Friday, January 10, 2014

Random Fact: Lagos in the 1800's

pic courtesy of mamalette.com 
If you’re Nigerian (specifically Yoruba) and your last name ends with Davies, Savage, Macaulay, Shitta Bey, Cole, Leigh, George, Turner, Taylor, Brown, Lumpkin, Haastrup, Wilson, Peters, Coker, Duncan, Wright, Priddy, Hamilton, Samuel, Towry-Coker, Williams, Kuti, Benjamin, Thomas, Allen, Crowther, King, Pearse, Philips, Johnson, Morgan, White, Moore, Luke, Helm, Blair, Wilson, Payne and Forsythe, chances are that your ancestors in the 1800’s were wealthy educated merchants from Sierra Leone called Saros that eventually moved and settled in Lagos.
They were also very prominent members of Lagos society, helping to shape Lagos in religion, business, social, political and economical construct. These very prominent families were culturally different from the native Lagosians that the indigenous people referred to them as “Englishmen” (mainly because they were highly educated by Europeans and their financial status. Also, they neither experienced foreign slavery nor were they required to purchase their freedom). Because they couldn’t assimilate with native Lagosians, Oba Akintoye allotted the oke olowogbowo, yaba and Ebute meta district to daddy savage, the leader of the Sierra Leonians (he was responsible for distributing land to individual saro families). “The Saros also emerged as a dominant commercial group in Lagos. Having developed a migratory forte, they had an edge as travelers who were able to go into the interiors to meet directly with various commodity producers and traders. They were the pioneer Southern Nigerian traders in Kola, a cash crop that later emerged as a viable and important export commodity for the Western region in the early twentieth century. The Saros introduced the crop which was bought from Hausa traders across the River Niger into Southern Nigeria agriculture. The first Kola farm and the dominant trader in Kola, Mohammed Shitta Bey, were orchestrated by Saros. They also did not drop their yearning for western education as they dominated the ranks of professions open to Africans. They were lawyers, doctors, and civil servants.” (wikipedia).
So, do you recognize any last names? I know i do (Haastrup)…If you happen to have any of those last name as a Nigerian, then congratulations, you now know what your ancestors accomplished in the 1800s. And oh, you might be Yoruba but your ancestors are originally from Sierra Leone…oya clap for yourself, lol *pa pa papapa pa*
Ps: Saro Krios were actually enslaved then freed at Freetown,SL then spread through W Africa mainly. There were different sets. Prior to that they were mainly of Nigerian & Congolese origin. The names are essentially “slave names” or names given by British French German Portuguese Merchants & Missioaries whom they were apprenticed to.(thanks for Halfmoonpart for the additional information).

1 comment:

freetown Lumpkin descendant said...

Glad to hear that someone in the younger generation has head about the Lumpkins in Nigeria. i have just recently discovered that link Can anyone actually put me in touch with the nigerian ones please. They will be descendants of my great uncle who was posted to Lagos as a medical doctor in the 1880s.