Early History
before 1815

Tanganyika 1815-1886

TANGANYIKA as a geographical and political entity did not take shape before the period of High Imperialism; it's name only came into use after GERMAN EAST AFRICA was transferred to Britain 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 Tanganyika.

In 1698 and again in 1725 the Omanis had ousted the Portuguese from the trading ports on East Africa's coast, most notably from Kilwa and Zanzibar. During the 18th century, Zanzibar had emerged as the dominant port of the region. Trade in general had prospered, a chain of coastal trading towns, among them TANGA and BAGAMOYO, had emerged. Bagamoyo means throw your heart away; it was a port from where slaves were shipped.
In 1841, Sultan SAYYID SAID moved his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar; with him came many Arabs who invigorated the economy. In 1856, the Sultanate of Zanzibar was separated from the Sultanate of Oman; to Zanzibar belonged the island of Pemba as well as the coastal lands, including Kilwa. Arab traders established caravan routes into the interior, facilitating trades; the camel provided transportation. Slaves were among the most profitable trading goods.
The port of Zanzibar was visited by Dutch, English and French ships. The British East India Company had a representative on Zanzibar, who acted as an advisor to the sultan. In 1873 a British fleet forced Sultan Barghash to declare slave trade ended. An illegal slave trade continued.

In 1848 the German missionary JOHANNES REBMANN 'discovered' Mount Kilimanjaro; in 1858 BURTON and SPEKE 'discovered' Lake Tanganyika.
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 KAREMA 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. The fact that this station had been established and supplied from Zanzibar and Bagamoyo lead to the inclusion of East Africa into the territory of the CONVENTIONAL BASIN OF THE CONGO at the BERLIN CONFERENCE of 1885.

At the conference table in Berlin, contrary to widespread perception, Africa was not partitioned; rather rules were established amongst 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 focussed on Eastern Africa and in 1886 partitioned continental East Africa amongst 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 it's claim on Karema (it's oldest station in Central Africa) and on any territory to the east of Lake Tanganyika, to Germany.

History of Tanzania : Slave Trade and British Influence , from nyenzi.com
History of Tanzania : Early History, from United Republic of Tanzania
History of Zanzibar, from Zanzibar.net
Articles from Infoplease : Zanzibar, Tanzania
Links to Zanzibar History, from Looksmart
Zanzibar History Page from Zanzinet, detailed subfiles
History of Tanzania, from geographia.com
Islam and the Catholic Crusade Movement in Zanzibar, by Khatib M. Rajab al Zinjibari
Kilwa, Past and Present, from swahilicoast.com
On the history of Karema station : Early Belgian Expeditions , from H.W. Wack, Story of the Congo Free State, 1905, posted at this site
Caravans and the Impact of Long-Distance Trade, from East Africa, the Western Indian Ocean Basin, and the World Economy, 1760 to 1880, from College Board, AP World History
DOCUMENTS General Act of the Berlin Conference, 1885, specifically including what was to become German East Africa / Tanganyika in the Congo Free Trade Zone; posted at this site
REFERENCE The Kilindi, a chronicle of the history of the Kilindi people, translated and edited by Abdallah bin Hemedi 'l Ajjemy, Nairobi etc. : East African Literature Bureau 1963, 238 + xxxvi pp., map

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 7th 2004

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