Map of Lagos Island
Brazilian Influence on Lagos:
Yoyo Araromi House situated at the junction of Tokunbo and Oshodi Street, a fine piece of Brazilian architecture.
The Central Mosque along Nnamdi Azikiwe Street, which was started by Senhor Joao Baptistda Costa and completed by his trainee, Sanusi Aka
Shitta Mosque along Martin Street was built by Joao (Juan) Baptist da Costa who was second only to Francisco Nobre, the best of the Brazilian masons.
Top: Senhor Lazaro Borges da Silva, one of the master masons
Bottom: This fantastic plaster work at Odunfa Street was executed by the last of the Brazilian craftsmen about 1913.
In this remarkable and excellent historical journal, it is important to reproduce here that the great historian, Prof J F Ade Ajayi debunked the theory and the belief that the British bombarded Lagos because it was a notorious “slave depot” in 1851 or annexed it in 1861 because “the permanent occupation of this important point in the Bight of Benin is indispensable to the complete suppression of the slave trade” or the assertion that Britain acquired Lagos “reluctantly and almost under duress”. Or that “because the local ruler had revived the slave trade and reduced the flow of legitimate commerce to a trickle”
J F Ade Ajayi contended that “it is at best a half-truth to say Lagos was bombarded in 1851 because it was a “notorious slave depot”. The anxiety of the British to intervene in Lagos was not just the philanthropic desire to destroy the slave trading activities of the Portuguese and Brazilians there, but also the economic desire to control the trade of Lagos from which they had hitherto been excluded and from where they hoped to exploit the resources of the vast country stretching to and beyond the Niger”
In fact, the background to the British intervention in Lagos is the international rivalry that existed between the various European Powers to control the trade of important areas in West Africa…… Thus there was a strong commercial interest in Britain’s struggle against the slave trade. That is to say, the overseas slave trade, for the internal slave trade which was necessary for the development of legitimate trade was tolerated till the railways and wage labour made it unnecessary, J F Ade Ajayi wrote.
The dispute in 1811 between Akitoye and Kosoko, long before Britain started trying to divide African rulers into those for and those against the slave trade, was also a factor in the British intervention and eventual annexation of Lagos by the British.
I will endeavour to reproduce the whole article at a later date.
I would like to dedicate this effort in reproduction to the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (1938 – 2009), who, though not an Isale-Eko man, lived most, if not all his life in Lagos, and contributed immensely to the rich history and development of Lagos and Nigeria. May his soul rest in perfect Peace.
Eko o ni baje o.
(Please note that I am not from Lagos, but an Ibadan man; however, the history of Nigeria has always been my interest and hobby)