Towns and Villages
The 15th century was the golden age for the town of Lagos, with its immediate involvement in the period of the Discoveries. Due to the port's location, directly across from Africa, it became the major point of departure and arrival for the ships that, year after year, set sail in discovery of that continent. As an important trading centre for a range of exotic products, including the ivory, gold and silver brought from Africa, Lagos saw a dramatic increase in the number of its houses, traders and monuments at that time.
New walls were built in the 16th century to keep pace with the city's expansion, and, from 1572 onwards, Lagos became the see of the bishopric and the official residence of the governors of the Algarve. These defences were further strengthened in the 17th century with the building of a series of forts at strategic points. The earthquake of 1755 and the seaquake which followed it destroyed a large part of the city, which only began to recover its prosperity from the 19th century onwards, with the introduction of the canned fish industry and the consequent increase in trade. Today, Lagos is a dynamic and active city, which is justifiably proud of its past.