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Dar Es Salaam History, Tanzania

Tanzania is fairly a young country, but throughout its existence, the city of Dar es Salaam has maintained its position as the primary city and capital. However, a change of capital happened in 1996 transferring the capital to Dodoma.

Currently it is Tanzania’s richest place and an important economic center. It is the capital of the Dar es Salaam region with a population of two and a half million. It is still the centre of the government and as of recent, it was home to a leg of the world torch relay of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 1859, Albert Roscher, hailing from Hamburg by some luck and exploration, was the first European to come in Mzizima which means Healthy town.

In 1866, Sultan Seyyid Majid gave the city its current name Dar es Salaam - an Arabic phrase meaning Abode of Peace. In 1870 when the good Sultan succumbed to his death, the city fell to a decline. However, it was brought to life in 1887 when the German East Africa Company came here. The role of the town being the commercial center of the German East Africa company, led to the city’s progressive growth. Likewise, the industrial expansion by constructing the Central Railway Line at the beginning of the 1900s also took part in its growth. 

The British government captured the German settlement of German Eat Africa and renamed it into Tanganyika. However, Dar es Salaam retained its role as the territory's commercial centre. From then on the settlement’s population increased including many South Asians. After the Second World War, the city experienced a period of rapid growth. Along with political developments, the country attained official independence in December 1961.

During the time when Tanganyika and Zanzibar united in 1964, it remained to be the capital of the new country. The long history of the city has been a continuous change of rulers. However, true to the pliant nature of the city it has steadily bounced back from colonization and is starting to make a history of its own. Currently the steady rise of the city as the next important city of Africa can be seen by the efforts of the government to develop it into a tourism and administrative hub.  


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Dar Es Salaam is one of the top 50 cities in the world to visit. This rank is based on our travelers' reviews. Please also take the time to rank Dar Es Salaam or write a Dar Es Salaam destination review or travel tip to share your opinion.Dar Es Salaam is one of the "must visit" tourist destinations in the world. This rank is based on what other travelers shared about their experiences in Dar Es Salaam.
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