The beautiful town of Badagry lies along the Atlantic coast in Nigeria and is located between the bustling Metropolitan city of Lagos and the border of Nigeria with Benin Republic at Seme. You might have heard about the town at one time or another, but never really considered visiting the town. Nevertheless, after reading the following six reasons why you should visit Badagry, I believe you’ll start packing your bag and planning a trip to the town soonest.
1. Badagry has the largest record of the slave trade era in Nigeria. You may wonder why you need to give a hoot about the slave trade era, or even why you should care about historical records of our past. However, the truth is that WE ARE the past. We are the sum of all the events (either good or bad) that have happened to us. This is why we need to dig and seek to know and understand our collective history, as it substantially explains our present state and could as well influence our future. Slave trade is a significant part of the history of Africans as well as the history of mankind. During the American Revolutionary War circa 1775, about 550,000 slaves were shipped like sardine out from Badagry. The ships of the slave traders and slave masters would simply anchor off at the shores of West Africa and the hapless human beings would be ferried out to the ships. In Nigeria, Badagry, Calabar and Lokoja host the relics of slave trade era. In Calabar, southeast Nigeria, the Slave History Museum keeps various materials documenting the experience of slave trade in southeastern Nigeria; and in Lokoja, the iron pole popularly known as “Iron of Liberty” stands as a testament to the struggles of our enslaved ancestors, as the town was a hot zone as at the time in which the British started waging war against slave trade and slaves seized from their slave merchants were set free. It was said that any slave that ran to the site of ‘Iron of Liberty’ in Lokoja and touched the iron became free and should not be captured again. However, Badagry town has the largest record of the slave trade era, preserved in different slave museums (Badagry Heritage Museum, Seriki Faremi’s Brazilian Baracoon, Vlekete Slave Market, Mobee Royal Family Slave Museum etc.), detailed historical landmarks along slave routes and slave ports. These amazing historical artifacts and landmarks give the visiting tourist a deep empathy with the suffering our ancestors suffered from the incidence of slavery in our history.
– Slave shackles at the museum.
– Slave shackles used to lock the legs of the slaves so that they don’t escape.
– These two massive cannon guns were originally resting at the old slave port directly opposite the Brazilian Baracoon. They were brought to the Mobee Family Museum temporarily for safe keeping until the completion of the construction of a mini structure at the slave port.
2. Badagry has natural, untouched beautiful Lagoon fronts, Peninsula and Beaches. If you are a nature-lover and have probably explored all the beaches in Lagos, the coastline and Lagoon fronts of Badagry are yet another set of unbelievable places you need to set your wanderlust eyes upon. I have explored the entire slave route, right from the old Brazilian Slave Baracoon, through the adjacent old slave port along the Badagry lagoon (established in 1510), crossed the limpid waters of the Badagry Lagoon to the palm-tree draped peninsula, trekked the entire slave route that stretches across the peninsula up to the ‘Point of No Return’ Anchorage situated at the lip of a beautiful sandy beach where the swelling and surging waters of Atlantic Ocean meet the enfeebled slaves to sail them away to the Americas in big boats; I have even gone as far as the Topo Peninsula and Topo Beach where the Catholic Missionaries first settled in the 18th Century, and I must tell you, Badagry has a load of amazing natural endowments.
– The big slave merchant ships cannot access the lagoon, therefore, after purchasing slaves, the Portuguese slave merchants had to cross the lagoon (from Badagry town to the peninsula) in small boats, then trek on foot across the peninsula to get to the Atlantic Ocean where their big ships are moored.
– Along the foot path leading to the ocean, the slaves are made to stop at this well, which unknown to the slaves, had a spell that hallucinates whoever drinks from it. The slaves are made to drink from the well so as to ensure that they forget their origin and whatever resentments they harbored against the slave merchants. This is normally done to make sure that the slaves don’t revolt against and attack the few slave merchants on the ship while on transit to South America.
– ‘Point of No Return’…. the point at which the slaves were loaded into the big ships and leave for South America.
– Well-fed cattle grazing near the beach.
– Leaving the slave route to Topo area of the Peninsula.
– The palm-coated peninsula….on the way to Topo.
– Well nourished cattle grazing at the beach.
3. Badagry is the biggest and most popular border town in Nigeria. Since Seme border (the border between Nigeria and Republic of Benin, just 10mins drive from Badagry) generates the highest Nigeria Customs duties income till date, a town like Badagry, with its size, cultural and historical significance, easily serves as a favourite stop-over town for travelers crossing the border, which automatically elevates the town to the status of the biggest and most popular border town in Nigeria.
– Welcome to Badagry town.
– Badagry town, kids playing soccer in front of an old house.
4. Badagry was the first town in Nigeria where Christmas was celebrated. Christianity, was first preached in Nigeria at Badagry in 1842 by Rev Bernard Freeman and he celebrated the first Christmas in Nigeria the following year, 1943. Rev Freeman and other missionaries settled at Topo Peninsula when they arrived in Badagry. The site where Christianity was first preached then is now referred to as the “Agiya Tree Monument”, which is located beside the Badagry Town Hall.
– At Topo, the relic of the old missionary house, built in 1842, where Rev Bernard Freeman and other missionaries settled in and lived when they first arrived at Badagry.
5. The first educational system of Nigeria as a British colony started in Badagry. The first primary school in Nigeria is located in Topo, Badagry. The school was built in 1845 by missionaries and was named “St. Thomas Anglican Primary School”. The relics of the school building can be found on Topo Peninsula till date.
– At Topo, relics of St. Thomas Anglican Primary School, the first primary school in Nigeria.
– At Topo, relics of the fence of St. Thomas Anglican Primary School, the first primary school in Nigeria. The standing column bears signatures of the old Portuguese architecture.
6. The first story building in Nigeria is located in Badagry. The prestigious title of ‘the first story building in Nigeria’ has been generally accorded to an old missionary storey building in Badagry, overlooking the Marina waterfront. It was built in 1842 by Rev Bernard Freeman and other missionaries. Although some people argue that it was built thousands of years after the first story building was constructed in Nigeria, however, the name has stuck. It was also said that it was in this building that Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther lived while translating the English Bible into the first Yoruba Bible. Ajayi Crowther, a Yoruba man, was once a slave (captured in 1821), was freed and later became the first Black African Bishop. He was the first person to translate the English Bible to Yoruba Bible and compiled a Yoruba dictionary. However, some people claim that the Bishop was staying at the second story building in Nigeria, located in Ota, while he produced the Yoruba Bible.
– The first story building in Nigeria.
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.