Colonization of Tanzania by Who

The colonisation of Tanzania, a captivating chapter in the nation’s history, was shaped by several powerful countries vying for control over the region. From the late 19th century onwards, Tanzania, then known as German East Africa, endured a series of occupations and invasions, ultimately falling under the control of various European powers. The scramble for Africa reached its peak during this period, with Germany, and later Britain, playing significant roles in the colonisation process. In this article, we will explore the captivating story of the colonization of Tanzania, shedding light on the key players and factors that led to its occupation.

who colonized tanzania

Who Colonized Tanzania

Tanzania, a country with a rich and complex history, was colonized by two European powers: Germany and Britain. Let’s dive into the fascinating story of who actually colonized Tanzania.

Germany’s Influence

In the late 19th century, Germany was eager to establish its presence in Africa and assert its power. In 1885, they declared East Africa a protectorate and later, in 1891, established the colony of German East Africa, which included present-day Tanzania. German colonization of Tanzania lasted from 1880 to 1919. During this period, Germany imposed its laws, infrastructure, and administrative systems on the local population.

However, details about the impact of German colonization, the main export during this era, and its effect on the locals are not provided in the given context. To have a comprehensive understanding, further research is necessary.

British Rule and the League of Nations

After Germany’s defeat in World War I, Tanzania fell under British rule. The British took control of the colony under a mandate from the League of Nations. Tanganyika, which was a German colony before 1919, became a British mandate, while Zanzibar, an important archipelago off Tanzania’s coast, was also influenced by various powers over time, including the Portuguese and the Sultanate of Oman, before becoming a British protectorate.

Colonial Legacy in Tanzania

The colonization of Tanzania left its mark on the country, shaping both its past and its present. Although specifics are not provided in the given context, it is important to acknowledge the social, economic, and political repercussions that colonization had on the locals. This part of Tanzania’s history played a significant role in shaping the country’s path toward independence.

Tanzania’s Path to Independence

Tanzania, as we know it today, emerged as a sovereign state in 1964 through the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika had been under the British mandate and was led by Julius Nyerere, affectionately known as the “father of the nation,” while Abeid Amaan Karume governed Zanzibar. Their efforts to unite these territories laid the foundation for Tanzania as a unified nation.

A Window into Tanzania’s Ancient History

Beyond its colonial history, Tanzania holds significant archaeological importance. The country is home to some of the oldest hominid settlements, including the renowned site of Olduvai Gorge, often referred to as “The Cradle of Mankind.” Scientists have discovered prehistoric stone tools and fossils in Tanzania, such as Acheulian stone tools and Homo habilis fossils – providing valuable insights into our human ancestors.

In conclusion, Tanzania experienced colonization by both Germany and Britain. With Germany’s establishment of German East Africa in the late 19th century and subsequent British rule under a mandate from the League of Nations, Tanzania’s history bears the imprints of these European powers. The impact of colonization on Tanzania’s culture, main exports, and the lives of its people necessitates further exploration and study.

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The Colonial and Post-Colonial History of Tanzania

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Tanzania, located on the tropical east coast of Africa, is approximately three times the size of Italy but has only about half as many people. The country is composed of two formerly separate political entities – Tanganyika on the continental mainland and Zanzibar on the offshore island. Geographically, Tanzania is most famous for Mount Kilimanjaro. However, like much of Africa, Tanzania suffers from low and unpredictable rainfall, recurring droughts, and poor soil composition.

The population density in Tanzania varies greatly due to differences in soil fertility and rainfall patterns. Over 90% of the population remained rural in the late 20th century, making Tanzania one of the poorest countries on the continent. According to the World Bank, in 1995, Tanzania ranked 172nd in income among 174 nations.

Ethnically, Tanzania is highly fragmented, with over a hundred ethnic groups. No single group comprises more than 13% of the population, and the five largest groups together make up only about one-fourth of the country’s population. While relations among the ethnic groups have not been as problematic as in other African countries, there have been some resentments due to unequal access to educational opportunities and higher-level occupations.

Historically, the coastal regions of East Africa, including Zanzibar, had limited contact with the continent’s interior. Instead, their economic ties were primarily with Arab countries and India. Arab traders established control over trading settlements such as Kilwa and Mombasa, while Indians dominated commercial activity, especially in Zanzibar. European influences, particularly from Portugal and later Germany and Britain, added further complexity to the region’s history.

European colonization began with the Portuguese in the late 15th century, who later lost control to the Arabs. The Germans seized Tanganyika in the 1880s but faced fierce resistance from the local population. Eventually, the British gained control of the colony during World War I. Both German and British colonial rules had significant economic and cultural impacts on Tanzania.

Under German rule, Dar es Salaam, the capital and main port, developed into an important town. Germans introduced new crops, modern transportation, and enforced oppressive policies, leading to substantial cultural and economic transformations. The most enduring legacy of German rule was the adoption of Swahili as a lingua franca, which promoted unity among the linguistically diverse regions of East Africa.

Indians played a significant role in the economic development of Tanzania, particularly in Zanzibar and the East African mainland. They dominated trade and held the majority of real estate and commercial enterprises. Slave trade, another prominent activity, was prevalent in East Africa, orchestrated mainly by Arabs.

The British’s struggle against the slave trade encountered African and Arab opposition. It was not until 1922, under British control, that slavery was abolished in Tanganyika. However, the effects of colonial rule, including forced labor and unequal economic policies, created grievances among the local population.

Colonial control also disrupted traditional ways of life and led to the emergence of a westernized elite class. These educated Africans, inspired by visions of a different future, played a pivotal role in the campaign for independence. Julius Nyerere, a former school teacher and leader of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), led the drive for independence. Tanzania gained independence in 1961, and its union with Zanzibar in 1964 formed the new nation of Tanzania.

Despite Tanzania’s cultural imprint from colonial rule, the post-independence period under Nyerere’s leadership faced numerous challenges. His pursuit of an egalitarian socialist society through authoritarian methods resulted in economic decline and political repression. The country experienced a decline in agricultural productivity, failed communal agricultural schemes, bankrupt nationalized firms, and dependence on foreign aid.

Nyerere’s regime was also marred by human rights abuses, including the imprisonment and torture of political prisoners. Elections were often unopposed, and Nyerere played a role in overthrowing three other African governments.

In conclusion, Tanzania’s colonial and post-colonial history is complex and marked by diverse cultural influences and challenges. From the Arab and European conquests to German and British colonial rules, the country experienced significant transformations and disruptions. While some positive changes occurred, such as the introduction of modern infrastructure and education opportunities, the legacy of colonialism and the post-independence era left lasting socio-economic and political scars in Tanzania.

who colonized tanzania


Question 1

Who colonized Tanzania?

Answer 1

Tanzania was colonized primarily by Germany from 1880 to 1919, before the British took control of the colony under a mandate from the League of Nations.

Question 2

When did Germany colonize Tanzania?

Answer 2

Germany declared East Africa a protectorate in 1885 and established the colony of German East Africa in 1891, beginning the colonization of Tanzania.

Question 3

What was the main export of Tanzania during colonization?

Answer 3

The specific information about the main export of Tanzania during colonization is unknown from the given context.

Question 4

What was the impact of colonization on the locals in Tanzania?

Answer 4

Specific details about the impact of colonization on the locals in Tanzania are not provided in the given context. Further research is needed to explore this aspect.

Question 5

How did Tanzania become a sovereign state?

Answer 5

Tanzania was formed as a sovereign state in 1964 through the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika was a German colony before 1919 and later became a British mandate under the League of Nations. Zanzibar, on the other hand, had various control, including the Portuguese, the Sultanate of Oman, and as a British protectorate. Julius Nyerere, known as the “father of the nation,” ruled Tanganyika, while Abeid Amaan Karume governed Zanzibar.



Lola Sofia