Badagry as a town has been in existence for many years. The ancient town of Badagry was founded off the lagoon of the Gulf of Guinea in the 15th century around the year 1425 A.D.
Before what we now know as the town of Badagry, the people lived along the coast of Gbeferu which led to the town being formed. Badagry which is the second largest town in Lagos State is surrounded by lakes, creeks and island.
It is believed that the town Badagry was founded by a popular farmer known as Agbedeh who had a farm that was well known and named after him.
The name Badagry is said to been created largely due to the occupation of the people which included fishing, farming, and making salt which was made possible due to the numerous trees as well as Ocean water available.
In the year 1863, the town of Badagry was cut out and added to the state of Lagos by the United Kingdom and became a part of Nigeria in 1901.
Badagry era of slave trade
Founded of the Gulf of Guinea, Badagry became a major spot for slave trading. The activity of slave trading started in 1440 and was mainly done by exporting slaves to Portugal and later to Salvador, Bahia in Brazil.
During this period slaves were been traded for animals. There were situations where a horse will be exchanged for about 30 slaves during this period.
By the year 1593, a lot of slaves had been sold to markets in Spain and Italy and at the turn of the 16th century a large amount of slaves had also been sold to markets in Portugal.
During this period, a Nigerian slave from the Yoruba tribe had a business proposal for the foreigners who were involved in the slave trade. He made a bargain with them and agreed to supply them slaves if they agreed to give him to give him his freedom.
The foreigners agreed to the man’s proposal and gave him his freedom so he could start supplying them slaves on a regular basis.
For him to be able to carry out his duties very well, the man went back to Badagry to build what was known as the Brazilian Baracoon. He built the Brazilian Baracoon so he could have a place where he would keep the slaves waiting to be transported to various locations.
These Baracoons he built were small rooms but he still found a way to accommodate up to 40 people at a time in each room by placing them in an upright position where they stayed for days before being sold to the foreigners.
To be able to get the slaves, he went aroun scouting villages for people and was able to capture the villagers and take them back to his camp and sell them in the slave market called Vlekete which was founded in 1510. Today these small rooms are now residential homes.
Religions in Badagry
After the slave trade period, religion became an important aspect of the people’s lives. Badagry later became a town where Christian mission workers came to and practiced their work.
Christianity was referred to as the white man’s religion and was first preached in Nigeria when it was preached in the town of Badagry.
The place and area where Christianity was preached in the town of Badagry was known as Agiya Tree Monument and was located near the Badagry town hall. The first man to preach about Christianity was a man called Rev Bernard Freeman.
Education in in Badagry
In terms of education and its impact on the educational sector, the first time Nigeria had an experience of an educational system was in the town of Badagry in 1845 under British rule when the first primary school was built.
The primary school was named St. Thomas (ANGLICAN) Primary School. Over one hundred years later in 1955, the first secondary school was built in the town of Badagry and was called Badagry Grammar School.
The first Building in in Badagry
There is a storey building that is normally referred to as the first storey building in Nigeria, though is not the first storey building in the country.
The building which is not far from the water front of Marina was built by Rev Bernard Freeman and other missionaries in 1842.
Despite the building being built thousands of years after the first storey building in Nigeria and with other storey building also built before it, the name has gone on to stick. The building took about three years to complete.
The building has a lot of history associated with it which includes the following:
Has the room of the first teacher in Nigeria Claudius Philips who helped in establishing the first primary school in Nigeria.
The building also contained the first bible in Nigeria which was brought in by Rev Townsend when he came to Nigeria. The building also had a bible room where missionaries were able to pick and choose bibles that they used in setting up churches.
The building also houses the first safe in Nigeria. This was where the missionaries kept and saved their money including pence, shillings and cowries.
The great aspect of the safe is that it still seems to working and is good condition despite been placed in the building in 1856.
Another great piece of history is the first well dug in Nigeria which is situated in this building in the town of Badagry. The well was dug for the missionaries to have access to good drinking water.
The great aspect of the well is that it still exists till today with residents benefiting from it. The water is fresh and germ free when compared to other wells in the area which leaves people wondering how this is possible.
This may probably be due to the fact that the recent wells are located near the lagoon which makes the water salty.
Occupation of the People and Business Activities in Badagry
The occupations mostly practiced in Badagry are agricultural practices as well as fishing. The town is a commercial center as it is located near the border by Seme which is a town in the Republic of Benin and generates a lot of income for the state and country as a lot of people import lots of goods into the country like clothes, cars and other items into the country.
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