Lomé was founded by the Ewe indigenous ethnic group in the 19th century. When selected as the colonial capital of German Togoland, Lomé soon became an important administrative, commercial, and transport center especially thanks to the construction of the dock and railway, attracting a wealthy merchant class from different areas along the coast that mostly consisted of African women. During World War I, Lomé fell under French control and became the capital of French Togo and after World War II the population of Lomé grew rapidly propelled by the wealth of the phosphate exports. During this period, the French exploited Togo’s rich phosphate resources, but the industry grew in importance as Togo achieved its independence. Profits from the phosphate trade financed the recent modernization of the port, the University of Lomé, and other buildings.
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