Tanzania's rich mix of different peoples
originated very early in history, but the common Swahili
language is the result of recent cultural meetings.
Arabs, Portuguese and Germans belong to the groups that
arrived in the coast or the islands since the Middle
Ages to colonize, mission or trade. It was not until the
20th century that a liberation struggle began, resulting
in the independent Tanganyika in 1961.
There may have been people in the area that today
make up Tanzania earlier than anywhere else. In the
Great Rift Valley tomb, archaeologists have found the
remains of so-called prehistoric people (australopithecus
afarensis) that are believed to have lived there
three, four million years ago.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Tanzania, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
An estimated two million years ago, hunters and
gatherers lived in the area, and in prehistoric times
there was probably settlement along the coast and in the
plain in the north. On the mainland many different
groups of people met early and mixed up with each other.
Slave trade on Zanzibar
The coastal people were gradually drawn into the
growing trade at sea. In the 7th century AD, seafaring
Arabs began to colonize the coast and spread Islam.
During the Middle Ages, cities on the east coast of
Africa had trade with Persia, India and China. Ruins of
commercial cities, such as Kilwa in the south, testify
to the empire of the Arabs.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese
coastal civilization was split by the Portuguese, who
set up trade stations along the sea route to India.
Eventually, however, Arabs from Oman reigned supreme
over the coast north of Mozambique. It was mainly the
demand for slaves and ivory that made East Africa
financially interesting. In the footsteps of the slave
caravans, the coastal language Swahili spread to the
interior of East Africa.
The Sultan of Oman moved his capital in 1840 to the
strategically located Zanzibar, where Stone Town had
begun to be built. Zanzibar became the hub of the slave
trade between Africa and Asia. In the mid-19th century,
about 50,000 slaves passed the island each year. In
Stone Town, men, women and children were trapped and
tortured and then priced for their ability to endure
The infamous slave trader Tippu Tib led thousands of
expeditions to the inland, where chieftains sold their
subordinates. These were forced to carry ivory to the
coast, before being sold to the Zanzibar slave market
The mainland becomes German, the islands British
Europeans also took part in the slave trade
initially, but during the 19th century they switched to
trade in agricultural products. In the middle of the
century, the first Christian missionaries arrived. Many
of the great voyages of discovery that the Europeans
undertook during the 19th century to try to find the
Nile sources originated from Zanzibar and the coastal
When the Scottish army missionary and explorer David
Livingstone got his communications cut off by Arab slave
traders, several expeditions were sent out to search for
him. In 1871, American journalist Henry Morton Stanley
found him in Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika and is said to
have uttered the famous words: "Doctor Livingstone, I
presume?" ("Doctor Livingstone, I suppose?"). The slave
trade on Zanzibar ceased in 1897, partly thanks to
When the European superpowers met in Berlin in 1884
to divide Africa between them, the present Tanzanian
mainland became German, while Zanzibar and Pemba became
British protectorate in 1890. The Germans ruled their
colony of German East Africa with great difficulty and
hard-fought several rebellions. The Maji-Maji uprising
of 1905-1906 claimed between 75,000 and 125,000
When the Sanzanate Zanzibar became British
protectorate, it was intended that the British would
only manage the foreign policy of the islands, but
gradually assumed all functions and in 1913 Zanzibar was
incorporated into the line of British colonies.
Tanganyika becomes independent
After World War I, Germany lost its East African
colony. Tanganyika was made a mandate under the League
of Nations (United Nations forerunner) with the United
Kingdom as trustee. British rule continued after the
Second World War, when the territory was transformed
into a trusteeship area under UN supervision.
The struggle for independence from the British began
in the 1920s. A number of educated Africans founded the
Tanganyika African Alliance (TAA) in 1929, which led the
resistance to white immigrants being given agricultural
land and that Africans were prevented from participating
in political and economic life. TAA's primary goal was
that blacks should also have the right to vote.
After World War II, the opposition to colonial power
gained momentum. In 1954, TAA leader Julius K Nyerere
transformed the organization into a political party, the
Tanganyika African National Union (Tanganyika African
National Union, Tanu), which soon won a wide popular
Tanu's goal was an independent and democratic
Tanganyika. By the time the party was formed, the
British had already begun to give in to those demands.
In the general elections of 1959 and 1960, Tanu won all
but one of the seats in the National Assembly. In 1961,
Tanganyika was granted independence within the
Ferry flag with thousands on board
The Spice Island ferry is on its way from Zanzibar to Pemba. Of nearly 2,500
passengers, more than 200 are found dead, while more than 1,300 are reported
missing. The ferry was overloaded and had technical deficiencies, the accident
report states. Zanzibar's president demands that the ferry owners and industry
representatives be prosecuted.
Outbreak of violence at gold mine
Hundreds of people use knives, stones and hammers to attack policemen and
security guards at a gold mine in northwestern Tanzania. The perpetrators try to
steal gold ore. According to the mining company, quarrels surrounding the mine
are common, as local residents are said to be engaged in illegal mining in the
company's area. The opposition party Chadema accuses the police of using
CCM replaces its management
CCM's decline in the 2010 election leads Congress to replace almost the
entire party leadership. However, President Kikwete remains as party chairman.
Two are killed in a demonstration
Two people are killed when police try to disperse protesters demanding the
release of an opposition leader. The opposition leader was arrested ahead of a
planned demonstration against corruption within the government circle.