Chronological History of man in Tanganyika
(now Tanzania)

1st Century B.C. Cushites from Ethiopia settle in Tanganyika.
2nd Century A.D. Agriculturists from Cameroun and Nigeria settle in Tanganyika and Iron Age Civilization develop.
7th Century A.D. Arabian merchants settle on the island of Zanzibar off the Tangayikan coast.
10th Century A.D. Traders from China and India visit Tanganyika in boats on a regular basis.
10th Century A.D. About this time the fabled emigration of Fijians from Tanaganyika takes place.
12th Century A.D. Swahili Civilization established in Zanzibar and Coastal Area of Mainland Tanganyika.
15th Century A.D. Organized Kingdoms and Chiefdoms established in various regions of Tanganyika.
1866-1873 European adventure trips to Tanzania including the visit of Dr.David Livingstone.
1880 German Colonization of Tanganyika.
1885 Partition of Africa; German Rule of Tanganyika recognized by European powers.
1885-1905 Wars of Resistance by African tribes against the Germans.
1890 British Rule in Zanzibar recognized by major powers.
1914-1918 British Allies over-run Tanganyika taking the country from the Germans.
1919 League of Nations decide to place Tanganyika under British Rule.
1946 Tanganyika becomes UN Trust Territory under British Administration.
1961 Independence of Tanganyika.
1962 Tanganyika becomes a Republic.
1963 Zanzibar becomes independent.
1964 Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
1985 President Nyerere retires from Office; President Ali Hassan Mwinyi takes over.
1992 Multiparty-politics re-established.
1995 President Ali Hassan Mwinyi retires and President Benjamin William Mkapa takes over.

History of Tanganyika:

Tanganyika (now Tanzania) is the cradle of mankind. In 1959 in the north of the country, in the Olduvai Gorge, Dr. Louis Leakey discovered the fossilized remains of Zinjanthropus calculated to be 1.75 million years old, the forerunner of modern man. South of Olduvai Gorge, a trail of hominid foot prints 3,600,000 years ago were discovered at Laoteli only 30 kilometers from Olduvai Gorge.

Tanzania is home of about 126 African tribes, the majority being of Bantu origin who migrated into Tanzania from West and Central Africa. While in Tanzania, they assimilated most of the people of Khoisan and Cushitic origin who had been there since the 3rd and 1st centuries BC respectively. Very few groups of people of these origins (Khoisan and Cushitic) remain in Tanzania today.

Besides peoples of Bantu, Cushitic and Khoisan origin, there are also groups of Nilotic origin the most famous being the Maasai. These are said to have settle in Tanzania in the 1st century AD. On the other hand, the Ngoni tribe, fleeing from "mfecane" (the times of troubles) brought about by the Zulu expansion under their famous King, Shaka, entered southwestern Tanzania in 1840 and defeated the Fipa who moved to northwestern Tanzania.

Stone age stones from Olduvai Gorge in the Balson Holdings Family Trust collection

Arrow Head

Skin Cutter

Arrow Head

Cleaning Stone

Arabian merchants visited the Tanzanian Coast 2000 years ago and later settled in Zanzibar around 7th century AD. They established trade routes into the interior and in so doing helped to spread the Arab influenced culture and language of the coast : Swahili culture and language.

From 1000 A.D., a considerable amount of trade went on between China, Persia and Tanzania Coastal Areas. Much exchange took place with India until after 1500 A.D. when Chinese merchant ships reached East African Coast. Chinaware of 700 years ago have been excavated in Kilwa, Tanzania bearing evidence that the Tanzania Coast was once part of a developed culture that boomed along the Indian Ocean Coast. As stated above, ivory from Tanzania was also exported to Japan around this period.

It is fabled that about this time the powerful chief Lutunasobasoba and his people followed the traders across the Indian Ocean - travelling south east of Asia and settled Fiji.

Beyond coincidence....

Interestingly, the flowering tree seen in the images below is common to both Tanganyika and Fiji. In Fiji it is called the Fijian Tulip and is found all over Viti Levu - it is clear that the tree has been there for hundreds of years - before the white man came. Who brought it from Tanganyika to Fiji? I think I know!

The Fijian Tulip - images taken near Koro Levu on the Coral Coast

Witch Doctors and Death Masks

During these times witch craft became a real part of African village life with witch doctors having the power to cast spells on people who would then die. The masks below are original death masks acquired in northern Mozambique by a white hunter in the 1940s in exchange for cigarettes. They are now held in the Balson Holdings Family Trust collection. Each death mask is carved out of the softwood of the baobab tree with animal hair (normally buck) placed as hair. The carvings are beautifully done and created as realistically as possible in the likeness of the man or woman who the spell has been cast on.

Click on thumbnail image below for larger image





West African

The Portuguese established temporary settlements in the 16th century, and a relic of a Portuguese Fort, "Geresa" built in 1505 is in Kilwa (remains right). In the late 17th century, however, the Portuguese were supplanted by the Omanis who established trade in ivory and slaves. Ivory was in great demand in India, where married women were expected to wear ivory bangles which were buried with them when they died. Ivory trade was also established in the 18th century with Japan where it was required for production of "netsukes" (ivory buttons used to suspend objects from a belt). Slaves were used to carry ivory to the coast but were also required for clove plantations in Zanzibar and in sugar plantations in Mauritius. Other slaves were exported to the Persian Gulf, Europe and Americas.

The scramble for Africa by the European powers at the end of the 19th century led to the occupation of the mainland by Germany despite resistance by leaders such as Abushiri of Pangani, Mkwawa of Iringa, and Kinjeketile of Rufiji. The latter led the famous Maji maji uprising of July 1905. Zanzibar became a British Protectorate. After World War I, Germany was forced to surrender mainland Tanzania to British rule. The mainland (then known as Tanganyika) became independent in 1961 and Zanzibar in 1963. In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form United Republic of Tanzania.

Ancestral Pipe - made of human bones

On the other side of Africa, in the north west of the Congo the bonesaka / bonesandi people had some unique traditions like this ancestral pipe (below) which is literally constructed out of the bones of the loved one who passed away. The large bowl similar to a gourd joining the two leg bone pipes and covered in pitch could be the skull of the ancestor or a primate. It was an honour for the family to smoke the pipe made from the bones of their deceased family member.

The pipe weighs 1.5 kilos and is 48cm long by 26cm high. The two thigh bones are crudely carved to represent the likeness of the ancestor and the main body of the pipe sparcely decorated with shells and small copper studs while the pieces are bound together with tightly wrapped copper braid and pitch.

Today the Bonesaka and Ngabandi people are Christian and no longer practice this sort of ritual activity.

Ancestral Pipe in the Balson Holdings Family Trust c1850

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