Badagry, also known as Gbagle, is a coastal town and local government area (LGA) in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria. It is between the city of Lagos and the border with Benin at Seme. In 2006, the municipality had a population of about 240,000.
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 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 headed 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 — 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 was first preached in Nigeria at Badagry in 1842 by Rev Thomas Birch Freeman. The site where Christianity was first preached then is now the "Agiya Tree Monument" beside the Badagry Town Hall.
The first education system of Nigeria as a British colony started in Badagry where the first primary school was established by the Wesleyan mission (Methodist Church) in 1843: the Nursery of Infant Church later became St. Thomas’ Anglican Nursery and Primary School. It was founded by Rev. Golmer of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1845. In 1863 the town was annexed by the United Kingdom and incorporated into the Lagos colony. In 1901 it became a part of Nigeria.
Badagry subsists largely on fishing and agriculture, and maintains a small museum on slavery.
- From Lagos, Badagry is a US$21-26, 1-hr taxi ride.
- From the Seme border crossing, it is about 20 min by car.
- 1 Badagry Slave and Black History Museum, Marina Road, ☏ . Wear comfortable shoes for the 800-m walk to the Atlantic Ocean. ₦1000 admission, and ₦1500 for boat ride through the lagoon.
- 2 Badagry Heritage Museum, Marina Gra road, off Lander road, off President Zoglo road, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Comprehensive collection of the transatlantic slave trade.
- 1 Soketta Hotel, Hungbeji St, ☏ .