Brief History
Imperial History of Tanganyika
Tanga Boma
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.

Imperial Flag
map of Tanganyika
1892 German Map of East Africa
1897 German Map of East Africa
Map of WW1 East African Campaign
1922 Map of East Africa
1922 Map of Africa
1925 German Map of East Africa which still shows German East Africa
Map of Njombe Region, 1944
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 Western Tanganyika, 1949
Map of North-Eastern Tanganyika, 1956
Map of Tanganyika, 1957
Map of Handeni District, 1957
Map of Nzega District, 1957
Map of Kisarawe District, 1957
Map of Dar es Salaam District, 1957
Map of Dar es Salaam Centre, 1957
Map of Morogoro, 1958
Map of Dar Es Salaam District, 1958
Geological Map of Tanganyika, 1959
1962 Map of North East Tanganyika
1962 Map of Tanganyika
1962 Map of East Africa
1969 Map of Southern Tanzania
Historical tanganyika
Images of Tanganyika
National Archive Tanganyika Images
Significant Individuals
1918 - 1961
1918 - 1961
PDFs of the East African Railways and Harbours Magazines

East Africa Women's League

Shout at the Devil
District Officer in Tanganyika: 1956 - 1960
Dick Eberlie gives a comprehensive account of his time as a District Officer in late 1950s Tanganyika. He enjoyed a variety of postings but also had to contend with serious health issues in a part of the world that still had basic medical care - even for the relatively privileged HMOCS. This account does give a fascinating overview of the range of responsibilties and tasks that a District Officer was compelled to undertake, and often with the minimum of resources available.

The Winds and Wounds of Change: 1961 - 1965
Dick Eberlie tells the next stage of his career in Tanganyika where he took a front row seat in that colony's drive towards independence as the ADC of Governor Turnbull. As someone who stayed in East Africa after independence was granted, his experience of living and working in the new nation of Tanganyika gives an insight into the realities of the new paradigm.

Mutiny by the Tanganyika Army in 1964
K.H. Khan Lodhi gives an account of the role he personally played in arresting large numbers of armed Tanganyikan Army Mutineers with little more than a van with a driver, a single assistant, bluster and a lot of confidence. Although this mutiny took place in independent Tanganyika it was highly redolent of old colonial actions and also saw the British return to help the newly independent nation out in its hour of need.

The Cattle-Raiders' Blessing
Charles Cullimore recalls his posting to Kondoa in Tanganyika in the 1950s and in particular a mission to go and arrest 5 Masai warriors for cattle rustling. Taking his wife and daughter along, he was surprised by the reaction of the Masai warriors in question...

The Career of W L Heape Colonial Administrator 1919 - 1958
Colin Heape gives a biographical overview of his father's Colonial Service career stretching three decades from Africa to the Americas.

In the Wake of the Germans
Geoffrey Popplewell was sent to work in Tanganyika in 1927 just a few years after a League of Nations Mandate transferred it from German to British control. In this article, he explains the legacy of German control and how he believed the Africans perceived the differences between British and German colonial government.

Naval Action on Lake Tanganyika
E Keble Chatterton gives an overview of the remarkable events on Lake Tanganyika in World War One when the Germans, Belgians and British vied for control of this vast interior lake. A supreme fight of logistics was employed to tip the balance in the allies favour by carrying boats thousands of miles through Southern and Central Africa.

Tales From The African Bush
Joseph Felix Sweeney gives an account of his years in the Education Department in Tanganyika. He was supposed to be working in a Technical Institute but instead found himself being posted to the isolated but surprisingly well equipped Kongwa school. Kongwa had been the base for the infamous Grount Nuts' Scheme, but once that had fallen through the facilities were converted into a school.

Nurse in Other Lands
Betty Riddle describes her journey from Britain to Tanganyika in order to take up a nursing position in the post-war period. An experienced nurse, she goes on to explain the difficulties and challenges of working in such an isolated part of the Empire.

A Tanganyika Smeller-out of Witches
Robert Greenshields explains how seemingly innocent beliefs and customs like witchcraft could end up both disturbing the peace and even taking on political dimensions. The author explains how steps were taken to quickly stamp out any potential unrest in the dying days of British rule in Tanganyika.

Danger of Spilling Blood
Humphrey Taylor gives an insight into the difficulties and challenges facing those colonial administrators who attempted to stay on in their positions in post-independence African countries like Tanzania.

Death by Spearing - Nearly
Graham Edwards finds himself caught up in an unfortunate event that saw his life put in immediate danger. Fortunately bush justice was soon seen to be done and there were no longer lasting repercussions.

Call Me Madam
Elisabeth Alley recalls the pleasures of teaching Chemistry and Physics at an Indian Education Girls School in Dar es Salaam on the eve of Tanzanian Independence.

Building My Road
Humphrey Taylor gives an account of his oversight in building a road in the very remotest part of Tanganyika. Unfortunately, progress could also have a downside

Agricultural Officer, Tanganyika 1955-65
Liam Murray explains how he joined the Colonial Office expecting a long and fulfilling career only to find that the Suez Crisis and Wind of Change Speech was to cut his career short. Nevertheless, he trained and set off to work to develop Tanganyikan agriculture and help prepare the country for independence.

Autobiography, and Africa too
L.A.H. explains what it was like to travel on safari in Tanganyika with your husband in the 1930s as he was posted to remote corners of the empire. She is even goes on to explain the lengths that she had to undertake to travel to a hospital to give birth to her son in Africa.

Vacancy Tanganyika
J. Lewis-Barned explains how he found himself as a District Officer in Tanganyika in the post-war period and the varied experiences and responsibilities that he soon acquired.

Missed Again
Ruth Cutler recalls how her parents arranged for her to learn how to shoot before arriving in Tanganyika. However, she was not entirely sure who was more scared at her having her hands on such a dangerous weapon!

Riotous Assembly
J. Lewis-Barned explains a novel way of democratically electing local council officials in rural Tanganyika in the 1950s.

Passage from Mwanza to Kisumu
J. D. Kelsall gives an account of the time that his Lake Victoria Fisheries Service Motor fishing vessel was forced to become an ad hoc sailing ship in order to complete its journey from Tanganyika to Kenya.

An Anatomy of the Tanganyika Administration in 1959
David Connelly examines the qualifications and experience of colonial officials in Tanganyika on the eve of independence and considers if the direction to independence was having a significant impact on the recruits to the service.

A Brief Encounter with Vultures: A 1961 'Blackburn Beverley' Food Drop
John Ainley describes his role in the first airdrop of food in the Tanganyika Mandate with the impressively large Blackburn Beverley transport planes - but which came close to disaster.

First Footsteps
John Cooke recalls with pleasure his first assignment as a District Officer to a remote part of Western Tanganyika beyond Lake Victoria in deepest darkest Africa. He also recounts the various ways he conducted safaris as he sought to carry out his duties in such an isolated area.

Advent of Radio & Broadcasting in Tanganyika: The African Archers
Taking inspiration from the long running BBC Radio programme 'The Archers', John Ainley describes how he became involved in an African equivalent in order to help disseminate useful agricultural techniques to Tanganyikan farmers.

Not a Wisdom Tooth
Jane Shadbolt recounts how a routine journey to a dentist could turn into an epic expedition with all the concomitant dangers in the rural isolation of Northern Tanganyika.

A War Effort in Tanganyika
John Henry Harris explains how, as a mineralogical expert, he was called upon to help the colony of Tanganyika produce vital (although for him unusual) resources required for the war effort.

How Not to Learn Swahili
John Henry Harris asked a naive question about the correct Swahili word for a 'dust devil'. He found out that invoking this term, even in a foreign language like English, could have unforeseen consequences

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.

1957 - Day in the Life of Don Barton - District Commissioner Masasi

1952 Diary of Don Barton - District Commissioner Manyoni

Handbook for Councillors by Don Barton

1961 Note on the Judicial System sent to Dar Es Salaam by Don Barton

Guidelines sent to winning candidates in 1960 following election of new District Council in Ukerewe: Duties of Sub-Chiefs
Duties of N.A. Secretary
Duties of N.A. Treasurer
Duties of N.A. Sub-Treasurer

Further Note on Experiences in Tanganyika by Don Barton

Memo Regarding Independence by Don Barton

Further Reading
Pink Stripes and Obedient Servants: An Agriculturist in Tanganyika
by John Ainley

Exit From Empire: A Biography of Sir Richard Turnbull
by Colin Baker

Tanganyika Memories: A Judge in the Red Kanzu
by Gilchrist Alexander

An Affair With Africa - Tanganyika Remembered
by Donald Barton

A Fly-Switch from the Sultan
by Darrell Bates

A Gust of Plumes: A Biography of Lord Twining of Godalming and Tanganyika
by Darrell Bates

The Mango and the Palm
by Darrell Bates

The Shell at my Ear
by Darrell Bates

Wagon of Smoke : An Informal History of the East African Railways & Harbours Administration 1948-1961 by Arthur F. Beckenham

Blown by the Wind of Change
by Vivienne Bell

Letters From The Swamps: East Africa 1936-1937
by C. Bertram

Beyond the Cape of Hope
by Robert Browne

Nakumbuka "I Remember"
by Frank Burt

Bush and Boma
by J Cairns

One Beat of a Butterfly's Heart: A Tanganyika Police Notebook
by Ronald Callander

My Tanganyika Service and Some Nigeria
by Sir Donald Cameron

A Railway Runs Through: Goans of British East Africa 1865 - 1980
by Selma Caravalho

The Airmails Of East Africa To 1952
by William Colley

One White Man in Black Africa: From Kilimanjaro to the Kalahari, 1951-91
by John Cooke

Asante Mamsapu (Thank you Madam)
by E. Cory-King,

Africa In Transition: The Journey From Traditional To Modern In Africa
by George Coulter

Seventeen Letters To Tatham - A WWI Surgeon In East Africa
by Ann Crichton-Harris

Britannia Waives the Rules
by Arthur Culwick

Letters From The Horn Of Africa 1923-1942: Sandy Curle, Soldier & Diplomat Extraordinary
by Christian Curle

East African: An Airline Story
by Peter J. Davis

Twilight Of The Bwanas
by Gordon Dyus

Herrschen und Verwalten: Afrikanische Burokraten, Staatliche Ordnung und Politik in Tanzania, 1920-1970
by Andreas Eckert

District Officer in Tanganyika: 1956 - 1960 Part 2: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie
by Dick Eberlie

The Winds and Wounds of Change: 1961 to 1965 Part 3 (The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie)
by Dick Eberlie

Enigmatic Proconsul: Sir Philip Mitchell and the Twilight of the Empire
by Richard Frost

Sir Donald Cameron, Colonial Governor
by Harry A. Gailey

Mayfly on the Stream of Time: A Medical Naturalist's Life
by Mick Gillies

Tribute to Pioneers: Index of Many of the Pioneers of East Africa
by Mary Gillett

Colonialism: The Golden Years
by J. A. Golding

A Grain of Sand: The Story of One Man and an Island
by Brendon Grimshaw

Donkey's Gratitude: Twenty Two Years in the Growth of a New African Nation
by Tim Harris

Tour of Duty
by George Symes

The Career of W L Heape Colonial Administrator 1919 - 1958
by Colin Heape

Bed in the Bush
by William Helean

British Tanganyika: an Essay and Documents on District Administration
by Robert Heussler

Lords of the Fly: Sleeping Sickness Control in British East Africa 1900-1960
by Kirk Arden Hoppe

Gillman of Tanganyika, 1882-1946: The Life and Work of a Pioneer Geographer
by B.S. Hoyle

The Shamba Raiders: Memories of a Game Warden
by Bruce Kinloch

Life with Ionides
by Margaret Lane

Kilimanjaro Tales: Saga of a Medical Family in Africa
by Gwynneth Latham

The Dar Mutiny Of 1964
by Tony Laurence

Destination 5 - Memoirs of an Irish Veterinarian by Robert P Lee

A Fanfare of Trumpets
by John Lewis-Barned

The Making of Tanganyika
by Judith Listowel

The Flags Changed at Midnight: Towards the Independence of Tanganyika
by Michael Longford

The Path that Led to Africa
by Michael Longford

Forgotten Mandate: A British District Officer in Tanganyika
by E.K. Lumley

Wrong Place, Right Time - Policing the End of Empire
by Michael J. Macoun

A Chequered Career
by W. P. Mathieson,

Brief Authority: A Memoir Of Colonial Administration In Tanganyika
by Charles Meek

Never a Dull Moment: The Autobiography of John Millard - Administrator, Soldier and Farmer
by John Millard

African Afterthoughts
by Sir Philip Mitchell

A Zoo Without Bars: Life in the East African Bush 1927-1932
by T A M Nash

Tip And Run: The Untold Tragedy of the Great War in Africa
by Edward Paice

Shipwrecks And Salvage On The East African Coast
by Kevin Patience

Ten Africans
by Margery Perham

Adui Mbele (Enemy in front)
by John Pitt

Barefoot over the Serengeti
by David Read

Beating About the Bush
by David Read

Waters of the Sanjan
by David Read

An Unexpected Journey: Life in the Colonies at Empire's End: A Woman's Role
by Margaret Reardon

Hammer, Compass and Traverse Wheel: a Geologist in Africa
by William H. Reeve

Angels in Africa: Memoir of Nursing with the Colonial Service
by Bridget Robertson

Tanzania, Journey to Republic
by Randal Sadleir

The Life and Times of Abdul Wahid Sykes (1924-68)
by Mohamed Said

Insect Man: Fight Against Malaria in Africa
by Alec Smith

Sixty-Nine Years Together
by Francis G Smith

Heart of Africa
by Joan I. Smith

A Patch of Africa
by Joan I. Smith

Peripatetic Pedagogue: Some Reminiscences of R A Snoxall
edited by P R Snoxall

Dar Days: The Early Years in Tanzania
by Charles Swift

Tour of Duty
by George Symes

A Passage of Time
by Frank Thompson

Dar es Salaam 1963
by Tom Torrance

My Colonial Childhood In Tanganyika
by Julia Tugendhat

The Arab Chest
by Sheila Unwin

Science And Safari
by Jack Wilde

Wilde Tales from Africa
by Jack Wilde

Black, Amber, White: An Autobiography
by J. K. Williams

Bwana Shamba: Mr. Agriculture
by Peter M Wilson

Snake Man: The Story of C J P Ionides
by Alan Wykes

60 Years in East Africa
by Werner Voigt

Towards Independence in Africa
by Patrick Walker

For Tanganyika Items