From the Great Rift Valley, between three and four million years old are derived from Australopithecus afarensis (see Laetoli). In Olduvai, approximately 1.8 million-year-old finds of Australopithecus robustus and Homo habilis have been made together with simple stone tools of the early Oldowan type, as well as of later Oldowan and acheulé types. Other traces from older Paleolithic are found. at the Kalambo Falls.
From about 22,000 years ago, finds of chip tools originate from Lake Eyasis and from Kisese in central T. Paleolithic rock art is found in central highlands and around Nyarunazi Lake. From the second millennium BC there are traces of livestock farming communities in northern Tanzania’s plains, as well as systematic food production.
At Kuturukwa near Lake Victoria, ironmaking may have occurred about 800 BC; in that case, it is the oldest known in East Africa. Near the coast, ceramics have been found in the so-called qualification tradition, which is believed to have been manufactured by the agricultural populations that spread across eastern and southern Africa at the beginning of the first millennium BC. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Tanzania.
In the beginning of our era, the coastal land was drawn into the seafaring people’s communica- tion. During the Arab expansion of the 600s, commercial cities, including Kilwa, emerged with a mixed Afro-Arab population.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese conquered the East African trading cities, but they soon faced competition from the commercial kingdom of Oman in southeastern Arabia and were driven off the coast north of Mozambique. Towards the end of the 18th century, Zanzibar became the center of an expanding trade in ivory and slaves. In the 1830s, the Omansheik Said ibn Sultan (died 1856) moved his headquarters there. There and on the neighboring island of Pemba, cloves began to be grown, soon an important export item. From there, caravan trade with the hinterland was also organized. It extended all the way to the Congo area and dealt with slaves, ivory, salt and copper. Through the distance trade, the Afro-Arabic language (Swahili) and Islam were spread across East Africa, and resources were created for larger state formation. An example of this is the one created by the Nyamwezikungen Mirambo.
At the same time, the western country became involved in the region. The United States, Britain and France signed trade treaties with Zanzibar and placed consulates there in the 1830s. Soon came the missionaries and explorers who could use the trade routes to penetrate the continent.
Britain gradually gained a strong influence over the Zanzibar Sultans, but German stakeholders first came to the mainland. Between the Rufiji and Pangani rivers, Carl Peter’s private companies signed treaties with chieftains, who “for all time” handed over the northern half of present Tanzania as well as present Rwanda and Burundi. At the same time, the German state expanded control south and west. Britain acknowledged the German occupation on the mainland in 1886, but in 1890 made Zanzibar a British protectorate. The German state soon took over from Peter’s company, which could not cope with the African resistance, which, however, continued. In the extensive Maji-Maji revolt in 1905–06, 120,000 people are estimated to have been killed by the colonial army.
After Germany’s defeat in the First World War, German East Africa was divided. The League of Nations entrusted Tanganyika as a mandate to Britain in 1922, while Belgium gained Rwanda and Burundi. The war had hit Tanzania hard. Two million Africans are estimated to have been recruited, mainly as carriers, by the Allies and Germany for the “East African Campaign”. During the interwar period, political repression increased. The economy stagnated and the conditions of the population deteriorated as agriculture focused on exports. In 1939, the first nationalist organization, The African Association, was formed, which required African interests to be represented by Africans in decision-making bodies. It was succeeded in 1954 by the Tanganyika National Union founded by Julius Nyerere(TANU). Only in 1959 did Africans gain a majority in the Legislative Council. TANU won the election in 1960.
When Tanganyika gained independence in 1961, Nyerere became the first prime minister, the following year, the president of the Republic of Tanganyika. In 1963, Zanzibar also became independent. A few months later, a bloody revolution swept away the Arabs. The left-wing Afro-Shirazi Party took power. Its leader, Abeid Karume, agreed with Nyerere on a merger of the two states to the Republic of Tanzania in 1964. From 1965, Tanzania was a one-party state, which Nyerere motivated by the need for a united fight against poverty.
The parties merged in 1977 to CCM, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (‘the revolutionary party’).
Nyereses Arusha Declaration in 1967 expressed a vision of economic self-reliance and rural development in the village community, ujamaa. The popular support was diminished by the fact that many Uyama towns were forcibly established. In the early 1980s, Tanzania’s economy was in free fall and the country was forced to seek loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This forced structural adjustments in the economy and cuts in the public sector, and resulted in the end of Ujima policy. In 1985, Nyerere presidential post, in 1990, also left the post of party leader. Zanzibar President Ali Hassan Mwinyi succeeded Nyerere, but when the first multi-party was held in 1995, Benjamin Mkapa stood as CCM’s candidate and won with 62 percent of the vote; he was re-elected in 2000 with 72 percent of the vote. His successor Jakaya Kikwete (CCM) won the elections in 2005 and 2010 with 80 percent and 63 percent of the votes respectively. Even in the 2015 presidential election, the party’s candidate, John Magufuki, took a clear victory with 59 percent of the vote. The former state-carrying party CCM has continued to dominate the policy and since 1995 it has won its own majority in all parliamentary elections.
In Zanzibar, the political climate has been characterized by contradictions that have occasionally turned into violence between CCM, which is perceived as a mainland party, and the Civic United Front (CUF). Zanzibar has more clearly marked its self-government, including by adopting its own flag, the first since 1964. See also Zanzibar (Political conditions).
The reporting from Tanzania during the 1990s was largely about mass expulsions of people originating in Rwanda and Burundi, as well as murders of albinos, whose body parts are considered by many to lead luck and protect against sorcery.