Lagos is the chief port and former capital city of NIGERIA. Founded by the YORUBA people in the 1400s, Lagos developed into a large regional trading post. By the 1790s it had become a major center of the Atlantic SLAVE TRADE. The British navy bombarded Lagos in 1851, and ten years later Britain gained control over the city through a treaty. Lagos attracted European settlers as well as Christian refugees from surrounding countries. It also became a haven for escaped slaves. In 1914 Lagos became the capital of Nigeria.
After independence Nigeria's rulers placed limits on the physical expansion of the city. However, its population continued to grow, leading to the development of slums and squatter settlements. Although Nigeria's capital was moved to Abuja in 1991, Lagos remains the country's most important commercial and industrial center. It still has much of the traditional culture, including long-established markets where dyed cloth, herbs, and local leather goods are sold. The city also has traditional chiefs and a king, though these individuals no longer exercise much political power.