TRIBES AND CULTURE: THE BADAGRY PEOPLE OF LAGOS.

Background of the People of Badagry.

Traditionally referred to as Gbagle, Badagry is a coastal town and local government area (LGA) in Lagos State, Nigeria. It is situated between the city of Lagos, and the border with Benin at Seme.

The name Badagry was culled from the means of livelihood of the indigenes of the city which include fishing, farming, salt making. Others believe the city got its name from ‘Agbadarigi’—a farm owned by a popular farmer of that time, Agbedeh. The farm was one of the reasons Europeans explored. Agbadarigi would later be rephrased for easy pronunciation by the Europeans to ‘Badagry’.

In the early eighteen century Badagry serve as a route for the Europeans where slaves were transported to new destination of their buyers. It homes the cenotaph –‘Point of No Return’ stream. The well at this place was enchanted to ensure slaves that drink from it forget their source.

At the end of eighteen century, Badagry was one of the routes that benefited from the recurrent battle between Portnovo and Dahomey for the movement of slave. Badagry was noted as the auction point for slaves captured during inter-villages warfare.

Badagry is a monarchy headed by the Wheno Aholuship, a kingship head by the Akran of Badagry and his seven white cap high chiefs. The white cap chiefs administer the eight quarters into which Badagry is divided, they include Ahovikoh, Boekoh, Jegba, Posukoh, Awhanjigo, Asago, Whalako and Ganho. These quarters and the families that ruled them played prominent roles in brokering slave trade with the Europeans and Brazilians.

History of the People of Badagry.

Founded in the early 15th century on a lagoon off the Gulf of Guinea, its protected harbour led to the town becoming a key port in the export of slaves to the Americas, which were mainly to Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. It was also such a big departure point for slaves headed for French Saint-Domingue, today’s Haiti, that a main God of Haiti’s Official Religion of Vodun is called Ogun-Badagri.

The settlement in Ketu, present-day Benin Republic (formerly known as Dahomey), might be an appropriate starting point for a brief history of the Gbe-speaking peoples. In Ketu, the ancestors of the Gbe-speaking peoples separated themselves from other refugees and began to establish their own identity.

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