flag of Tanganyika
flag of Tanganyika
Tanganyika is the name applied to a section of East Africa given over to British rule after World War I. The territory had been part of German East Africa, which was captured by Britain.

After World War II the United Nations made Tanganyika a trust territory still under British authority. The Republic of Tanganyika gained its independence from Britain in 1961 and joined with Zanzibar in 1964 to form the country of Tanzania.

Tanganyika was bordered by Lake Tanganyika, from which it received its name, the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria, and a number of African countries. Tanganyika was also home to Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Indian Ocean along the eastern coast of Tanganyika provided ports that proved extremely valuable for the East Indian spice trade and the slave trade. One of the most important ports was that of Zanzibar, which received ships from many European nations.

By the mid-1800s the coastal towns became important starting points for Arab trading caravans going to the interior. Recognizing its strategic importance and having taken part in the Berlin Conference of 1885 deciding the rules by which Europe would colonize Africa, Germany annexed the territories of Tanganyika, Burundi, and Rwanda as German East Africa.

During World War I Britain invaded and occupied the German colony. In 1914 the Royal Navy took possession of the port of Mafia, and by 1916 the British had spread their presence throughout the colony. German opposition to the British during World War I was led by Commander Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. His tactics of guerrilla warfare and a scorched earth campaign left the territory in chaos.

The League of Nations gave Britain authority over the Territory of Tanganyika and Belgium authority over the Rwandan and Burundian sections of German East Africa. The Colonial Office in London appointed General Sir H. A. Byatt the first administrator-general in 1921.

In 1922 Britain outlawed slavery in Tanganyika, a practice that had continued in spite of earlier attempts to stop it. Indirect rule, which placed native leaders in positions of authority but under the British governor, was Britain's policy in Africa.

A legislative council was convened, but it was not until 1926 that it had significant African representation. Britain undertook considerable economic improvements in the area, building schools and hospitals and opening two major rail lines in 1928–29. The capital city was maintained in Dar-es-Salaam.

Economic stability for Tanganyika continued during British rule. The discovery of diamonds by Canadian John Williamson in 1940 and the importance of Tanganyika's rubber plantations during World War II helped the economy. Britain divested itself of many of its colonies and territories during the 1960s, and Tanganyika was given its independence in 1961.