Independence Day Of The Republic Of Tanzania 9 December

Following Germany’s defeat, Britain administered the region which it renamed as the ‘Tanganyika’ region. … Support for TANU grew, and by 1960, the first elections were planned for Tanganyika. On 9 December 1961, Tanganyika became an independent republic and became known from then on as Tanzania.

WAELE AFRICA Foundation Wishes to congratulate the government and people of Tanzania on the occasion of her 60th Independence Day. We wish your country and all its people happiness, continued success and prosperity.

History of Tanzania

The African Great Lakes nation of Tanzania dates formally from 1964, when it was formed out of the union of the much larger mainland territory of Tanganyika and the coastal archipelago of Zanzibar. 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. It served as a military outpost during World War II, providing financial help, munitions, and soldiers. In 1947, Tanganyika became a United Nations Trust Territory under British administration, a status it kept until its independence in 1961. Zanzibar was settled as a trading hub, subsequently controlled by the Portuguese, the Sultanate of Oman, and then as a British protectorate by the end of the nineteenth century.

Julius Nyerere, independence leader and “baba wa taifa for Tanganyika” (father of the Tanganyika nation), ruled the country for decades, assisted by Abeid Amaan Karume, the Zanzibar Father of Nation. Following Nyerere’s retirement in 1985, various political and economic reforms began. He was succeeded in office by President Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

Early coastal history
Travellers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and Western India have visited the East African coast since early in the first millennium CE. Greek texts such as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and Ptolemy’s Geography list a string of market places (emporia) along the coast. Finds of Roman-era coins along the coast confirm the existence of trade, and Ptolomey’s Geography refers to a town of Rhapta as “metropolis” of a political entity called Azania. Archaeologists have not yet succeeded in identifying the location of Rhapta, though many believe it lies deeply buried in the silt of the delta of the Rufiji River. A long documentary silence follows these ancient texts, and it is not until Arab geographical treatises were written about the coast that our information resumes.

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 language 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 14th century, Ibn Battuta, a Berber traveller from North Africa, visited Kilwa and proclaimed it one of the best cities in the world. Islam was practised on the Swahili coast as early as the eighth or ninth century CE.

In 1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama became the first known European to reach the African Great Lakes coast; he stayed for 32 days. In 1505 the Portuguese captured the island of Zanzibar. 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 centre 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.

Transition to independence
In 1947, Tanganyika became a United Nations trust territory under British control. “It’s geography, topography, climate, geopolitics, patterns of settlement and history made Tanganyika the most significant of all UN Trust Territories.” But two-thirds of the population lived in one-tenth of the territory because of water shortages, soil erosion, unreliable rainfall, tsetse fly infestations, and poor communications and transportation infrastructures.

In 1957, only 15 towns had over 5,000 inhabitants, with the capital Dar es Salaam having the nation’s highest population of 128,742. Tanganyika was a multi-racial territory, which made it unique in the trusteeship world. Its total non-African population in 1957 was 123,310 divided as follows: 95,636 Asians and Arabs (subdivided as 65,461 Indians, 6,299 Pakistanis, 4,776 Goans, and 19,100 Arabs), 3,114 Somalis, and 3,782 “coloured” and “other” individuals. The white population, which included the Europeans (British, Italians, Greeks, and Germans) and white South Africans, totalled 20,598 individuals. Tanganyika’s ethnic and economic make-up posed problems for the British. Their policy was geared to ensuring the continuance of the European presence as necessary to support the country’s economy. But the British also had to remain responsive to the political demands of the Africans.

Many Africans were government servants, business employees, labourers, and producers of important cash crops during this period. But the vast majority were subsistence farmers who produced barely enough to survive. The standards of housing, clothing, and other social conditions were “equally quite poor.” The Asians and Arabs were the middle class and tended to be wholesale and retail traders. The white population were missionaries, professional and government servants, and owners and managers of farms, plantations, mines, and other businesses. “White farms were of primary importance as producers of exportable agricultural crops.”

Britain, through its colonial officer David Gordon Hines, encouraged the development of farming co-operatives to help convert subsistence farmers to cash husbandry. The subsistence farmers sold their produce to Indian traders at poor prices. By the early 1950s, there were over 400 co-operatives nationally. Co-operatives formed “unions” for their areas and developed cotton ginneries, coffee factories, and tobacco dryers. A major success for Tanzania was the Moshi coffee auctions that attracted international buyers after the annual Nairobi auctions.

After Tanganyika became a UN trust territory, the British felt extra pressure for political progress. The British principle of “gradualism” was increasingly threatened and was abandoned entirely during the last few years before independence. Five UN missions visited Tanganyika, the UN received several hundred written petitions, and a handful of oral presentations made it to the debating chambers in New York City between 1948 and 1960. The UN and the Africans who used the UN to achieve their purposes were very influential in driving Tanganyika towards independence. The Africans attended public gatherings in Tanganyika with UN representatives. There were peasants, urban workers, government employees, and local chiefs and nobles who personally approached the UN about local matters needing immediate action. And finally, there were Africans at the core of the political process who had the power to mould the future. Their goal was political advancement for Africans, with many supporting the nationalist movement, which had its roots in the African Association (AA). It was formed in 1929 as a social organization for African government servants in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The AA was renamed the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) in 1948 and ceased being concerned with events in Zanzibar.

Beginning in 1954, African nationalism centered on the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), which was a political organization formed by Julius Nyerere in that year as the successor to the TAA. The TANU won the Legislative Council elections in 1958, 1959, and 1960, with Nyerere becoming chief minister after the 1960 election. Internal self-government started on 1 May 1961 followed by independence on 9 December 1961.

With Agency Report 

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