Tanzania History

By | September 24, 2021


Some sites in Tanzania are of particular interest to the period of the origins of man, thanks to spectacular and numerous finds of very archaic Australopithecine remains. The most important is the locality of Laetoli where, in levels dated to over 3.5 million years, a series of footprints of individuals (perhaps Australopithecus afarensis) were brought to light, walking with a perfectly erect gait. Certainly the most significant site is the Olduvai Gorge which cuts through the Serengeti plain, where over 50 years of research conducted by MD Leakey have allowed us to explore the long Olduvaian and Acheulean sequence.present in this deposit; microlithic industries dated to ca. 17,000 years are present at the top of the deposits preserved in this gorge. Remains of Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis and Homo erectus have been found in several sites of Olduvai Levels 1, 2 and 3. Several other sites with industries of various phases of the Acheulean are present in Tanzania (Isimila, Peninj, Isenya). Human fossils attributed to Homo erectus or a transitional form to Homo sapiens, with an age of approx. 400,000 years old, have been found near Lake Ndutu, while much more recent remains, associated with Middle Stone Age industries, come from a site on the shores of Lake Eyasi. Middle Stone Age and Late Stone Age industries are known in several locations including the Nasera shelter on the Serengeti plain. There are numerous manifestations of rock art, of which the most archaic seem to date back to the upper Paleolithic, while the most recent present naturalistic zoomorphic figures. Some of them can be dated to the Neolithic; materials from this period, which can be placed between the sixth and third millennium b. C., are present in rock shelters. From the end of the second and during the first millennium a. In addition to the first elements of Bantu culture, ceramics, agricultural practices and iron working spread in Tanzania. Particularly developed are the metallurgical installations of the early 1st millennium BC. C., with Urewe-type ceramic materials. During the flowering of the kingdom of Zimbabwe a flourishing trade of salt develops, extracted in some mines in Tanzania and complex irrigation systems appear in some centers; the most important coastal center of Tanzania was Kilwa at this time.


The coastal region, already vaguely known to the Egyptian and Hellenic world, then described in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (by an anonymous Greek navigator of the I-II century) and indicated by the name of Azania, was already in remote times a destination for traffic with the Arabian Peninsula and the East. It became, perhaps from the end of the century. VII, seat of settlement of Islamized Arabs and then of Shirāz Persians who founded, in the century. X, the flourishing empire of the Zengi (ie the Blacks), which lasted until the advent of the Portuguese. Arabs and Persians, amalgamated with the indigenous peoples of the coast and the hinterland (Bantu, Zulu), gave life to that Swahili language and culturewhich then characterized all the companies in that geographical area. In the first half of the century. XV the eastern coasts of Africa were also visited by Chinese fleets sent by the first Ming emperors and led by the eunuch Cheng Ho. The Portuguese, in search of support and commercial bases on the way to the Indies, appeared on that coast in 1498, then settling in the main coastal centers and in Kilwa, Pemba and Zanzibar. With the Arab revolt in Mombasa of 1631 a struggle began for Portugal until the fall of Fort Jesus (1698), Pemba and Kilwa. At the beginning of the century. XVIII the dominion of the whole coast north of Mozambique passed into the hands of the Sultan of Oman who entrusted the various centers to members of his family, who however tried to become autonomous.

In 1828, according to remzfamily, Seyd Sa’īd reaffirmed his authority and from Mombasa moved the seat of the principality to Zanzibar. Sa’id found substantial support in Great Britain with which he entered into a treaty which provided for the abolition of trafficking as a counterpart. You know īd Bargash (1870-88) extended his control to the interior regions of Tanzania, reaching the Great Lakes region in order to discourage slave traders, and, always in collaboration with England, tried to open the country to the world external. The great explorations undertaken in the second half of the century. XIX also by German missionaries and agents, and in particular the action carried out by K. Peters through the German Society of East Africa, led in 1884 to the signing of a series of treaties that ensured advantageous conditions for the aforementioned Society and in 1885 brought the territory under the protectorate of Germany with the legal separation of Tanganyika (continental sector) from Zanzibar and Pemba. The opposition of Sa’īd Bargash was worthless: the agreements of 1886 and 1890 defined the areas of influence of Germany and England towards the Sultan of Zanzibar. However, the Germans had to face numerous revolts (fomented by the Arab element and by the irreducible indigenous populations), which lasted until 1907. Germany’s policy to organize and develop Tanganyika was very effective but soon interrupted by the outbreak of the first world conflict. General von Lettow Vorbeck managed, with his modest strengths, to keep up with the British and Belgian forces until November 1918, the date of the signing of the armistice that sanctioned the defeat of Germany. The territory of German East Africa was entrusted by the Allied Supreme Council as mandate B (later legitimized by the League of Nations) to Great Britain (Tanganyika) and Belgium (Rwanda-Urundi). In 1920 and 1926, the first Executive Council and the first Legislative Council respectively were established in Tanganyika.

Tanzania History