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United Republic of Tanzania  
  • Mwl. Julius K. Nyerere
  • Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume
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The History of Tanzania started with the European Colonialists.  The 8th century saw the growth of city states along the coast after settlement by Arabs as a nation from Oman. It was seven centuries later in 1499 that the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama visited the island of Zanzibar.  Another 100 years later in the 16th century, the Portuguese occupied Zanzibar. Their occupation did not last for long as in 1699 the Portuguese were ousted from Zanzibar by Arabs of Oman who had returned to make it their own.  So in the 18th century the Sultan of Oman reasserted Arab overlord ship of the East African coast, which became subordinate to Zanzibar.

By 1840 when Sultan Seyyid bin Sultan moved his capital from Oman to Zanzibar, trade in slaves and ivory flourished.  In 1861, the Sultanates of Zanzibar and Oman separated on the death of Seyyid. During the 19th century, Europeans started to explore inland, closely followed by Christian missionaries. In 1884 the German Colonization Society began to acquire territory on the mainland in defiance of Zanzibar and 1890 Britain obtained protectorate status over Zanzibar, abolished the slave trade, and recognised German claims to the Mainland. German East Africa was formally established as a colony in 1897.

The 1905-07 Majimaji revolt was brutally suppressed by German troops. World events then took over with the outbreak of the First World War, and far as it was from Europe, German East Africa was not immune from the fighting, though effective fighting was short lived due to the successful 1916 Conquest of German East Africa by the British. In 1919, the League of Nations gave Britain a mandate to administer part of German East Africa, known as Tanganyika. In 1946 Tanganyika became a UN trust territory.

A Legislative Council was set up in 1926; it was enlarged in 1945 and restructured in 1955 to give equal representation to Africans, Asians and Europeans, sitting as 30 "'un-officials" with the 31 "officials". In 1954, a schoolteacher, Julius Nyerere, founded the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), which promoted African nationalism and won a large public following campaigning for independence. The colonial authorities responded with constitutional changes increasing the voice of the African population while reserving seats for minority communities.

Elections were held in 1958 and again in 1960. The result was an overwhelming victory for TANU, which was by this time campaigning for independence as well as majority rule. The new government and British Government agreed at a constitutional conference in London to full independence for Tanganyika in December 1961. Zanzibar achieved independence in 1963 as a separate and sovereign country, under the al-Busaidy Sultan.

Tanganyika became a republic in December 1962, one year after achieving independence, and the direct presidential election brought TANU’s leader, Julius Nyerere, to the presidency. In 1965 the Constitution was changed to establish a one-party system. Meanwhile, in Zanzibar, a revolution had overthrown the Arab Sultan on 12th January 1964. One month after independence the Constitution was abrogated; Abedi Amani Karume was declared the first African President of Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar and the country became a one-party state under the Afro-Shirazi Party.

On 26th April 1964 Tanganyika and Zanzibar united as the United Republic of Tanzania, with Julius Nyerere as President and the head of state, while Karume as his Vice President, retained at the same time the Presidency of Zanzibar. In 1971 Karume was assassinated in Zanzibar and Aboud Jumbe succeeded him as President of Zanzibar and Vice President of Tanzania. The political union between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania has weathered more than four decades of change. Zanzibar has its own parliament and president.

In an effort to create socially equitable and rapid development, it became in early proponent of African socialism, Ujamaa (roughly meaning Togetherness), launched in 1967 under the banner of Arusha Declaration, with nationalisation of banking, finance, industry and large-scale trade, marketing through boards, and the resettlement of peasants in communal villages, Vijiji vya Ujamaa , created out of large estates

In 1977, the two ruling parties: TANU and Afro Shirazi Party, merged to form the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) which continues to rule the country after consecutive successful elections.


Source: Government Portal Content Committee, Last Reviewed on : 2015-10-05 09:53:50
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