Lagos is a name that evokes different images for different people. For some, it is the bustling metropolis of Nigeria, the largest city in Africa and one of the most populous in the world. For others, it is the quaint coastal town of Portugal, a popular destination for sun-seekers and surfers. But did you know that these two cities share a common history and a common name?
The Origin Of Lagos
The name Lagos comes from the Portuguese word for “lakes”. This is because the Portuguese town of Lagos is situated on a lagoon that forms a natural harbor. The town was founded by the Romans, who called it Lacobriga, and later became an important port for the Moors and the Christians during the Middle Ages.
The Nigerian city of Lagos, on the other hand, was originally called Eko by the indigenous Yoruba people. Eko was a fishing village and a trading center that grew into a powerful kingdom. In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers arrived in the region and established contact with the local rulers. They named the area Lagos, after their own town, and began to trade in slaves, gold, ivory, and spices.
The Legacy Of Lagos
The slave trade had a profound impact on both Lagos. The Portuguese town of Lagos became one of the main hubs of the Atlantic slave trade, sending thousands of Africans to the Americas and the Caribbean. The town prospered from the lucrative business, but also witnessed the horrors and atrocities of slavery. Many monuments and museums in Lagos today commemorate the victims and the abolitionists of the slave trade.
The Nigerian city of Lagos also grew from the slave trade, but in a different way. Many of the slaves who were captured or sold by the local chiefs were from the hinterland of Nigeria, not from the coastal areas. Therefore, Lagos became a melting pot of diverse ethnic groups, cultures, and languages. The city also attracted many freed slaves and returnees from the Americas and the Caribbean, who brought with them new skills, ideas, and influences. Lagos became a center of commerce, education, politics, and culture in Nigeria and West Africa.
The Contrast Of Lagos
Today, the two Lagos are very different in size, population, and development. The Portuguese town of Lagos has about 31,000 inhabitants, while the Nigerian city of Lagos has over 21 million. The former is a peaceful and picturesque place, with a rich historical and cultural heritage. The latter is a dynamic and chaotic place, with a vibrant and diverse society.
The Portuguese town of Lagos is a beachy popular tourist attraction, with many attractions and activities for visitors. The town has a charming old town, with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, and colorful tiles. The town also has several beautiful beaches and lakes, where people can enjoy swimming, surfing, sailing, and fishing. The town also has a lively nightlife, with many bars, restaurants, and clubs.
The Nigerian city of Lagos is a huge commerce hub, with many opportunities and challenges for residents. The city has a modern skyline, with skyscrapers, bridges, and highways. The city also has many markets, malls, and businesses, where people can find anything they need or want. The city also has a rich cultural scene, with many museums, galleries, theaters, and festivals. The city also has a notorious traffic, with many cars, buses, and motorcycles.
The Connection Of Lagos
Despite their differences, the two Lagos have some things in common. Both are coastal cities, with a strong connection to the sea and the maritime trade. Both are multicultural cities, with a mix of people from different backgrounds and origins. Both are historical cities, with a legacy of colonialism and slavery. And both are named Lagos, a name that reflects their past and their present.