http://voices.yahoo.com/brief-history-lagos-island-499885.html?cat=8 michael uchebuaku, Yahoo! Contributor Network Aug 17, 2007 "Share your voice on Yahoo! websites One oral tradition states that Lagos was originally called Eko, which means "cassava farm", and that it was founded by a Benin royal family. The founding king was Ado. Ado's children were Gbaro, Akinsemoyin, and Erelu Kuti. Eko was the land area where the king's palace was built. The indigenous people settled down in the southern part of Eko called "Isale Eko", meaning "South Lagos". Erelu Kuti's son was Ologun Kutere, who became king of Lagos, and Shokun his brother was given a Chieftaincy house behind the king's palace called "Onile-gbale" which means "land owner-sweeps your land". The Lagos monarchy is said to have started henceforth and the king's brother started his own chieftancy family behind the palace building. However, there is another account of Lagos before 1603 that comes from a Western visitor. In 1603, Andreas Joshua Ulsheimer, a German surgeon, aboard a Dutch merchant ship, visited Lagos. According to his accounts, Lagos was a large frontier town surrounded by a strong fence and inhabited by "none but soldiers and four military commanders, who behave in a very stately manner." The Lagos visited by Ulsheimer and his trading colleagues nearly four centuries ago was in many ways highly developed. Each day its four commanders came together as a court and each day two envoys were dispatched to take decisions back to their ruler in Benin. To do so, Ulsheimer wrote, was a common practice in all towns under the suzerainty of Benin. Food in Lagos was plentiful: handsome fish, good wildfowl", meat fruits, yams and a host of other foodstuffs. The town was by water and by land, and many traders who brought their wares by water and by land, and who conducted their transactions in cowries or trade goods, amongst which brass was highly prized. Ulsheimer was struck by the beautiful, colourful cloth, the ivory, elephant tails that were traded in Lagos, and by the large amount of pepper that was available. Ulsheimer's accounts seem to confirm Benin oral traditions of conquest and occupation of Lagos during the sixteenth century. How Oba Orhogbua of Benin (1550-1578) occupied the island of Lagos, established a military camp there and from that base waged wars on some people described as rebels against his authority, in the immediate interior. Orhogbua, according to Benin traditions, left Lagos when he learnt of a coup against him at home. But he left behind in Lagos, a military camp under three generals. His son and successor, Ehengbuda (1578-1606) on his journey to Lagos, is said to have drowned in a river mid-way between Benin and Lagos, when his boat capsized. Ulsheimer gives the first account, documenting the transformation of Lagos from fishing camp to a trading centre, and from an autonomous settlement to a Benin tributary. Lagos Lagoon was known to European traders by 1485, when it first appeared on maps, but the town of Lagos was not included. Oral traditions indicate that Benin found pre-existing settlement on Lagos and nearby Ido Islands. Ulsheimer also confirmed this. Some of the inhabitants in the Lagos interior lived in towns walled for defensive purpose and Ulsheimer's group armed with two cannons helped the local Benin army to conquer and completely destroy one of such towns described as dissident. Accordingly to some oral traditions, Benin forces settled at a strategic place on the northwest tip of Lagos Island where they could easily mount a defensive garrison and still overlook the lagoon which narrows suddenly at this point between Lagos and Ido Island. The Ogun was an important waterway leading to inland trade. The large number of colonies established by Benin throughout the Ogun basin (west from Lagos to Badagry, and north from the coast to (latter-day) Ilaro Division boundaries, attests to its interest. Ido was surrounded by water and given the palisades Ulsheimer found around Lagos, it was quite likely that Ido was also fortified against Benin invaders. Whether Benin was initially unwilling or unable to take Ido is unclear. Certainly it did so later, for its refugees founded a new settlement nearby, especially along the southern side of the lagoon in today's Eti-Osa. In contrast to Ido, Benin established a firm base across the lagoon on Lagos Island with little resistance. At the time, Lagos Island had one known settlement, founded by the legendary Aromire, "lover of water", as a fishing camp. Ido, according to traditions, was a centre of local activity. It was the seat of Olofin, a strong leader who appears to have dominated a group of villages that were thought to exist prior to Benin conquest and to be Awori Yoruba ancestry. In mythological language, Olofin was said to have had many "sons" amongst whom he divided the area's lands. These sons and the settlements they represented were the early settlers met by Benin forces. At the time, they probably represented a village group, allied for governmental, protective and perhaps economic reasons. Later as Lagos grew and its government expanded. Olofin's sons became known as Idejo, landowning chiefs. The number of chiefs in the Olofin alliance is usually remembered as a formulaic eight, ten, sixteen or thirty-two. Twelve of them are today recognized by government: Aromire, Oloto, Ojora, Onitolo, Onitano, Onikoyi, Oniru, Oluwa, Onisiwo, Eleguishi, Ojomu and Lumegbon. The Olofin title disappeared while the Olumegbon is now the leader of the Idejo class and presides over its installation ceremonies. Traditional administration According to the early historians of Lagos, the settlements represented by Idejo chiefs were not established simultaneously, but in stages. Traditions in Idejo families confirm that this was, indeed, the case and furthermore that not all Idejo families were of Awori descent. As indicated, the people of Ido did predate Benin conquest. Warfare had driven them from the mainland area of Ebute-Metta, "three wharfs" to Ido Island where they established two small settlements; Oto village, facing the mainland, and Ido, a fishing camp facing Lagos Island, which eventually disappeared or were absorbed into the larger village. These two settlements were governed together under a chief who became known as Oloto and whose family controlled a large stretch of land on the mainland behind Ido. The southwest part of Ido Island was settled by a group of migrants whose origins were traced to Aramoko in the Ekiti area. This group's first headman, Kueji, married an Ido woman, one Isikoko by name, and they settled at Ijo-Ara (Ijora) where Kueji took the Ojora titles, Aro and Odofin, eventually arose within the Ojora line. Whether or not this occurred before the Benin era is not clear. There were other chiefs in the Ido group. The Elegushi of Ikate and Ojomu and Ajiran have traditions stating they fled Ido to escape Benin raids and settled in Eti-Osa area in the south shore of the lagoon east of Lagos Island. This being the case, their settlements and independent chieftaincies came after, not before, Benin. The Ojomu title, however, is not entirely explained by the refuges tradition, since until recently it was not included in the Idejo, but in the Akarigbere class of chiefs, that is in the administrative line of Lagos chiefs that, for the most part, claim Benin origins. Another Ido chief, the Opeluwa, also became a Lagos chief. Eventually, then the Lord group gave birth to four Idejo chiefs (Oloto, Ojora, Elegushi and Ojomu) and one Ogalade chief (Opeluwa). At least one (oloto) and possibly three chiefs (Oloto, Ojora, and Opeluwa) were in existence at Ido before the arrival of Benin. The members of the Aromire settlement gave land to Benin conquerors on Lagos Island, as they, like the Oloto People, existed prior to conquest. Armoire again did not represent a single group. One section of the family settled at Tolo on the western tip of Lagos Island, and it became headed by the Onitolo, a descendant of the Aromire family. Another Idejo title holder, the Onitano, was said to be the grandson of Oshoboja's daughter. Still another Idejo chief, the Onikoyi, was brought into Lagos by Aromire family through marriage. The founder of Onikoyi family lived at Oke-Ipa on Ikoyi Island, named after his ancestral home, which was believed to have been in Old Oyo. Adeyemi a leader of the Oke-Ipa settlement married Efunluyi, daughter of Meku Armoire, who was believed to be the sixth title holder of the Aromire line. In honour of her deliverance of a son, called Muti, Chief Meku allocated to his daughter and son-in-law a plot of land near Iga Aromire "Aromire Court", on Lagos Island. The house built on that plot became Iga Onikoyi and Aromire's son-in-law the first holder of an Idejo title in Lagos, the Onikoyi title. All in all, four related Idejo chieftaincies came out of the Aromire line: armoire itself, Onitolo, Onitano, and Onikoyi. The remaining four Idejo titles clearly came into existence after the invasion of Benin. If Ulsheimer's account is correct, then it appears that the daily gathering of Lagos governors was one of military commanders from Benin, and not heads of local settlement. Gradually, however, additions were made to that body. The vehicle via which accretion took place eventually was called Ose Iga a ceremonious meeting of Lagos held at the palace every seventeen days. The Osega was attended by a body of chiefs whose agenda was devoted to proposing and debating community policy. Before discussions at each meeting, sacrifices were performed. After each meeting the assembled chiefs were fed and entertained by the Oba. Rights to sit on his highest decision making body of the community were extended to all recognized chiefs. Indeed, the culmination of investiture ceremonies took place in the Ose chamber of the palace. Until a chief was brought into Osega, he was effectively not a functioning part of the larger policy. It does appear, however, that leaders of surrounding villages who saw themselves as clients of the Oba could attend the Osega. Village settlement in and around Lagos Island were of several types: those powerful enough to be represented by their chiefs on the Osega; those that were clients (and the nature of the tie differed markedly among settlements. Ranging from complete dominance and overlordship to a loose control or dependency); and those that retained autonomy, foregoing the political and protective links that representation at the Lagos Osega could offer them. The number of chiefs with rights to attend the Osega grew slowly and fluctuated. Olumegbon, leader of the Idejo class was said to have been brought into Lagos and given a title by Ado, one of the early Bini rulers. The first Olumegbon came from Aja, east of Lagos toward the Lekki Lagoon. The reasons for his inclusion among the chiefs who attend the Osega seem unknown. It is possible that the Benin warriors found him and his people located at a vital position on their east-west trade corridor and therefore wished to control that position themselves by alleviating its headman to a chieftaincy title in Lagos rather than subjugating him. It is also possible that he was originally a part of the Ido alliance and brought in as its senior representative. In any case, Olumegbon was allocated a plot for an Iga in the Iduntafa area of Lagos and thus within the portion of land originally allocated by Aromire to the Benin rulers.