Dar Es Salaam - History

History

In the 19th century Mzizima (Swahili for "healthy town") was a coastal fishing village on the periphery of Indian Ocean trade routes. In 1865 or 1866 Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar began building a new city very close to Mzizima and named it Dar es Salaam. The name is commonly translated as "harbor/haven of peace" or "abode/home of peace", based on the Persian/Arabic bandar ("harbor") or the Arabic dar ("house"), and the Arabic es salaam ("of peace") (cf. "Dar as-Salam"). Dar es Salaam fell into decline after Majid's death in 1870, but was revived in 1887, when the German East Africa Company established a station there. The town's growth was facilitated by its role as the administrative and commercial centre of German East Africa and industrial expansion resulting from the construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 1900s.

German East Africa was captured by the British during World War I and from then on was referred to as Tanganyika. Dar es Salaam was retained as the territory's administrative and commercial centre. Under British indirect rule, separate European (e.g. Oyster Bay) and African (e.g. Kariakoo and Ilala) areas developed at a distance from the city centre. The town's population also included a large number of South Asians. After World War II, Dar es Salaam experienced a period of rapid growth.

Political developments, including the formation and growth of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), led to Tanganyika attaining independence from colonial rule in December 1961. Dar es Salaam continued to serve as its capital, also when in 1964 Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania. However, in 1973 provisions were made to relocate the capital to Dodoma, a more centrally located city in Tanzania's interior. The relocation process has not yet been completed, and Dar es Salaam remains Tanzania's primary city.

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