/lah"gohs, lay"gos/, n.
a seaport in SW Nigeria: former capital. 1,097,000.

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City (pop., 1999: urban agglomeration, 12,763,000) and chief port, Nigeria.

It is Nigeria's largest city, built on four main islands
Lagos, Iddo, Ikoyi, and Victoria
that are connected to each other and to the mainland by bridges. Its population is centered on Lagos Island, on the Bight of Benin. Part of the kingdom of Benin in the 16th century, it was inhabited largely by the Yoruba. Beginning in 1808, as Britain attempted to end the slave trade, Lagos came into increasingly greater contact with the British. It was ceded to Britain in 1861, became a crown colony, and was governed from Sierra Leone (1866–74) and as part of the Gold Coast colony (1874–86). Joined with the protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906, it was made the capital of the colony of Nigeria in 1914. It was the capital (1960–91) of independent Nigeria until Abuja became the new capital. It is a major trade and industrial centre.

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  city and chief port, Lagos state, Nigeria. Until 1975 it was the capital of Lagos state, and until December 1991 it was the federal capital of Nigeria. Ikeja replaced Lagos as the state capital, and Abuja replaced Lagos as the federal capital. Lagos, however, remained the unofficial seat of many government agencies. The city's population is centred on Lagos Island, in Lagos Lagoon, on the Bight of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea. Lagos is Nigeria's largest city and one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

      By the late 15th century Lagos Island had been settled by Yoruba fishermen and hunters, who called it Oko. The area was dominated by the kingdom of Benin, which called it Eko, from the late 16th century to the mid-19th century. The Portuguese first landed on Lagos Island in 1472; trade developed slowly, however, until the Portuguese were granted a slaving monopoly a century later. The local obas (kings) enjoyed good relations with the Portuguese, who called the island Onim (and, later, Lagos) and who established a flourishing slave trade. British attempts to suppress the slave trade culminated in 1851 in a naval attack on Lagos and the deposition of the oba. The slave trade continued to grow, however, until Lagos came under British control in 1861.

      Originally governed as a British crown colony, Lagos was part of the United Kingdom's West African Settlements from 1866 to 1874, when it became part of the Gold Coast Colony (modern Ghana). In 1886 it again achieved separate status under a British governor, and in 1906 it was amalgamated with the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. When Southern and Northern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914, Lagos was made the capital of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. In 1954 most of the hinterland was incorporated into the region of Western Nigeria, while the city itself was designated as federal territory. In 1960 Lagos became the capital of independent Nigeria. Control of its hinterland was returned to the city in 1967 with the creation of Lagos state. After 1975 a new national capital, centrally situated near Abuja, was developed to replace Lagos, which by then suffered from slums, environmental pollution, and traffic congestion.

      The topography of Lagos is dominated by its system of islands, sandbars, and lagoons. The city itself sprawls over four main islands: Lagos, Iddo, Ikoyi, and Victoria, which are connected to each other and to the mainland by a system of bridges. All the territory is low-lying, the highest point on Lagos Island being only 22 feet (7 metres) above sea level. The original settlement on the northwestern tip of Lagos Island is now a slum area characterized by narrow streets, poor housing, and overcrowding. The main business district occupies Lagos Island's southwestern shore and contains an increasing number of multistory buildings. This is the heart of the city, the centre of commerce, finance, administration, and education. The principal manufacturing industries in Lagos include automobile and radio assembly, food and beverage processing, metalworks, and the production of paints and soap. Textile, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical manufacturing are also economically important. There is also a fishing industry.

      The port of Lagos consists of Customs Quay, on Lagos Island, and the more important Apapa Quay, on the mainland, which serves as the principal outlet for Nigeria's exports. The creeks and lagoons are plied by small coastal craft. The city is the western terminus of the country's road and railway networks, and the airport at Ikeja provides local and international services.

      The Lagos metropolitan area is also a major educational and cultural centre. The University of Lagos (1962), the National Library, the Lagos City Libraries, and the National Museum (1957), with excellent historical examples of Nigerian arts and crafts, are all located in the city or its suburbs. The city is also the headquarters of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and the Nigerian Television Authority. Pop. (2002) 8,030,000.

      state, southwestern Nigeria, on the coast of the Bight of Benin. It is bounded by the state of Ogun to the north and east, by the Bight of Benin to the south, and by the Republic of Benin to the west. From 1914 to 1954 the area included in the state was administered by the British as part of the colony of Nigeria. The provisions of the 1954 constitution led to the creation of the Federal Territory of Lagos (the 27-square-mile [70-square-km] area of Lagos Island, including the city of Lagos) and to the transfer of the city's hinterland to the administrative region of Western Nigeria. This arrangement restricted the expansion of Lagos city onto the mainland, however, and in 1967 the creation of Lagos state by the national government restored to the city sovereignty over its hinterland.

      The state's mainly Yoruba population has grown more heterogeneous with the migration of other Nigerians and West Africans to Lagos city. Lagos state's agricultural and fishing output includes cassava (manioc), palm oil and kernels, coconuts, corn (maize), vegetables, fruits, and fish. These products are collected in the lagoon ports of Badagry, Epe, and Ikorodu and shipped to markets in Lagos city.

      Because of the limited space available on the three islands that constitute central Lagos city, industry has been concentrated at estates both inside (Apapa, Ijora, and Yaba) and outside (Ikeja and Mushin) the city, while the central city has increasingly become a commercial, financial, transportation, and service centre. In response to the overcrowding and congestion of Lagos, the federal government selected a new capital site, Abuja, which replaced Lagos as the national capital in December 1991. The state government centred in Lagos city was shifted to Ikeja in 1975. Additional bridges and feeder roads have also been constructed from the central city to the mainland, and the ports at Apapa and Tin Can Island have been incorporated into the metropolitan area to reduce harbour congestion.

      Lagos state is served by a main line of the Nigerian Railways (which has its central yards in Lagos city) and the trunk highway system; Ikorodu, Mushin, and Ikeja are thereby linked to Lagos city. Epe, the state's other major town, is served by secondary highways and is also a seaport. Lagos city has an international airport located in the suburb of Ikeja. Area 1,292 square miles (3,345 square km). Pop. (2006) 9,013,534.

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Universalium. 2010.

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