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History of Tanzania

The East African nation of Tanzania dates formally only from 1964. Before that, its two component parts, the much larger mainland territory of Tanganyika and the coastal archipelago of Zanzibar, had quite different histories. The former was a colony and part of German East Africa from the 1880s to 1919, when, under the League of Nations, it became a British Mandate until independence in 1961. It served as a military outpost during World War II, providing financial help, munitions, and soldiers. Zanzibar, however, was always a trading hub and never became a German colony, although from the end of the nineteenth century it was a British protectorate.

Julius Nyerere, the first Prime Minister of Tanzania, had formerly been Minister of British-administered Tanganyika and then its first prime minister at independence. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s.

Prehistory

Tanzania is home to some of the oldest human settlements unearthed by archaeologists, including fossils of early humans found in and around Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania, an area often referred to as "The Cradle of Mankind". These fossils include Paranthropus bones thought to be over 2 million years old, and the oldest known footprints of the immediate ancestors of humans, the Laetoli footprints, estimated to be about 3.6 million years old..

Reaching back about 10,000 years, Tanzania is believed to have been populated by hunter-gatherer communities, probably Khoisan speaking people. Between three and five thousand years ago, they were joined by Cushitic-speaking people who came from the north, into which the Khoisan peoples were slowly absorbed. Cushitic peoples introduced basic techniques of agriculture, food production, and later, cattle farming.

About 2000 years ago, Bantu-speaking people began to arrive from western Africa in a series of migrations. These groups brought and developed ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization. They absorbed many of the Cushitic peoples who had preceded them, as well as most of the remaining Khoisan-speaking inhabitants. Later, Nilotic pastoralists arrived, and continued to immigrate into the area through to the 18th century.

Early Coastal History

Travelers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and Western India have visited the East African coast since early in the first millennium CE, and especially the towns that arose all along the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania late in the millennium. But, contrary to conventional interpretations, scholars no longer believe that Arabs or Persians were significant in founding the towns. Remains of those towns' material culture demonstrate that they arose from indigenous roots, not from foreign settlement. And the language that was spoken in them, Swahili (now Tanzania's national language), is a member of the Bantu lanuage family that spread from the northern Kenya coast well before significant Arab presence was felt in the region. By the beginning of the second millennium CE the Swahili towns conducted a thriving trade that linked Africans in the interior with trade partners throughout the Indian Ocean. From c. 1200 to 1500 CE, the town of Kilwa, on Tanzania's southern coast, was perhaps the wealthiest and most powerful of these towns, presiding over what some scholars consider the "golden age" of Swahili civilization. In the early 1300s Ibn Battuta, a Berber traveler from North Africa, visited Kilwa and proclaimed it one of the best cities in the world. Islam was practiced on the Swahili coast as early as the eighth or ninth century CE.

In 1498 Vasco da Gama became the first known European to reach the East African coast, and by 1525 the Portuguese had subdued the entire coast. Portuguese control lasted until the early 18th century, when Arabs from Oman established a foothold in the region. 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 moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. He focused on the island and developed trade routes that stretched as far as Lake Tanganyika and Central Africa. During this time, Zanzibar became the center for the Arab slave trade. Due to the Arab and Persian domination at this later time, many Europeans misconstrued the nature of Swahili civilization as a product of Arab colonization. However, this misunderstanding has begun to dissipate over the past 40 years as Swahili civilization is becoming recognized as principally African in origin.

Tanganyika (1815–1886)

Tanganyika as a geographical and political entity did not take shape before the period of High Imperialism; its name only came into use after German East Africa was transferred to the United Kingdom as a mandate by the League of Nations in 1920. What is referred to here, therefore, is the history of the region that was to become Tanzania. A part of the Great Lakes region, namely the western shore of Lake Victoria consisted of many small kingdoms, most notably Karagwe and Buzinza, which were dominated by their more powerful neighbours Rwanda, Burundi, and Buganda.

European exploration of the interior began in the mid-19th century. In 1848 the German missionary Johannes Rebmann became the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the interior to Lake Tanganyika in 1857. In January 1866 the Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone, who crusaded against the slave trade, went to Zanzibar, from where he set out to seek the source of the Nile, and established his last mission at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. After having lost contact with the outside world for years, he was "found" there on November 10, 1871. Henry Morton Stanley, who had been sent in a publicity stunt to find him by the New York Herald newspaper greeted him with the now famous words "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" In 1877 the first of a series of Belgian expeditions arrived on Zanzibar. In the course of these expeditions, in 1879 a station was founded in Kigoma on the eastern bank of Lake Tanganyika, soon to be followed by the station of Mpala on the opposite western bank. Both stations were founded in the name of the Comite D'Etudes Du Haut Congo, a predecessor organization of the Congo Free State. 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.

At the Berlin Conference of 1885, the fact that Kigoma had been established and supplied from Zanzibar and Bagamoyo led to the inclusion of East Africa into the territory of the Conventional Basin of the Congo, to Belgium's advantage. At the table in Berlin, contrary to widespread perception, Africa was not partitioned; rather, rules were established among the colonial powers and prospective colonial powers as how to proceed in the establishment of colonies and protectorates. While the Belgian interest soon concentrated on the Congo River, the British and Germans focused on Eastern Africa and in 1886 partitioned continental East Africa between themselves; the Sultanate of Zanzibar, now reduced to the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, remained independent, for the moment. The Congo Free State was eventually to give up its claim on Kigoma (its oldest station in Central Africa) and on any territory to the east of Lake Tanganyika, to Germany.

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 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.

German East Africa and the Maji Maji Resistance

All resistance to the Germans in the interior ceased and they could now set out to organize German East Africa. They continued brutally to exercise their authority with disregard and contempt for existing local structures and traditions. 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 was cornered and committed suicide in 1898.

Widespread discontent re-emerged, and in 1902 a movement against forced labour for a cotton scheme rejected by the local population started along the Rufiji River. The tension reached a breaking point in July 1905 when the Matumbi of Nandete led by Kinjikitile Ngwale revolted against the local administrators (akida) and suddenly the revolt grew wider from Dar Es Salaam to the Uluguru Mountains, the Kilombero Valley, the Mahenge and Makonde Plateaux, the Ruvuma in the southernmost part and Kilwa, Songea, Masasi, and from Kilosa to Iringa down to the eastern shores of Lake Nyasa. The resistance culminated in the Maji Maji Resistance of 1905–1907. The resistance, 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 resistance.

Germans had occupied the area since 1897 and totally altered many aspects of everyday life. They were actively supported by the missionaries who tried to destroy all signs of indigenous beliefs, notably by razing the 'mahoka' huts where the local population worshiped their ancestors' spirits and by ridiculing their rites, dances and other ceremonies. This would not be forgotten or forgiven; the first battle which broke out at Uwereka in September 1905 under the Governorship of Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen turned instantly into an all-out war with indiscriminate murders and massacres perpetrated by all sides against farmers, settlers, missionaries, planters, villages, indigenous people and peasants. Known as the Maji Maji war with the main brunt borne by the Ngoni people, this was a merciless rebellion and by far the bloodiest in Tanganyika.

War with Germany in East Africa

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 then mounted a drawn out guerrilla warfare campaign against the British.

At the outbreak of the First World War the German authorities regarded the position of their premier Colony with considerable equanimity although it was inevitably cut off from outside communication. It had been organized against any attack that could be made without those extensive preparations. For the first year of hostilities the Germans were strong enough to carry the war into their neighbours' territories and repeatedly attacked the railway and other points in British East Africa. However, British rule had begun with the occupation of the island of Mafia by the Royal Navy in 1914.

The forces at the disposal of the German Command may never be accurately known. Lieutenant-General Jan Smuts at one time estimated them at 2,000 Germans and 16,000 Askaris, with 60 guns and 80 machine guns, but this should prove to be below the mark. The white adult male population in 1913 numbered over 3,500 (exclusive of garrison), a large proportion of these would be available for military duties. The native population of over 7,000,000 formed a reservoir of man-power from which a force might be drawn limited only by the supply of officers and equipment. There is no reason to doubt that the Germans made the best of this material during the long interval of nearly eighteen months which separated the outbreak of war from the invasion in force of their territory.

In his final despatch of May 1919, General Jacob van Deventer placed the German forces at the commencement of 1916 at 2,700 whites and 12,000 blacks. Lord Cranford, in his foreword to Captain Angus Buchanan's book on the war, writes, "At his strongest von Lettow probably mustered 25,000 to 30,000 rifles, all fighting troops", with 70 machine guns and 40 guns. After eighteen months of continuous fighting, General van Deventer estimated the enemy's forces at 8,000 to 9,000 men.

Cut-off from Germany by the Royal Navy Von Lettow made a virtue of necessity and conducted a masterly guerilla campaign, living off the land and moving swiftly to repeatedly surprise the British. The British, who deployed large numbers of Indian Army troops under Smuts, faced difficult logistic problems supplying their pursuing army deep in the interior, which they attempted to overcome by the formation of a large Carrier Corps of native porters.

Another point bearing on the war and duly emphasized by General Smuts in his lecture before the Royal Geographic Society (January 1918), was the extraordinary strength of the German frontier. The coastline offered few suitable points for landing and was backed by an unhealthy swamp belt. On the west the line of lakes and mountains proved so impenetrable that the Belgian forces from the Congo had, in the first instance, to be moved through Uganda. On the south the Ruvuma River was only fordable on its upper reaches. And the northern frontier was the most difficult of all. Only one practicable pass about five miles (8 km) wide offered between the Pare Mountains and Kilimanjaro, and here the German forces, amid swamps and forests, had been digging themselves in for eighteen months.

The Honorable H. Burton, speaking in London in August 1918 said, "Nothing struck our commanders in the East African field so much as the thorough, methodical and determined training of the German native levies previous to the war."

The force which evacuated the Colony in December 1917, was estimated at the time at 320 white and 2,500 black troops; 1,618 Germans were killed or captured in the last six months of 1917, 155 whites and 1,168 Askaris surrendered at the close of hostilities.

A skillful and remarkably successful guerrilla campaign waged by the German commander Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck kept the war in Tanganyika going for the entire length of the First World War. A scorched earth policy and the requisition of buildings meant a complete collapse of the Government's education system, though some mission schools managed to retain a semblance of instruction. Unlike the Belgian, British, French and Portuguese colonial masters in central Africa, Germany had developed an educational program for her Africans that involved elementary, secondary and vocational schools. “Instructor qualifications, curricula, textbooks, teaching materials, all met standards unmatched anywhere in tropical Africa.” In 1924, ten years after the beginning of the First World War and six years into British rule, the visiting American Phelps-Stokes Commission reported: In regards to schools, the Germans have accomplished marvels. Some time must elapse before education attains the standard it had reached under the Germans.But by 1920, the Education Department consisted of 1 officer and 2 clerks with a budget equal to 1% of the country's revenue - less than the amount appropriated for the maintenance of Government House.

British East Africa

The mandate to administer the former German colony was conferred on the United Kingdom under the terms of the Supreme Council of the League of Nations. With the concurrence of the Supreme Council, the United Kingdom transferred the provinces of Ruanda-Urundi, in the northwest, to Belgium. These provinces contained three-sevenths of the population and more than half the cattle of the colony. The boundaries of the East Indies Station were enlarged in 1919 to include Zanzibar and what was the littoral of German East Africa. Dar-es-Salaam remained the seat of Government of the colony and the first Administrator was Sir Horace Archer Byatt CMG. The native troops went back quietly to their villages and the few Germans that remained were reported as settling down under the new administration.

In 1920, by the Tanganyika Order in Council, 1920, the Office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Territory was constituted. The colony was renamed Tanganyika Territory in 1920. In 1921 the Belgians transferred the Kigoma district, which they had administered since the occupation, to British administration. The United Kingdom and Belgium signed an agreement regarding the border between Tanganyika and Ruanda-Urundi in 1924.The administration of the Territory continued to be carried out under the terms of the mandate until its transfer to the Trusteeship System under the Charter of the United Nations by the Trusteeship Agreement of December 13, 1946.

British policy was to rule indirectly through African leaders. In 1926, a Legislative Council was established, which was to advise the governor. The British administration took measures to revive African institutions by encouraging limited local rule and authorized the formation in 1922 of political clubs such as the Tanganyika Territory African Civil Service Association. In 1926 some African members were unofficially admitted into the Legislative Council and in 1929 the Association became the Tanganyika African Association which would constitute the core of the nascent nationalist movement. In 1945 the first Africans were effectively appointed to the Governor's Legislative Council.

In 1928 the railway line Tabora-Mwanga was opened to traffic, the line from Moshi to Arusha in 1929. In 1919 the population was estimated at 3,500,000. In 1931 a census established the population of Tanganyika at 5,022,640 natives, in addition to 32,398 Asians and 8,228 Europeans. Under British rule, efforts were undertaken to fight the Tsetse fly (a carrier of sleeping sickness), and to fight malaria and bilharziasis; more hospitals were built. In 1926, the Colonial administration provided subsidies to schools run by missionaries, and at the same time established its authority to exercise supervision and to establish guidelines. Yet in 1935, the education budget for the entire country of Tanganyika amounted to only (US) $290,000, although it is unclear how much this represented at the time in terms of purchasing power parity.

In 1933, Sir Horace Hector Hearne was appointed as Puisne Judge, Tanganyika Territory, and acted as Chief Justice in 1935 and 1936. He held the post until 1936/1937 when he went on to be a similar job in Ceylon.

After World War II, Tanganyika became a UN territory under British control. Subsequent years witnessed Tanganyika moving gradually toward self-government and independence. In 1954, Julius Nyerere, the future leader of Tanzania, who was then a school teacher and one of only two Tanganyikans educated abroad at the university level, organized a political party -- the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU).

Zanzibar

Zanzibar today refers to the island of that name, also known as Unguja, and the neighboring island of Pemba. Both islands fell under Portuguese domination in the 16th and early 17th centuries but were retaken by Omani Arabs in the early 18th century. The height of Arab rule came during the reign of Sultan Seyyid Said, who moved his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, established a ruling Arab elite, and encouraged the development of clove plantations, using the island's slave labor. Zanzibar and Pemba were world-famous for their trade in spices and became known as the Spice Islands; in the early 20th century, they produced approximately 90% of the world's supply of cloves. Zanzibar was also a major transit point in the East African and Indian Ocean slave trade. (See Arab slave trade.) Zanzibar attracted ships from as far away as the United States, which established a consulate in 1833. 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 Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty of 1890 made Zanzibar and Pemba a British protectorate, and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia became a German protectorate. British rule through a Sultan remained largely unchanged from the late 19th century until 1957, when elections were held for a largely advisory Legislative Council.

Independence and Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar

In 1954, Julius Nyerere, a school teacher who was then one of only two Tanganyikans educated to university level, organized a political party--the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). In May 1961, Tanganika became an autonomous Commonwealth realm, and Nyerere became Prime Minister, under a new constitution. On December 9, 1961, a republican constitution was implemented, after which Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was elected president.

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. During this period, several thousand Arabs (5,000-12,000 Zanzibaris of Arabic descent) and Indians were killed, thousands more detained or expelled, their property either confiscated or destroyed.

It was at this time that the Tanganyika army revolted and Britain was asked by Julius Nyerere to send in troops. Royal Marines; Commandos were sent by air from England via Nairobi and 40 Commando came ashore from the aircraft carrier HMS Bulwark. Several months were spent in Commandos touring the country disarming military outposts. When the successful operation ended, the Royal Marines left to be replaced by Canadian troops.

On April 26, 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania on October 29 of that year. The name Tanzania is a portmanteau of Tanganyika and Zanzibar and previously had no significance. Under the terms of this union, the Zanzibar Government retains considerable local autonomy.

Recent history

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. Nyerere introduced African socialism, or Ujamaa, which emphasized justice and equality.

In 1979 Tanzania declared war on Uganda after Uganda invaded and tried to annex the northern Tanzanian province of Kagera. Tanzania not only expelled Ugandan forces, but, enlisting the country's population of Ugandan exiles, also invaded Uganda itself. On April 11, 1979, Idi Amin was forced to quit the capital, Kampala. The Tanzanian army took the city with the help of the Ugandan and Rwandan guerrillas. Amin fled into exile.

Nyerere handed over power to Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985, but retained control of the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), as Chairman until 1990, when he handed that responsibility to Mwinyi. In October 1995, one-party rule came to an end when Tanzania held its first ever multi-party election. However, CCM comfortably won the elections and its candidate Benjamin William Mkapa was subsequently sworn in as the new president of the United Republic of Tanzania on 23 November 1995. Contested elections in late 2000 led to a massacre in Zanzibar in January 2001, with the government shooting into crowds of protestors, killing 35 and injuring 600. In December 2005, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was elected the 4th president for a five-year term.

One of the deadly 1998 U.S. embassy bombings occurred in Dar Es Salaam; the other was in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2004, the undersea earthquake on the other side of the Indian Ocean caused tsunamis along Tanzania's coastline in which 11 people were killed. An oil tanker also temporarily ran aground in the Dar Es Salaam harbour, damaging an oil pipeline.

In 2008, a power surge cut off power to Zanzibar, resulting in the 2008 Zanzibar Power blackout.

References

  • Hyden, Goran (1980). Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania: Underdevelopment and an Uncaptured Peasantry. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Iliffe, John (1979) A Modern History of Tanganyika. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kjekshus, Helge (1996). Ecology Control and Economic Development in East African History. London: James Currey.
  • Koponen, Juhani (1988). People and Production in Late Pre-colonial Tanzania: History and Structures. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of International Studies.
  • Koponen, Juhani (1994). Development for Exploitation: German colonial policies in Mainland Tanzania, 1884-1914.
  • Waters, Tony (2007). The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: Life beneath the level of the marketplace. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Notes

Further reading

  • Miller, Charles. Battle for the Bundu, The First World War in East Africa. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. ISBN 0025849

External links

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