History Of Lagos 2
History of Lagos – Part 2
Oba Akitoye of Lagos tried to put an end to the slave trade in 1841. This move was not accepted by the slave traders. They unitedly formed an opposition which dethroned Oba Akitoye and sent him into exile. After this, Akitoye’s brother was coronated as Oba Kosoko.
While Oba Akitoye was in exile in Europe, the Britains were also fighting against the transatlantic slave trade. They set up a team for this course known as the West Africa Squadron or Preventive Squadron continued to pursue Portuguese, American, French and Cuban slave ships. In order to enforce anti-slavery treaties in the West African Coast, the team created a strong presence from Sierra Leone through Nigeria to Congo.
In 1849, Britain appointed John Beecroft to be the Consul of the Bight of Benin and Biafra. At the time of Beecroft’s appointment, the Kingdom of Lagos, under Oba Kosoko, was in the western part of the Consulate of the Bight of Benin and Biafra and was a key slave trading port. In 1851, with pressure from some of the liberated slaves who already have influence in politics and business, there was a British intervention in Lagos known as the Bombardment of Lagos or Capture of Lagos. This intervention led to the removal of Oba Kosoko and re-installation of Oba Akitoye.
Before the coming of the Benin people, Lagos’s geographic boundary was Lagos Mainland. Lagos Island, the seat of the Oba of Lagos, then consisted of a pepper farm and fishing posts. No one lived there. The name Eko was given to Lagos by its first king, Oba Ado, during its early history. Eko means place of war.
Eko was the land area now known as Lagos Island where the king’s palace was built. The palace is called Iga Idunganran, meaning palace built on the pepper farm. Oba Ado and the warriors from Benin, as well as some of the indigenous people who sought safety, settled down in the southern part of Eko, called Isale Eko. Isale literally means bottom, but it is used to indicate downtown in Lagos.
On the 1st of January 1852, Oba Akitoye signed a treaty between Britain and Lagos which provided Britain’s military protection to Lagos and ushered in the Consular Period in Lagos. Lagos formally became a British colony in 1861.
Until today, the Oba of Lagos is the head of all the Kings in Lagos State and his status is different from other Obas most of whom were later given back their crowns and staff of office only within the last 40 years. Those who got their crowns back were the original landowners (Olofin’s children).
Today, Lagos is filled with people from different tribes and states within and outside Nigeria who work today to make it the center of excellence!