Tanganyika (German East Africa)


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Tanganyika (German East Africa) is Number 113 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The protectorate of German East Africa was established in 1889, as Germany belatedly began building its colonial empire. When Germany was stripped of its colonies at the end of World War I, a League of Nations mandate placed most of German East Africa under British administration, and the new territory was given the name Tanganyika. A small portion of the colony was mandated to Belgium and administered from the neighboring Belgian Congo as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. The study covers both Tanganyika and the territories placed under Belgian administration, with sections devoted to physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. It focuses on the efforts of the German authorities to promote the economic development of the colony, but concludes: “White settlement on a large scale is not possible in Tanganyika, nor does it appear that the Germans wished to encourage it. The large tracts granted for plantations had to be worked by native labour, and the supply of that labour is the chief problem that the rulers of this territory have to face. The natives prefer cultivating their own lands to working for wages on plantations.” Tanganyika became an independent state on December 9, 1961. In 1964 it merged with the former British colony of Zanzibar and renamed itself Tanzania. The new states of Rwanda and Burundi were formed out of Ruanda-Urundi, and both became independent on July 1, 1962.

Last updated: March 24, 2015