The Arab power of Tanganyika in the nineteenth century.
Bennett, Norman Robert
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The purpose of this study is to describe the rise and fall of the Arab power in Tanganyika during the nineteenth century. The research for this topic was carried on in public and private centers for East African materials in Salem, Washington, London, Paris, Brussels, Zanzibar, Dar as-Salaam, Bagamoyo, and Kampala. Muslim Arabs and Persians established centers on the Tanganyika coast from 975 A.D., and perhaps even earlier. Not until the nineteenth century, however, did a significant penetration of the interior begin. Arabs soon visited most areas of Tanganyika, and went beyond into Central Africa. Three main routes through Tanganyika were used. The first went from the area opposite Zanzibar through central Tanganyika to Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika and the regions to the west of it. The second route started at Kilwa and went to the Lake Nyasa area. The third left the northern coast of Tanganyika and led to Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria, and the surrounding regions. The Arabs created settlements on these routes to facilitate their trading activities. Tabora and Ujiji, on the central route, were the two most important Arab posts. Few Arabs ever resided in these centers for long periods of time. A small group of Arabs, however, did become attached to each settlement. They organised their own system of government and were usually left with no regulation from their Sultan in Zanzibar, although they kept a loose relationship with him to enable trade to prosper. The Sultan accepted this arrangement; he had little military force to use in the interior of Africa even if he desired to play a more active role. The Sultan was interested in trade above all, and as long as profits continued to come to him, he took little interest in matters of administration. The Arabs in these centers had practically no interest in affairs unconnected with trade. They made no effort to set up new states or to spread Islam among the pagan Africans. In the 1870's European missionaries and explorers began to come to Tanganyika in ever increasing numbers. Such organisations as the London Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, the International African Association, the White Fathers, the Holy Ghost Fathers, and the Universities' Mission to Central Africa founded stations in the inland regions. A study of the relationships of each of these groups with the Arabs before 1885 shows that the Arabs were willing to live in peace with the newcomers. The Arabs of Tanganyika remained interested in trade alone, and left the Europeans in peace as long as the Europeans did not try to interfere in their affairs. This peaceful relationship changed in 1885, when the Germans declared a protectorate over areas close to the coast. While they were extending this control along the coast, their ineptness and brutality caused a revolt of the Arabs. The latter, as always, were unable to organise a unified resistance, but they kept up a war for two years. When the Germans defeated the Arabs on the coast, they extended German influence into the interior. The Arabs of central Tanganyika, in the Tabora region, made peace at once. The Arabs settled around Lake Tanganyika were less receptive to European control. In the end, however, they were drawn into the Arab-Belgian conflict in the Congo and were crushed. Thus, at the beginning of 1894, the Arabs of Tanganyika were finished as a significant force. The remaining Arabs in the interior returned to the coast since trade no longer flourished. They left few influences behind to commemorate their half century of domination of the interior of Tanganyika.
Abstract: p. 260-262. Autobiography: p. 263. Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University. Bibliography: p. 246-259.