The history of Dar es Salaam – Bandar-ul-Salaam

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Dar es Salaam, the name of the city is popularly believed to mean “the Harbour or Haven of Peace” that comes from Persian Arabic “Bandar-ul-Salaam”. It was originally chosen by the city’s founder Seyyid Majjid, the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1862. However, it was not until the period between 1865 and 1866 that building got underway with construction of many of the buildings that are found on Sokoine Drive. After Sultan Majjid’s death in 1870, his successor, Seyyid Barghash turned his mind away from his brother’s ideas of building Dar es Salaam and maintained his court on Zanzibar. This led to the abandoning of construction and town planning projects set forth by Seyyid Majjid. It was not until the coming of the German East African Company in 1887 that set in motion what became to be known as the city’s formative years. The construction of a road for wheeled traffic from Dar to Lake Nyasa in 1881 had progressed 83 miles southwest of the city, and by 1885 the Germans had made up their minds to use the port of Dar es Salaam as a gateway for taking over and exploiting the interior of Tanganyika in a more purposeful way. By that time the population had increased from 900 (1860) to 5,000.

In 1891 when the German Government took over the administration of the city from the German East Africa Company, it selected Dar es Salaam as the seat of administration, main port, commercial and communications center for German East Africa. This led to the separation of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

The British occupation of Dar es Salaam in 1916 turned to develop the town not only as the seat of the government but as a capital city, administratively, economically and culturally. The growth and development of the town led to be granted the status of “municipality” in 1949 and that of a city n 1961 at the attainment of the country’s independence. The colonial past which divided the city in social and economic divisions based primarily on race, religion and education, gave way to a cosmopolitan nature after independence.

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