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History of Tanzania

From Academic Kids

What is now Tanzania was a colony and part of Germany from the 1880s to 1919. It was British from 1919 to 1961. Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s.

Contents

Early history

Northern Tanganyika's famed Olduvai Gorge has provided rich evidence of the area's prehistory, including fossil remains of some of humanity's earliest ancestors. Discoveries suggest that East Africa may have been the site of human origin.

Little is known of the history of Tanganyika's interior during the early centuries. The area is believed to have been inhabited originally by ethnic groups using a click-tongue language similar to that of Southern Africa's Bushmen and Hottentots. Although remnants of these early tribes still exist, most were gradually displaced by Bantu farmers migrating from the west and south and by Nilotes and related northern peoples. Some of these groups had well-organized societies and controlled extensive areas by the time the Arab slave-traders, European explorers, and missionaries penetrated the interior in the first half of the 19th century.

The coastal area first felt the impact of foreign influence as early as the first centuries of the current era. Rhapta, the southernmost marketplace of Azania, was familiar to merchants of the Roman period, which has been located at points from Tanga south to the delta of the Rufiji River.

Later, Arab traders established posts the coast, perhaps as early as the 8th century. By the 12th century, traders and immigrants came from as far away as Persia (now Iran) and India. They built a series of highly developed city and trading states along the coast, the principal one being Kibaha, a settlement of Persian origin that held ascendancy until the Portuguese destroyed it in the early 1500s.

The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to India. By 1506, the Portuguese claimed control over the entire coast. This control was nominal, however, because the Portuguese did not colonize the area or explore the interior. Assisted by Omani Arabs, the indigenous coastal dwellers succeeded in driving the Portuguese from the area north of the Ruvuma River by the early 18th century. Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said (l804-56) moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1841.

The interior regions were still largely unknown to Europeans. A part of the Great Lakes region the western shore of Lake Victoria consisted of many small kingdoms, most notably Karagwe and Buzinza, which were domainted by their more powerful neighbours Rwanda, Burundi, and Buganda. European exploration of the interior began in the mid-19th century. Two German missionaries reached Kilimanjaro in the 1840s. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the interior to Lake Tanganyika in 1857. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary-explorer who crusaded against the slave trade, established his last mission at Ujiji, where he was "found" by Henry Morton Stanley, an American journalist-explorer, who had been commissioned by the New York Herald to locate him.

Colonialism

German colonial interests were first advanced in 1884. Karl Peters, who formed the Society for German Colonization, concluded a series of treaties by which tribal chiefs in the interior accepted German "protection." Prince Otto von Bismarck's government backed Peters in the subsequent establishment of the German East Africa Company.

In 1886 and 1890, Anglo-German agreements were negotiated that delineated the British and German spheres of influence in the interior of East Africa and along the coastal strip previously claimed by the Omani sultan of Zanzibar. In 1891, the German Government took over direct administration of the territory from the German East Africa Company and appointed a governor with headquarters at Dar es Salaam.

While the German colonial administration brought cash crops, railroads, and roads to Tanganyika, European rule provoked African resistance. Between 1891 and 1894, the Hehe — lead by Chief Mkwawa — resisted German expansion, but were eventually defeated. After a period of guerrilla warfare, Mkwawa himself was cornered and committed suicide in 1898. The resistance culminated in the Maji Maji Rebellion of 19051907. The rebellion, which temporarily united a number of southern tribes and ended only after an estimated 120,000 Africans had died from fighting or starvation, is considered by most Tanzanians to have been one of the first stirrings of nationalism, although many historians dispute this conclusion. Research has shown that traditional hostilities played a large part in the rebellion.

During World War I, an invasion attempt by the British was thwarted by German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck at the Battle of Tanga, who, after the battle, mounted a drawn out guerrilla warfare campaign against the British.

German colonial domination of Tanganyika ended after World War I when control of most of the territory passed to the United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate. Added to it was the west coast of Lake Victoria, which had previously been part of the German colonies of Rwanda and Burundi.

After World War II, Tanganyika became a UN trust territory under British control. Subsequent years witnessed Tanganyika moving gradually toward self-government and independence.

Independence

In 1954, Julius Nyerere, a school teacher who was then one of only two Tanganyikans educated abroad at the university level, organized a political party--the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). In May 1961, Tanganyika became autonomous, and Nyerere became Prime Minister under a new constitution. Full independence was achieved on December 9, 1961. Mr. Nyerere was elected President when Tanganyika became a republic within the Commonwealth a year after independence.

Zanzibar

An early Arab/Persian trading center, Zanzibar fell under Portuguese domination in the 16th and early 17th centuries but was retaken by Omani Arabs in the early 18th century. The height of Arab rule came during the reign of Sultan Seyyid Said, who encouraged the development of clove plantations, using the island's slave labor.

The Arabs established their own garrisons at Zanzibar, Pemba, and Kilwa and carried on a lucrative trade in slaves and ivory. By 1840, Said had transferred his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar and established a ruling Arab elite. The island's commerce fell increasingly into the hands of traders from the Indian subcontinent, whom Said encouraged to settle on the island.

Zanzibar's spices attracted ships from as far away as the U.S. A U.S. consulate was established on the island in 1837. The United Kingdom's early interest in Zanzibar was motivated by both commerce and the determination to end the slave trade. In 1822, the British signed the first of a series of treaties with Sultan Said to curb this trade, but not until 1876 was the sale of slaves finally prohibited.

The Anglo-German agreement of 1890 made Zanzibar and Pemba a British protectorate, and Caprivi in Namibia became a German protectorate. British rule through a Sultan remained largely unchanged from the late 19th century until after World War II.

On April 26, 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, this was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania on October 29, 1964.

United Republic of Tanzania

Zanzibar received its independence from the United Kingdom on December 19, 1963, as a constitutional monarchy under the sultan. On January 12, 1964, the African majority revolted against the sultan and a new government was formed with the ASP leader, Abeid Karume, as President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. Under the terms of its political union with Tanganyika in April 1964, the Zanzibar Government retained considerable local autonomy.

To form a sole ruling party in both parts of the union Nyerere merged TANU with the Zanzibar ruling party, the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) of Zanzibar to form the CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi-CCM Revolutionary Party), on February 5, 1977. The merger was reinforced by principles enunciated in the 1982 union constitution and reaffirmed in the constitution of 1984.

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