Monday 20 March 2017




The slave trade refers to the transatlantic trading patterns which were established as early as the mid-17th century. Trading ships would set sail from Europe with a cargo of manufactured goods to the west coast of Africa. There, these goods would be traded, over weeks and months, for captured people provided by African traders. European traders found it easier to do business with African intermediaries who raided settlements far away from the African coast and brought those young and healthy enough to the coast to be sold into slavery.

Once full, the European trader's ship would depart for the Americas or the Caribbean on the notorious 'Middle Passage'. During this voyage, the slaves would be kept in the ship's hold, crammed close together with little or no space to move. Conditions were squalid and many people did not survive the voyage. On the final leg of the transatlantic route, European ships returned home with cargoes of sugar, rum, tobacco and other 'luxury' items. It has been estimated that, by the 1790s, 480,000 people were enslaved in the British Colonies.

The majority of those sold into slavery were destined to work on plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas, where huge areas of the American continent had been colonized by European countries. These plantations produced products such as sugar or tobacco, meant for consumption back in Europe.

Those who supported the slave trade argued that it made important contributions to the country's economy and to the rise of consumerism in Britain. Despite this, towards the end of the eighteenth century, people began to campaign against slavery. However, since trading was so profitable for those involved, the 'Abolitionists' (those who campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade) were fiercely opposed by a pro-slavery West Indian lobby. Those who still supported slavery used persuasive arguments, or 'propaganda', to indicate the necessity of the slave trade though the abolitionists also used propaganda to further their cause.

The role of many slaves themselves in bringing slavery to an end is often overlooked. Resistance among slaves in the Caribbean was not uncommon. Indeed, slaves in the French colony of St Domingue seized control of the island and it was eventually declared to be the republic of Haiti. Figures such as Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince, by adding their eye witness accounts to abolitionist literature, also made a major contribution to the abolition campaign.

The era of slavery was a brutal and horrific one. Back then, Africans were thought to be on a lower rung of the ladder, compared to whites.

From the outset, relations between Europe and Africa were strictly economic. Portuguese merchants traded with Nigerians from trading posts they set up along the coast. They exchanged items like brass and copper bracelets for such products as pepper, cloth, beads and slaves – all part of an existing internal Nigerian trade. Domestic slavery was common in Nigeria and well before European slave buyers arrived, there was trading in humans. Africans were captured or bought by Arabs and exported across the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean and Near East.

In 1492, Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered for Europe a ‘New World’. The finding proved disastrous not only for the ‘discovered’ people but also for Africans. It marked the beginning of a triangular trade between Africa, Europe and the ‘New World’. European slave ships, mainly British and French, took people from Africa to the ‘New World’. They were initially taken to the West Indies to supplement local Indians decimated by the Spanish Conquistadors. The slave trade grew from a trickle to a flood, particularly from the 17th Century onwards.


This ancient town of Badagry was founded around l425 A.D. Before its existence, people lived along the Coast of Gberefu and this area later gave birth to the town of Badagry. It is the second largest commercial town in Lagos State, located an hour from Lagos and half-hour from the Republic of Benin. The town of Badagry is bordered on the south by the Gulf of Guinea and surrounded by creeks, islands and a lake.

The ancient town served mainly the Oyo Empire, which was comprised of Yoruba and Ogu people. Today, the Aworis and Egun are mainly the people who reside in the town of Badagry as well as in Ogun State in Nigeria and in the neighbouring Republic of Benin.

The name originated from the fact that the people of Badagry’s means of livelihood are farming, fishing and salt making due to the availability of trees and presence of ocean water respectively. The natives believed that Badagry was founded by a famous farmer called Agbedeh who maintained a farm which became popular it was named after him.

The word Greme meant farm in Ogu language and a visit to Agbedeh’s farm brought about the word and Agbedegreme and its usage meaning Agbedeh’s farm. It was then coined to Agbadagari by the Yoruba inhabitants and later corrupted to Badagry by the European slave merchants before the end of the seventeenth century.

Badagry is majorly recognised for its slave trade by the foreigners. The trade began in 1440 with Prince Henry, the navigator of Portugal. By 1593, 12,000 slaves had been sold to labour markets in Italy and Spain. One horse was traded for 25-30 slaves in the 1440s and the value of African slaves rose from six to eight slaves per horse. By the 16th century, there were over 32,000 slaves in Portugal.

Along the line, Seriki Faremi Williams, an African slave appealed a bargain with his buyers. He agreed to supply slaves to the foreigners in exchange for his freedom. The Nigerian, specifically of the Yoruba tribe to be exact, got his wish and was immediately set free to begin business. He returned to Badagry and built the Brazillian Baracoon with the mission to transport as much slaves as possible. He raided villages and captured their natives and sold them to the middlemen who eventually re-sold them as slaves to European slave merchants.

The baracoons were small rooms where up to 40 slaves were kept, all in upright position for days before they were shipped across the lagoon via the point of no return into the waiting ships. The group of houses, now mostly residential, were all at one point or the other used to keep slaves waiting to be transported. Vlekete square, founded in 1510, was known to be the slave market in Badagry.

The slave merchants began to work on his intelligence and that of African Leaders involved and enticed them with material gifts. Slaves were then exchanged for merchandises as little as whisky, tobacco, rum, cuppino glass, canons, iron bars, brass, woollen, cotton, linen, silk, beads, guns, gun powder amongst others. Because they knew it was of paramount importance to these natives.

Historically speaking, Badagry was the first and last port of call. When the ships arrive to pick these slaves, they would be brought out from the hole in which they were put and taken to a place called ‘The Point of No Return’. This process involved the crossing of slaves through the ocean that links the Badagry port to this point. When the slaves have been crossed over, they would walk about 20miles to the point.

In between, they would each approach a coven where they would drink from a well that contained a silver shiny liquid claimed to be water and recite a verse. This initiation would wipe out there memory so as to avoid foreknowledge of their whereabouts. The curator further explained that these slaves immediately lose their memory and do not regain it until they reach their final destination. Only the strong ones make it to the New World and maybe luckily, back.

Badary also houses the first storey building in Nigeria, built in 1845 and still standing on its original site. But, the aspect of the slave trade has been harped on by the people and the government to attract tourists to the town.

Lagos state government under the regime of Bola Ahmed Tinubu came up with the concept of the Black Heritage Festival to promote tourism in Lagos State and also to reintegrate the people with their kith and kin in the diaspora. It was indeed a successful festival. Two editions of the festival took place before he handed over to the past governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. The festivals attracted African-Americans in large numbers. Unfortunately, lack of funds has stalled that initiative. But the community in Badagry has come up with the Badagry Heritage Festival which first edition was held recently. The community is using that to continue with their objectives of promoting tourism and reintegrating with their African people in the diaspora. It is also an opportunity to attract investment to the town from blacks in the diaspora. And this is in a way paying off as one of pop superstar Michael Jackson’s brothers, Marlon, is involved in a plan to develop a $3.4bn (£2.4bn) slavery memorial and luxury resort in Badagry. The historic slave port is to be transformed through the bizarre combination of a slave history theme park and a museum dedicated to double Grammy-winning pop-soul group the Jackson Five. The idea is that the band will help attract African-American tourists keen to trace their roots back to Nigeria. The men behind the plan say it will honour the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and provide employment opportunities for Nigerians and as well promote tourism in Nigeria.


Tourism industry generally has been recorded as one of the highest sector that generates income to every country who invests into it. Tourism over the time in Nigeria has been suffering from lack of funding and negligence from the side of the government. Owing to the general economic recession in the country and with the suggestion of diversifying the economy, the Badagry slavery point at Lagos if invested into and properly advertised will provide an alternative source of revenue for the government. This project work therefore will focus on the possible means the tourism industry in Lagos state and Nigeria at large will be promoted through the exploitation of the relics and movement of transatlantic slave trade in Badagry Lagos state.


The following forms the objectives of this study;

To investigate the possible ways of promoting tourism through the relics of the Badagry slavery point.

To investigate the causes of negligence of the tourism sector in Nigeria by the government.

To suggest ways through which funding of the tourism industry in Lagos and Nigeria can be done without syphoning of fund.


The research work is expected to be of immense benefit to the tourism industries in Lagos state Nigeria, the state and federal government of Nigeria. The tourism industry is expected to benefit from this work since the more profits will be made if the Badagry slavery is well renovated, funded and advertised. The state and federal government will benefit from the work since it will provide them with alternative for the much needed economy diversification in the country as this slavery point and others around the country will serve as a new source of revenue generation.


The project work is organized in such a way that chapter one of the study treats the introductory part of the research work by highlighting the important rudiments of the research work, chapter two presents the review of literature on the research topic, chapter three presents the methods used by the researcher to gather information used to support her claims. Chapter four presents the results achieved from the use of these methods. Chapter five which is the last chapter introduces the summary, conclusion and recommendation of the study.


The following forms the limitations of the study;

Financial constraints

Limited time for the research work

Sourcing for materials which was limited

Convincing individuals to answer the research questions


This research was descriptive in nature. The study was designed to find out how “harnessing the relics and movement of transatlantic slave trade in Badagry Lagos state for tourism promotion.

The variables on which information was sought included:

Background information about the respondents; sex, age, and class

General awareness of tourism in Lagos state. All these were to get a general view on how popular the concept of tourism is in the state


This study was carried out in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State. The local government is densely populated and because of this, it attracted both local and international tourist.


The instrument used for collection of data was the questionnaire. The questionnaire contained both structured and open-ended questions. The questionnaire was divided into two sections; Section A sought personal information of respondents while Section B sought information on “harnessing the relics and movement of transatlantic slave trade in Badagry, Lagos state for tourism industry.”


The primary data came from a cross sectional survey of seventy respondents who are residence of the Lagos state. The data collected was analysed by the use of percentages and frequency distribution tables to determine the distribution of the respondents based on different relevant variables identified in the collected data.


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