Ebute-Metta is one of the earliest harbor docks where British ships berthed at. It was a hub for trade and commerce in colonial times.

Ebute-Metta is a fusion of the words “Ebute” which means the seaside in Yoruba, and “Metta” which means three. The three shores are Iddo, Otto, and Oko baba.

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7. Broad street

The broad street used to be one of the longest and widest streets in the city. It got its name from its broadness.

However, Broad Street was later changed to Yakubu Gowon Street but later changed back to Broad street when Gowon was accused of participating in the coup that led to the death of Murtala Ramat Mohammed.

8. Agidingbi

The British Naval forces invaded Lagos in 1885 under the pretext of stopping slavery and human sacrifice.

The noise their canon made was really loud, and the sound was heard around the streets of Lagos Island.

The people described the sound as “A gidi n gbinnn”. Which means a loud groundbreaking noise. The name Agidingbi was borne out of this.

9. Victoria Island

Victoria Island was also a major hub for commerce and British ships berthed there often. It’s named after Queen Victoria of England who was Queen from 1837-1901.

10. Ikeja

Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, is actually an abbreviation for “Ikorodu and Epe Joint Administration”, IKEJA. It was coined by the colonial masters for ease of administration.”

11. Badagry

The name Badagry was derived from the city’s indigenes’ methods of subsistence, which include fishing, farming, and salt production.

Some think the city was called after Agbedeh, a well-known farmer whose farm, Agbadarigi, was renamed Badagry by Europeans.

Badagry served as a corridor for Europeans to carry slaves to new destinations in the early eighteenth century.

Its cenotaph is called “Point of No Return,” and the well at this location was charmed to make slaves who drank from it forget their fate.

Badagry was one of the routes that benefited from the ongoing slave trade conflict between Portnovo and Dahomey at the end of the eighteenth century.

Slaves taken during inter-villages conflict were auctioned off at Badagry.

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