Lagos is the most populous conurbation in Nigeria with 7,937,932 inhabitants at the 2006 census. It is currently the second most populous city in Africa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa (7th fastest in the world), immediately following Bamako. Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a huge metropolis which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, that fringe the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by long sand pits such as Bar Beach which stretch up to 100 km east and west of the mouth. From the beginning, Lagos has spread on the mainland west of the lagoon and the conurbation, including Ikeja and Agege, now reaches more than 40 km north-west of Lagos Island. The city is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria.
Lagos was a Yoruba settlement of Awori people initially called Oko. The name is thought to stem from either Oko (Yoruba: "cassava farm") or Eko (Edo: "war camp"). The Yoruba still use the name Eko when they speak of 'Lagos', a name which never existed in Yoruba language. It is likely that the name 'Lagos' was given to the town by the first Portuguese settlers who navigated from a coastal town of the same name in Portugal. The present day Lagos state has a higher percent of Awori, who migrated to the area from Isheri along the Ogun river. Throughout history, it was home to a number of warring ethnic groups who had settled in the area. During its early settlement, it also saw periods of rule by the Kingdom of Benin.
Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo; indeed the present name is Portuguese for "lakes". Another explanation is that Lagos was named for Lagos, Portugal - a maritime town which at the time was the main centre of the Portuguese expeditions down the African coast and whose own name is derived from the Latin word Lacobriga.
From 1404-1889 it served as a major centre of the slave trade, ruled over by Yoruba kings called the Oba of Lagos. In 1841 Oba Akitoye ascended to the throne of Lagos and tried to ban slave trading. Lagos merchants, most notably Madam Tinubu, resisted the ban, deposed the king and installed his brother Oba Kosoko.
While exiled, Oba Akitoye met with the British, who had banned slave trading in 1807, and got their support to regain his throne. In 1851 he was reinstalled as the Oba of Lagos.
Lagos was formally annexed as a British colony in 1861. This had the dual effect of crushing the slave trade and establishing British control over palm and other trades.
The remainder of modern-day Nigeria was seized in 1887, and when the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was established in 1914, Lagos was declared its capital. It continued to be the capital when Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960.
Lagos experienced rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Nigeria's economic boom prior to the Biafran War.
Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 up to 1991; it was stripped of this title when the Federal Capital Territory was established at the purpose-built city of Abuja. However, most government functions (especially the head of state) stayed in Lagos for a time since Abuja was still under construction. In 1991, the head of state and other government functions were finally relocated to the Capital city Abuja.
In 2002, an accidental detonation of military explosives caused the death of more than 1100 people.
The two major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon are Lagos Island and Victoria Island. These islands are separated from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic ocean, which forms Lagos Harbour. The islands are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected to Lagos Island by bridges. However the smaller sections of some creeks have been sand filled and built over.
Lagos Island contains many of the largest markets in Lagos, its central business district, the National Museum, the central mosque, and the Oba palace are located there. Though formerly in derelict condition, Tinubu Square on Lagos Island is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation ceremony that unified the North and South protectorate to form Nigeria took place in 1914.
Ikoyi situated on the eastern half of Lagos Island, housed the headquarters of the federal government and all other government buildings. It also has many hotels, and one of Africa's largest golf courses. Originally a middle class neighbourhood, in recent years, it has become a fashionable enclave for the upper middle class to the upper class.
Victoria Island and Lekki are situated to the south of Lagos Island. Along with Ikoyi, they are suburbs of Lagos which boasts of several sizable commercial and shopping districts (including Nigeria's largest mall and movie theater) and several trendy beaches.
Across the main channel of the lagoon from Lagos Island, a smaller island called Iddo Island is situated close to the mainland, and now is connected to the mainland like a peninsula. Three major bridges join Lagos Island to the mainland: Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge which start from Iddo Island, and the Third Mainland Bridge which passes through densely populated mainland suburbs through Lagos lagoon.
Most of the population live on the mainland,so, most of the industries are located on the mainland. Lagos is known for its music and night life which used to be located in areas around Yaba and Surulere but in recent years more night clubs have sprung on the island making the island especially Victoria Island, the main nightlife attraction, Mainland districts include Ebute-Meta, Surulere, Yaba (Lagos) (site of the University of Lagos), Mushin, Maryland, Isolo, Ikotun, Ipaja, Ejigbo and Ikeja, site of Murtala Muhammed International Airport and capital of Lagos State.