My feet first touched Nigerian soil in 1972. Lagos State was a mere five years old. Eko Bridge (1975) had not yet been completed; the only bridge that connected the mainland (and Apapa where we lived) with Lagos Island was Carter Bridge.
Of course, Lagos (Èkó in Yoruba) has a much longer history than 50 years, in fact, people have inhabited these islands for centuries. The actual founding of the area is lost; however, it is recorded that the first people to settle in the fifteenth century were known as Awori, a Yoruba subgroup.
Lagos meaning ‘lakes’ named by the Portugese explorers around 1472, naming the Lago de Curamo. Lagos was first a port city originated on a collection of islands that are separated by creeks. Open to the Atlantic Ocean, it was protected by long sand bars, now completely urbanized. The islands consist of Victoria, Ikoyi and Lagos Islands are the network islands which are separated from the Mainland.
Before the creation of Lagos State on 27 May 1967, Lagos, which was the country’s capital. Eventually towns—Epe, Badagry, Agege, Ikeja, Ikorodu— from nearby regions were incorporated into Lagos State.
To celebrate Lagos State at 50, I am posting a series of articles (from my private collection) written in 1952, 1961, and 1969 for the Nigeria Magazine. Nigeria Magazine of 1961 published a special centenary supplement to celebrated one hundred years (1861-1961) since the Yoruba Kingdom of Lagos was ceded to Britain by its ruler, Dosunmu. On the 1st of October 1960, Lagos became the capital of Nigeria. Today, Abuja is the capital of Nigeria but Lagos remains the a mega commercial centre of Nigeria and Africa.
Read about Lagos :
LAGOS—Nigeria’s Melting Pot (1961)
Eko Bridge (1969)
A Walk Through Lagos Island
To view captions, pass the cursor over the photograph.
All rights reserved by Lesley Lababidi.