Lome is the capital city of Togo and takes its name from "alome", the Ewe word for the trees that were once abundant in the area. Originally founded in the 1720s as a settlement by the Ewe people who lived in parts of modern day Ghana, Benin and southern Togo, by 1882 it was still small but nonetheless a relatively important trading centre then known as "Bey Beach" used by the Forster and Smith, F and A Swanzy and Hutton companies. In 1884 Germany signed a treaty with King Mlapa III making much of the coastline, including Lome, a German protectorate however after the Berlin Conference the following year they took control of the entire area naming it as "Schutzgeblet Togo" with the town of Aneho as the country's capital. In 1897 the capital was transferred to Lome and it was then developed as a commercial and administrative centre.
At the outbreak of the First World War on 26th August 1914, Schutzgeblet Togo was occupied by the Allies with the territory being divided in 1916 into two administrative areas run by the British and French with Lome itself coming under British occupation. In 1920 the League of Nations made Togo a mandate territory and divided it into French Togoland and British Togoland in 1922 with the French assuming control of Lome as the British withdrew to Ghana on the west. At that time the population of Lome was some 10,000 having risen from just 2000 when first named as the capital. Former Togo prime minister and then president Sylvanus Olympio wrote of the confusion for young people in particular at the time. "I was born in 1902 went to school until 1914 under the German system, then until 1920 under the British system; when I returned from London University a few years later, I had to learn a third European language - French - in order to be qualified to earn a living in my home town." The French further developed Lome, building a modern town with a jetty to facilitate the export of raw goodsincluding coffee, cocoa, cotton, palm and coconut oil. This jetty was modernised with a deep water harbour in the 1960s as Togo became independent with Lome confirmed as the republic's capital city.
Today the current metro area population of Lome is 1,874,000 (2021) and the city is an exporter of coffee, cocoa, copra, and palm kernels. If visiting take time to check out the Grand Market, the Togo National Museum in the Palais de Congres, the (voodoo) market, Lome Cathedral, of course, the beaches and the former wharf.
Lome Profile: Volunteer in Togo
Lome Profile: Lome City Map
Lome Profile: Child Sponsor Togo
Lome Profile: Togo Country Profile
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