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Lagos, the hidden gem of South-West Portugal.

Dating as far back as 2000 B.C., Lagos has a long, colourful history and maritime tradition. Since being founded over 4000 years ago, it was first occupied and the home to Phoenicians and Carthaginians, coming for trade and commerce. The Roman Empire´s expansion found it´s way to Lagos later, solidifying the importance of the region. In fact, ruins from this Roman era can still be visited in and around town, they are a part of the city´s rich heritage. Following the implosion of the Roman Empire, the city was occupied by the Barbarian tribes of the North, before the Moors settled in and dominated the region as part of their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in the 10th Century. Still, the city remained a focal point for Christianity, and the construction of the church St. John the Baptist in 1174 A.D. attests to it. Three hundred years would pass before the Christian army re-conquered the city, in the 13th Century.

Thus started a new era of development and growing economic relevance in the city. Relying on it´s strategic geographic location, the city became the jump off point for the fleets heading down to the West Coast of Africa for expeditions during the Golden Age of the Discoveries. It was in Lagos that the King Henry the Navigator set his base of operations, and it was in his name that Gil Eanes, another distinguished son of Lagos, accomplished the unprecedented feat of crossing the Cape Bojador, immensely feared by the the crews of the Portuguese Caravelas.

Benefiting from the wealth coming in from the trade between Portugal and Africa, Lagos grew further in economic and strategic importance. It was promoted to Capital City of the Kingdom of Algarve in 1573 by another legendary King, the young and ill fated D. Sebastião, whose demise in Morroco launched Portugal into submission of Spain, signaling the end of an era and drawing the high water mark in Lagos history.

Following the failed attack on England by the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century, Lagos was the stage of several naval raids, most notably by Sir Francis Drake, who set fire to most of it. The naval battle off Burgau, close to Lagos, left us the ship wreckage which can still be visited today.

Although the city survived this period of unrest, it struggled to survive the great earthquake and tsunami of 1755, which drove Lagos to a diminishing of regional and economic importance, that lasted until the middle of the 19th Century and the Industrial Revolution.

Today, Lagos is a city of 19000 habitants, mostly dedicated to Tourism.