1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lagos (Nigeria)

LAGOS, a seaport of West Africa, capital of the British colony and protectorate of Southern Nigeria, in 6° 26′ N., 3° 23′ E. on an island in a lagoon named Lagos also. Between Lagos and the mainland is Iddo Island. An iron bridge for road and railway traffic 2600 ft. long connects Lagos and Iddo Islands, and another iron bridge, 917 ft. long, joins Iddo Island to the mainland. The town lies but a foot or two above sea-level. The principal buildings are a large government house, the law courts, the memorial hall erected to commemorate the services of Sir John Glover, used for public meetings and entertainments, an elaborate club-house provided from public funds, and the police quarters. There are many substantial villas that serve as quarters for the officers of the civil service, as well as numerous solidly-built handsome private buildings. The streets are well kept; the town is supplied with electric light, and there is a good water service. The chief stores and depôts for goods are all on the banks of the lagoon. The swamps of which originally Lagos Island entirely consisted have been reclaimed. In connexion with this work a canal, 25 ft. wide, has been cut right through the island and a sea-wall built round its western half. There is a commodious public hospital, of the cottage type, on a good site. There is a racecourse, which also serves as a general public recreation ground. Shifting banks of sand form a bar at the sea entrance of the lagoon. Extensive works were undertaken in 1908 with a view to making Lagos an open port. A mole has been built at the eastern entrance to the harbour and dredgers are at work on the bar, which can be crossed by vessels drawing 13 ft. Large ocean-going steamers anchor not less than 2 m. from land, and goods and passengers are there transhipped into smaller steamers for Lagos. Heavy cargo is carried by the large steamers to Forcados, 200 m. farther down the coast, transhipped there into branch boats, and taken via the lagoons to Lagos. The port is 4279 m. from Liverpool, 1203 from Freetown, Sierra Leone (the nearest safe port westward), and 315 from Cape Coast.

The inhabitants, about 50,000, include, besides the native tribes, Sierra Leonis, Fanti, Krumen and the descendants of some 6000 Brazilian emancipados who were settled here in the early days of British rule. The Europeans number about 400. Rather more than half the populace are Moslems.