Lagos/ˈleɪɡɒs/ (Yoruba: Èkó) is a conurbation in the Nigerian state of Lagos. Often regarded as a city, it is the largest city in Nigeria and the African continent. Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and also one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa; the mega city has the highest GDP, and also houses one of the largest and busiest ports on the continent.
Lagos initially emerged as a port city which originated on a collection of islands, which are contained in the present day Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, Amuwo-Odofin and Apapa; the islands are separated by creeks, fringing the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, while protected from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier islands and long sand spits such as Bar Beach, which stretch up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) east and west of the mouth. Due to rapid urbanization, the city expanded to the west of the lagoon to include areas in the present day Lagos Mainland, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, and Surulere. This led to the classification of Lagos into two main areas - the Island, which was the initial city of Lagos, before it expanded into the area known as the Mainland. This city area was governed directly by the Federal Government through the Lagos City Council, until the creation of Lagos State in 1967, which led to the splitting of Lagos city into the present day seven Local Government Areas (LGAs), and an addition of other towns (which now make up 13 LGAs) from the then Western Region, to form the state.
Lagos which was the capital of Nigeria since its amalgamation in 1914, went on to become the capital of Lagos State, after its creation. However, the state capital was later moved to Ikeja in 1976, while the federal capital also moved to Abuja in 1991. Even though Lagos is still widely referred to as a city, the present day Lagos, also known as "Metropolitan Lagos", and officially as "Lagos Metropolitan Area" is an urban agglomeration or conurbation, which consists of 16 out of Lagos State's 20 LGAs, including Ikeja, the state capital. This conurbation makes up 37% of Lagos State's total land area, but houses about 85% of the state's total population.
The exact population of Metropolitan Lagos is disputed; however, the population of the area as at 2015 is estimated at approximately 21 million.