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The Olduvai Gorge, known as the Cradle of Mankind, is in Northern Tanganyika. Bantu people have lived in Tanganyika for at least 2,000 years. In the early 16th century, Arab and Portuguese traders settled in the coastal area of Tanganyika, as well as the Islands of Unguja (Zanzibar) and Pemba.

In the late 19th century, Tanganyika was colonized by Germany. Towards the end of Word War I, Tanganyika was handed over to Britain in 1919 under a League of Nations Mandate. After World War II, Tanzania became a United Nations Trust Territory, still under Britain, until it was granted independence on December 9, 1961.

Zanzibar, a constitutional monarchy under a Sultan, became independent from Britain on December 10, 1963. One month later, on January 12, 1964, a very bloody revolt, led by Field Marshall John Okello, a 27-year-old Ugandan resident of Zanzibar, overthrew the Sultan’s government. As many as 15,000 people (mostly Arabs and Indians) were murdered. Many, including Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah Al Said, fled.

golden sky with the setting sun over the roof tops of stone ton zanzibar showing buildings roofs and golden clouded sky

Above: Sunset over Zanzibar

On April 26 1964, Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, changing its name to Tanzania on October 29, 1964.
Key events since independence:

1964: Mutiny by the Tanganyika Rifles (army), quelled by British forces. Army disbanded. New army recruited.

1965-1990: Tanzania provides military training, bases and other support to liberation forces in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Mozambique, South Africa, South West Africa (Namibia), Angola and Uganda.

1967: Arusha Declaration. Ujamaa Policy establishes a socialist development program.

1969: Military coup attempt by senior army officers and well known politicians foiled.

1972: Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume, president of Zanzibar and first vice-president of Tanzania, assassinated by army officers.

1978/79: War with Uganda, culminating in the removal of Field Marshall Idi Amin from power in Uganda.

1982: Military coup attempt foiled.

1985: President Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania retired. Peaceful handover of power to Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

1995: President Ali Hassan Mwinyi peacefully hands over power to Benjamin William Mkapa.

2005: President Benjamin William Mkapa peacefully hands over power to Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

2015: President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete peacefully hands over power to John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.


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