Until 1991, Lagos was the capital of Nigeria,
a position it had held since 1914. Then the purpose built city of Abuja was
established and the capital transferred. Despite losing its capital status,
Lagos remains the largest and most prosperous city in Nigeria with a
population of around eight million and is located on islands separated by
creeks as the interactive map of the city below shows. Historically, Lagos was named by the Portuguese (Lagos is Portuguese
for lake) after the explorer Rui de Sequeria visited the area in 1472. By that
time Lagos was already a slave trade centre ruled by Yoruba Kings called the Oba.
When the new king Oba Akitoye ascended the throne in 1841 he was overthrown by
Lagos traders opposed to his attempt to ban slavery, and his brother, Oba Kosoko
was installed as Oba.
The British, who were setting down place markers in the
area, supported his restoration in 1851 and then, a decade later, annexed Lagos
as a British colony. Slavery was then abolished and the remainder of Nigeria was
taken as a British colony in 1887 as part of the scramble for Africa.
In 1914 Lagos was declared the capital of the Protectorate of Nigeria.
Today Lagos is home
to around 8 million people although some put the figure much higher at between
12- 15 million, not least because of the thousands who pour into the city daily
in search of work. It is estimated that within the next few years Lagos will be
the world's third largest city after Tokyo and Mumbai at its current rate of
growth. Whilst no longer Nigeria's capital, its remains the country's most
prosperous city and its commercial and finance centre.
For visitors it has
a number of attractions worth visiting from the Black Heritage Museum that
explores 300 years of the slave trade through Lagos and the Lekki Conservation
Centre some twenty minutes from Lagos with its raised walkway through a jungle
environment from where many species of wild animals can be observed. Also worth
a look are the Didi Museum, the Nike Art Gallery and the National Theatre of
Arts & Culture whilst those seeking to relax will enjoy time on the beaches at
Eleko, Lekki and Tarkwa