Badagry (traditionally Gbagle) 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. As of the preliminary 2006 census results, the municipality had a population of 241,093
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. 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. From the 1840s, following the suppression of the slave trade, Badagry declined significantly, but became a major site of Christian mission work. Christianity (as a religion of the so-called white) was first preached in Nigeria at Badagry in 1842 by Rev Thomas Birch Freeman and he celebrated the first Christmas in Nigeria the following year. The site where Christianity was first preached then is now the "Agiya Tree Monument" beside the Badagry Town Hall.There are buildings, sites and memories of this iniquitous period so that tourists can unearth the dark impact of this era. Interesting places that can leave an unforgettable memory are the Palace of the Akran of Badagry and its mini ethnographic museum, the early missionaries cemetery, the District Officer’s Office and Residence, the First Storey Building in Nigeria constructed by the Anglican missionaries, relics of slave chains in the mini museum of slave trade, cannons of war, the Vlekte slave Market, and the Slave Port established for the shipment of slaves before the 16th century.
Other attraction is the site of the famous Agia tree under which Christianity was first preached in Nigeria. Visitors will also do well to trek on the Gberefu Beach to the ‘Point of No Return’. African-Americans eager to identify with their African roots will find a great deal to connect with in Badagry. Also worth visiting are Suntan Beach, Hermitage Resort, Whispering Palms Beach Resort, Halem Seaside Resort etc.
However, tourists to Badagry should bear in mind that the town is still developing; therefore it is possible to sight untarred and unmarked roads and other features that are commonly spottable in developing world. Another downside of Badagry is unavailability of top brand hotels and this means that the visitors to the town will have to travel about an hour away to mainland Lagos to get a considerably good hotel to stay.
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