Tanzania Old History

By | January 3, 2023

Tanzania is an independent nation in Eastern Africa. With the capital city of DDodoma, Tanzania 2020 population is estimated at 59,734,229 according to countryaah. 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.

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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. For Tanzania political system, please check cancermatters.

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 pain.

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 themselves.

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 country, Tanganyika.

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 Livingstone’s efforts.

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 Africans.

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 support.

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 Commonwealth.



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 excessive force.


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.

Tanzania Old History