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The modern city of Lagos developed from a fishing settlement originally founded in the fifteenth century by the Awori-Yoruba. Although it ceased to be the capital of Nigeria in 1991, Lagos remains the commercial, industrial, and political nerve center, and it was a critical factor in the development of the country, as this entry discusses.

Early Incursions

The intrusion of the Benin kingdom from the seventeenth century marked the first major external stimulus that shaped the fortunes of a community that rapidly developed into a melting pot of African and European elements. The abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and the establishment of British rule, two major developments of the first half of the nineteenth century, shaped the later development of the settlement. Declared a colony in ...

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