An old Yoruba town, Lagos, beginning in the 15th cent., grew as a trade center and seaport. From the 1820s until it became a British colony, Lagos was a notorious center of the slave trade. Britain annexed the city in 1861, both to tap the trade in palm products and other goods with the interior and to suppress the slave trade. In 1906, Lagos was joined with the British protectorate of Southern Nigeria, and, in 1914, when Southern and Northern Nigeria were amalgamated, it became part of the small coastal Colony of Nigeria. In 1954 most of the colony was merged with the rest of Nigeria, but Lagos was made a separate federal territory. From the late 19th cent. to independence in 1960, Lagos was the center of the Nigerian nationalist movement. Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from independence until 1991, when the capital was moved to Abuja.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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