The founding of the famous state of Lagos had always been a mystery. Now the history as to how Lagos state came into existence has been unveiled.
Modern-day Lagos is now a state in South-Western Nigeria. It is bounded on the west by the Republic of Benin, to the north and east by Ogun State with the Atlantic Ocean providing a coastline on the south. Lagos is made up of a collection of islands surrounded by creeks that fringe the mouth of the Lagos lagoon on the southwest. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a stretch of loosely connected barrier islands and sand spits.
Names of Lagos
Lagos means “lakes” in Portuguese, the language of the first European-settlers known to visit the settlement, then already inhabited by the Awori, in 1472. From the first contacts with the region until the early 20th century, another Portuguese name for the city that was interchangeably used was Onim, finally abandoned in favor of Lagos. Another theory is that Lagos was named after the city of the same name in Portugal which at the time was a major maritime hub for seafaring activity on the Atlantic Ocean. Although Lagos translates to “lakes” in Portuguese, there’s no lake in the proximity of Lagos; Lagos is an Island. “Lagos” comes from the Portuguese word “Lagodikuramo”, (meaning “Calm-water”). Consistent with the serenity of coastal water. And, as usual practice, it was the British colonialist Lord Lugard who suggested abbreviating the name to “Lagos” as to rhyme with their tonal preference.
According to the oral history of Lagos, at some point around 1300-1400 CE, the Oba (King) of the Benin Empire heard from one of his traders complaints about being mistreated by the Awori who lived in the area of current day Lagos. The Oba of Benin then sent a trade expedition by sea to engage with the Awori people, who nonetheless declined to engage and attacked the mission sent by Benin.
Upon hearing this as the mission returned to Benin City, the Oba of Benin commanded the assembling of a war expedition, led by Ado, a prince of Benin, which headed to the settlement of the Awori in current-day Lagos, then called Eko by the Benin people, and demanded an explanation.
On getting there, Ado and his army were more than well received – the Awori from Lagos asked Benin Prince Ado to stay there and become their leader. Ado agreed, on the condition tha they surrendered their sovereignty to the Oba of Benin, to which the Awori people of Lagos agreed.
Upon hearing this, the Oba founding of founding of lagos state
Benin gave his permission for Prince Ado and the expedition to remain in Eko with the Awori. The Oba of Benin later sent some of his chiefs, including the Eletu Odibo, Obanikoro and others, to assist Ado in the running of Eko.