Tanzania gears up for Independence celebrations
It is the day that Tanzanians celebrate their peaceful transition to independence from being a British colony.
History of Independence Day
In 1884, mainland Tanzania was a German colony named Tanganyika, and the Sultanate of Zanzibar began as a British protectorate in 1890.
Later in 1918, Tanganyika became a British mandate territory.
In May 1961, Tanganyika became autonomous from the British.
Julius Nyerere became Prime Minister during this period and a new constitution was written to fully implement the transition to Independence by Tanganyika.
Full Independence was only achieved on December 9, 1961.
Julius Nyerere was this time elected President, and Tanganyika became a Republic within the British Commonwealth just one year after independence.
Soon after the British Protectorate of Zanzibar was proclaimed as independent, an armed coup ousted the government, and the Sultan had to find refuge in exile.
The island merged with the new Republic of Tanganyika in 1964. Together they formed the United Republic of Tanzania on October 29, 1964.
Tanzania’s independence day, traditions, customs, activities
For Independence Day, Tanzanians celebrate the landmark with fireworks, and there is excitement in the streets of Dar es Salaam, the former capital.
Simultaneously a torch is taken to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, in the north of Tanzania, as a symbol of determination and freedom for all African countries in their independence struggles.
The President grants pardons to hundreds of prisoners, usually over 70-years-old or suffering from cancer and other potentially fatal diseases.
Animals such as cows, goats, and chickens are butchered for the local delicacies of Ugali and Pilau.
Tanzania celebrates Independence Day on December 9 each year.
On this date in 1961, the East African nation of Tanganyika gained Independence from Great Britain.
In 1964, Tanganyika united with several islands in the Indian Ocean, including Zanzibar and Pemba, to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
“The United Republic of Tanzania was formed out of the union of two sovereign states namely Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
“Tanganyika became a sovereign state on December 9, 1961 and became a Republic the following year. Zanzibar became independent on December 10, 1963 and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar was established after the revolution of January 12, 1964.
“The two sovereign republics formed the United Republic of Tanzania on April 26, 1964.
“However, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic consisting of the Union Government and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.”
Tanzania is on the East coast of Africa. It is bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
To the east it borders the Indian Ocean. Unlike many other African nations, especially in the east of the continent, there was a history of changes in colonial management in what is now Tanzania, with the Belgians and more importantly, the Germans having possession of the mainland prior to World War I, after which it was transferred to a British mandate.
In Zanzibar the British influence was gradual, with the islands being ruled by the Sultan until the “shortest war in history” (when one Royal Navy bombardment caused a change of mind) ended the slave trade centred on the country and installed a new ruler, Sultan Hamoud, in 1896.
The overthrow of the Sultan of Zanzibar on January 12, 1964 (only 33 days after it had gained independence on 10th December 1963) led directly to the merger between Zanzibar and Tanganyika on April 26, 1964. The name Tanzania has no historical context, being simply an amalgamation of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the islands off its east coast. The country has been a member of the Commonwealth since Tanganyika gained Independence in 1961. In 1996, Tanzania’s capital was officially moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, although many government offices still remain in the old capital.