Brief History
In the nineteenth century, the British had been content to exericse their power in East Africa through their influence over the Sultan of Zanzibar. This arab island claimed control over large swathes of the mainland in order to help facilitate their slave and ivory trades. The British were to be surprised by the secret gathering of treaties by Dr Carl Peters of the German East Africa Company. He was ultimately rewarded for his efforts by the awarding of German East Africa to his company's control in 1890.

World War One would see Tanganyika become a highly active theatre of war. The British were quick to invade and annex all overseas German colonies. However, the German commander in Tanganyika was to proove much more difficult to subdue than in any of the other colonial theatres of war. Paul von Lettow Vorbeck fought a highly effective guerilla campaign. He tied down huge resources for the British in a highly embarrassing campaign that raged throughout Eastern and Central Africa for the entire duration of the war. In fact, he only surrendered after it had been made clear to him that the Germans had actually already signed an armistice. Tanganyika therefore became a British conquest and it was awarded control over the territory as a League of Nations Mandate. There was some reorganisation of borders finalising the Rwanda border with Belgium and the Mozambique border with Portugal.

The British were determined to rule Tanganyika indirectly through its African leaders as much as possible. They did set up a Legislative Council which was mostly appointed by the Governor, but it did actually allow unofficial African representation. These were to be elected in 1945.

Perhaps a cynical reason for the granting of rights to the Africans was the relative poverty of the colony. The previous German colonists had shamelessly exploited the territory for all that they could and had launched massacres and murders of large scale sections of the population. Tanganyika was therefore a very fragile economy. It could attract little investment and white settlers with access to capital were more inclined to go to those colonies which granted white settler self-government. The depression of the 1930s and its impact on commodity prices did not help the situation either. The northern highlands of the colony were capable of growing some cash crops, but the south was unsuitable for intensive agriculture. Government schemes to develop economic crops consistently failed, the most notorious example was the Ground Nut Scheme of the 1940s which was an utter disaster.

The post war world was full of hope for African nationalists and independence movements. India was granted its independence in 1947 and Africans were hopeful that similar provisions could be made in their own continent. At first, British plans for the relatively under-developed African colonies seemed to be rather slow in emerging. It would take another 10 years before the Gold Coast received its independence as Ghana. Nigeria was not too far behind in getting its independence. These were examples of relatively successful economies at least by colonial standards. The British government was generally content to hand over independence to viable political units although they were wary of being left holding the uneconomic colonies at the end of this process. Tanganyika was firmly in this latter category. They therefore proposed the creation of large federated political units. They created the British East Africa Federation in the 1950s combining Kenya with Tanganyika and Uganda. Many black Africans were concerned that this was a scheme designed to prolong colonial rule. Although the scheme collapsed more because of the violence of the Mau Mau rebellion north in Kenya.

With the withdrawal of the racist South Africa from the Commonwealth in 1961, the British were quick to reassure other black African nationalists that they would be granted independence on a one person one vote basis. Tanganyika was awarded its independence in 1961 as the nation of Tanzania.

flag
Imperial Flag
map of Tanganyika
1922 Map of East Africa
1922 Map of Africa
Map of Northern Tanganyika
Map of North-Eastern Tanganyika, 1946
Map of Northern Tanganyika and Lake Victoria, 1948
Map of Tanganyika, 1948
Map of South-Western Tanganyika, 1949
Map of South-Western Tanganyika, 1949
Map of Western Tanganyika, 1949
Map of Northern Tanganyika, 1956
Map of Morogoro, 1958
Map of Dar Es Salaam, 1958
1962 Map of North East Tanganyika
Historical tanganyika
Images of Tanganyika
National Archive Tanganyika Images
Significant Individuals
1918 - 1961
Administrators
1918 - 1961
Further Reading
Tour of Duty
by George Symes
Films
Shout at the Devil
Amazon
Articles
Resettlement of Suspected Mau Mau Sympathisers in Tanganyika An Agriculturist's Involvement
John Ainley explains how the Mau Mau did not just have an impact on Kenya. In Tanganyika also, attacks did occur and precautions were taken to attempt to prevent its spread across the border.

Chapa Sumaku
J.D. Kelsall explains the ingenious methods he had to employ in order to convince fishermen in Tanganyika to switch to using nylon twine from cotton twine. It provides an example of the subtle forms of development within the late British Empire.

Life as a Colonial Service Child in Tanganyika
Debbie Philogene remembers her life as a young child being brought up and educated in East Africa in the 1950s and how hard the transition back to Britain was when it became necessary to relocate.

Big Bang near Kilimanjaro
Graham Edwards explains a novel if unconventional way to remove vast numbers of swarming birds and help protect local wheat crops.

Bwana Miti, Rongai, Tanganyika
N S Casson explains life as a Forest Officer in the small settlement of Rongai on the Northern slopes of Kilimanjaro in the 1950s.

Safari - Old Style
J D Hunter-Smith recalls going on what already felt like an old-fashioned style of touring his district in the Uruguru mountains in Tanganyika in order to promote soil conservation.

Cadet to Governor
Peter Lane gives details of the parody board game played by his parents in Tanganyika charting the potential ups and downs of a career in the colonial administration.

Marking a Boundary and Heighting a Mountain
Harry Threlfall explains the role he played in marking out the boundary between Tanganyika and Kenya and how he went about remeasuring the height of the mighty Kilimanjaro.

Meeting the Governor
Gwyn Watkins explains the formalities (and informalities) of meeting with the governor of Tanganyika on two different occasions.

Serengeti 1954
John Cooke recalls what the Serengeti was like for a D.O. before it was an internationally renowned national park.

Did colonial government neglect development?
David Nickol challenges comments by the Tanzanian President that colonial government just wanted to exploit the resources of the countries it ruled.

A District Team in Action
Robert Wise gives an example of how the expertise of a District Office Team in Tanganyika could be used to analyse and instigate a developmental solution to a community in trouble.

Rescue at the Boma in Utete
Donald J G Fraser recounts how guile was used to disperse a large and threatening crowd camped outside a Boma in Utete in Tanganyika in 1952.

Flight From Danger
Ted Claw had an unexpected brush with stampeding cattle whilst on safari in Tanganyika and gives advice on how one might deal with such a predicament.

Quality instead of Quantity: an Agricultural Officer's aim
George Brookbank explains the role of the Agricultural officer in Tanganyika in attempting to encourage local farmers to produce better quality goods that could be sold for higher prices.

When Northern Rhodesia invaded Tanganyika
Robert Wise recounts the events that saw a Northern Rhodesia District Commissioner incensed enough to seize a Tanganyikan who had fled across a lake to what he thought was safety.

Stopping a Tribal Clash in Tanganyika
David Nickol describes how he had to deal with a potentially serious clash between Masai and Chagga in Northern Tanganyika over cattle and grazing rights.

A Tribute to Ukiriguru and James Peat
Geoff Dickin considers the pivotal role played by the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation in helping Tanganyika to successfully move into the world economy via the skills and expertise nurtured at the Ukiriguru Agricultural Station

How a Tanganyika District ensured a Sustainable Supply of Firewood and Building Poles
Don Barton considers how a novel approach to conserving wood on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria was reached.

I Remember Mbulu District, Tanganyika
Tony Lee gives an overview of the Africans and British who lived and worked in this district and how they sought to help, develop and manage the local area.

Wind of Change in Songea
Alan Hall describes the experience of cooperatives in Tanganyika in the 1950s as successive British governments attempted to prepare the colony for economic self-sufficiency after independence.

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