Trade, Violence and Diplomacy on the Coast of Ikorodu: The Resistance of Balogun Mabadeje Jaiyesimi


From the 1850s, British influence in Lagos and coastal Nigeria expanded, leading to the annexation of Lagos in December 1861 and the establishment of Lagos Colony in 1862. This period also witnessed the British quest for the control of coastal and inland trade routes. Ikorodu’s location north of Lagos and on the lagoon, and its control of trade from the coast to Sagamu, the main city of Remo, involved the town in larger struggles between the Ijebu kingdom and the Egba settlers at Abeokuta, and in the expansionist plans for Lagos under Governor Henry Stanhope Freeman (1862–4) and his successor, Captain John Hawley Glover (1864–6).

This article explores how Ikorodu successfully manoeuvred between these differen interests under the leadership of Balogun Mabadeje Jaiyesimi to defeat its external aggressors and to increase its independence. It not only addresses the dearth of published work on Ikorodu but also provides a response to Earl Phillips’ discussion of the unsuccessful 1864–5 Egba attack on Ikorodu. Unlike Philips, who suggests that the Egba defeat was primarily engineered by John Glover, this article emphasises the importance of Balogun Jaiyesimi’s strategic and negotiating skills, which led to the formation of a local coalition between Ikorodu and its neighbouring towns, especially Igbogbo, to ensure Ikorodu’s military victory.
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