Lagos Travel Guide
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Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos ©
It is hard to believe that Lagos, Nigeria's biggest, busiest city with a population of roughly 8 million and counting, had its origins as a small Yoruba settlement. Spread over several large islands on a vast lagoon (hence its name) and the mainland near the Gulf of Guinea, Lagos is Nigeria's principal port and its commercial and cultural centre.
The former capital grew to prominence when it was 'discovered' by the Portuguese in the late 1400s and became a central trading post for the area, also serving as a major hub of the international slave trade. When the British annexed the city in 1861, they effectively put a stop to the slave trade, but took control of the trade and industry of the area. Once Nigeria gained independence in 1960, Lagos experienced a boom which swelled the city's population considerably and today, Lagos is one of the world's fastest-growing cities, with a full and complex tapestry of religious and ethnic groups.
The sprawling city is chaotic, crowded and lacks any major tourism infrastructure. Most visitors come here for business and there are few sights in the tourist sense. Streets are congested, drivers are maniacal and blackouts are common. However, the convoluted history of the city, and Nigeria as a whole, contributes to its exotic flavour. Lagos has an interesting National Museum, National Theatre, several markets and some decent beaches to explore.
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