Many people today don't know Tanganyika as a country in East Africa.When you talk of it, m any think of the biggest lake in Tanzania. This page therefore guides you about the birth of this name in Tanzanian history.
Tanganyika as a geographical and political entity did not take shape before the period of High Imperialism; its name only came into use after German East Africa was transferred to the United Kingdom as a mandate by the League of Nations in 1920. What is referred to here, therefore, is the history of the region that was to become Tanzania.
A part of the Great Lakes region, namely the western shore of Lake Victoria consisted of many small kingdoms, most notably Karagwe and Buzinza, which were dominated by their more powerful neighbors Rwanda, Burundi, and Buganda.
European exploration of the interior began in the mid-19th century. In 1848 the German missionary Johannes Rebmann became the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the interior to Lake Tanganyika in June 1857.
In January 1866 the Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone, who crusaded against the slave trade, went to Zanzibar, from where he set out to seek the source of the Nile, and established his last mission at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. After having lost contact with the outside world for years, he was "found" there on November 10, 1871.
Henry Morton Stanley, who had been sent in a publicity stunt to find him by the New York Herald newspaper greeted him with the now famous words "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" In 1877 the first of a series of Belgian expeditions arrived on Zanzibar. In the course of these expeditions, in 1879 a station was founded in Kigoma on the eastern bank of Lake Tanganyika, soon to be followed by the station of Mpala on the opposite western bank.
Both stations were founded in the name of the Comite D'Etudes Du Haut Congo, a predecessor organization of the Congo Free State.
German colonial interests were first advanced in 1884. Karl Peters, who formed the Society for German Colonization, concluded a series of treaties by which tribal chiefs in the interior accepted German "protection." Prince Otto von Bismarck's government backed Peters in the subsequent establishment of the German East Africa Company.
At the Berlin Conference of 1885, the fact that Kigoma had been established and supplied from Zanzibar and Bagamoyo led to the inclusion of East Africa into the territory of the Conventional Basin of the Congo, to Belgium's advantage.
At the table in Berlin, contrary to widespread perception, Africa was not partitioned; rather, rules were established among the colonial powers and prospective colonial powers as how to proceed in the establishment of colonies and protectorates.
While the Belgian interest soon concentrated on the Congo River, the British and Germans focused on Eastern Africa and in 1886 partitioned continental East Africa between themselves; the Sultanate of Zanzibar, now reduced to the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, remained independent, for the moment. The Congo Free State was eventually to give up its claim on Kigoma (its oldest station in Central Africa) and on any territory to the east of Lake Tanganyika, to Germany.
In 1886 and 1890, Anglo-German agreements were negotiated that delineated the British and German spheres of influence in the interior of East Africa and along the coastal strip previously claimed by the Sultan of Zanzibar.
In 1891, the German government took over direct administration of the territory from the German East Africa Company and appointed a governor with headquarters at Dar es Salaam.