< Last Photo   << Last Chapter                Notes on the Geography of Places: Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam         Next Chapter >>   Next Photo > 
 

Notes on the Geography of Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam

In the days of sail, there was no need for Dar es Salaam. Rather than navigate the tricky entrance to the embayed Harbor Creek, ships dropped anchor offshore in the generally calm offshore waters. Yes, there was a town here--gridded streets and all. It had been conceived by the local ruler, none other than the Sultan of Zanzibar, but in 1890, roughly 30 years after the town's creation in 1862, its population was perhaps 5,000. Things changed with the arrival of German colonial power in 1887. Big ships now needed not only safe anchorage but docks.

Make default image size larger

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 1

An anchorage was developed approximately where the ships here are at anchor, between the two churches visible in this picture, the Catholic cathedral on the left and the tiled-roof Lutheran church on the right. Later, deep-water ports were developed still farther upstream, to the left of this image. (For much more on the harbor, see Dar es Salaam, City, Port and Region, edited by J.E.G. Sutton, 1970, published as vol. 71 of Tanzania Notes and Records.)

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 2

Until about 1900, passengers and cargo, too, came ashore in small boats and walked or was carried upstairs from the water's edge.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 3

Shortly after 1900, docks appeared. Passenger traffic continued to rise until 1954, after which traffic shifted to airlines.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 4

A harbor jetty and crane were installed in 1905, the same year that the Germans began their East African railway. Like so many African railroads, this one was more a political statement than a paying proposition. The main exports in 1912 were groundnuts, cotton, cotton seed, and skins, and freight handling at the Dar es Salaam port lagged behind Tanga, about 120 miles to the north--and much closer to the bulk of European-owned farms in Tanganyika at that time. (For an account of one such farm and the career of a longtime colonist, see Werner Voigt's Sixty Years in East Africa, 1995.)

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 5

The German-built railway station. Old photographs show that the space behind the arches was originally a covered porch, open to the street.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 6

The railway platforms are very quiet, with service suspended.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 7

An on-site warehouse, occasionally used by the UN's World Food Program.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 8

Passengers arriving in colonial Dar had a choice of hotels, most of which have long since been demolished, although in some cases (the New Africa Hotel, for example) a new hotel has been built at the same location. Here is the one exception as of 2011. Despite the auto-parts signs, the design hints at the building's former use.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 9

Just behind the trees and at the angle, there used to be large signs with the words New Palace Hotel. The streets here don't form a right angle, you'll notice, thanks to a grid-spoiling diagonal once called Windsor Street, now Indira Gandhi.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 10

Directly across the street is this cafe. In the German period, it was called the Java Haus.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 11

Take a look?

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 12

See the photos on the wall?

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 13

Germans in tropical white.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 14

An officer.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 15

Women join the group.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 16

A more palatial venue: the DSM or Dar es Salaam Club. It must have been a deeply resented place, because in the first year of independence from Britain, President Julius Nyerere signed a bill dissolving the club. The building is now a training institute for the ministry of tourism.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 17

Colonial monuments have fared even worse. This one shows Hermann von Wissmann, a governor of German East Africa in the 1890s and the man who earlier suppressed a revolt. The statue was erected in 1911 and destroyed by the British almost immediately following their takeover.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 18

The site remained empty for about a decade until the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commissioned this statue, the Askari Monument, dedicated to the Africans who fought alongside the British in World War I. (A mile from the site there's a War Graves cemetery, with dozens of well-cared-for graves for those men.) Placed in 1927, the statue stands at the intersection of Inglis, Acacia, and Windsor, now Maktaba, Samora Machel, and Indira Gandhi.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 19

There's a cenotaph, too, also from 1927. It stands on a waterfront site once used for a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm I. That memorial was destroyed, and the cenotaph hasn't done much better, losing the brass plate once bolted to it.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 20

Churches have fared better, including this bit-of-Bavaria Lutheran church.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 21

The building peeking over the right shoulder is the rebuilt New Africa Hotel, built on the site of the original New Africa, whose design was much like that of the New Palace Hotel. In the German period, the hotel was called the Kaiserhof.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 22

The church pews have indestructible benches with woven-cane seats and backs.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 23

The catholic church, St. Joseph's, was contributed by French missionaries.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 24

The doors are works of art.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 25

Latin inscriptions are almost hidden on the hinges of the central doors.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 26

Domus dei et porta coeli ("the home of God and entrance to heaven").

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 27

Quam dilecto tabernacula tua ("how splendid your tabernacle").

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 28

The British added this Anglican church.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 29

It's almost devoid of the plaques that fill such churches in places where the British stayed longer.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 30

One of the few plaques inside the church.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 31

Some of the German government buildings survive, including this one, the High Court, later the Magistrate's Court. It's on the waterfront, just seaward from the Lutheran church.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 32

The balcony is supported by ironwork.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 33

A closeup.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 34

The city hall and council chamber, another German leftover.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 35

The post office was also built by the Germans, but the roof line has lost its original tiled gables, and the gray paint is somebody's idea of an improvement.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 36

The British moved ponderously toward independence and in their later years maintained a legislative assembly housed in a building paid for by a wealthy Indian merchant.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 37

The entrance has this plaque. Twining, a former soldier who arrived here in 1949 from British North Borneo, was governor for nine years, an unusually long term. The DNB suggests that he wasted a great deal of time trying to carry out the Colonial Office's mandate of moving toward independence while working to "entrench the position of the white minorities."

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 38

The legislative chamber, empty these days.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 39

On a wall, a lineup of local dignitaries.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 40

The National Museum opened in 1940 and suggested that the culture of Tanganyika was dominantly Muslim.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 41

The British often deceived themselves.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 42

Also on the museum grounds, a German lamp post.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 43

Behind the facades, many of these buildings are in rough shape. Let's take a look through that passage on the left. The building houses the Department of Lands and Surveys.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 44

The far side of the passage opens here.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 45

Hallway.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 46

We're looking for a map of Dar es Salaam, but only an office copy can be found.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 47

Meanwhile there was a commercial city, dominated by Indians. Much of this district has hardly changed since the 1950s.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 48

Here, a building dated 1931.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 49

Another, from 20 years later.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 50

The National Housing Corporation has a fondness for this color.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 51

Blocks of their flats line the Nyerere Road, the main (and usually jammed) route into the city from the airport.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 52

Something more stylish: Deco on Mosque Street.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 53

It stands next to the effusive Darkhana Jama'at-Khana or prayer hall of the Ismaili Community, built in 1930.

Tanzania: Colonial Dar es Salaam picture 54

Next to it is the Aga Khan Library and this, the Aga Khan's girl's school.


www.greatmirror.com Web   
 

* Australia's Northern Territory * Austria * Bangladesh * Belgium * Botswana * Brazil (Manaus) * Burma / Myanmar * Cambodia (Angkor) * Canada (B.C.) * China * The Czech Republic * Egypt * France * Germany * Ghana * Greece * Hungary * India: Themes * Northern India * Peninsular India * Indonesia * Israel * Italy * Japan * Jerusalem * Jordan * Kenya * Laos * Kosovo * Malawi * Malaysia * Mexico * Morocco * Mozambique * Namibia * The Netherlands * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * The Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Singapore * South Africa * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Syria (Aleppo) * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad * Turkey (Istanbul) * The U.A.E. (Dubai) * The United Kingdom * The Eastern United States * The Western United States * The Heartland State: Oklahoma * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * The West Bank * Yemen * Zimbabwe *
go back to previous picture go to next chapter go to next picture go to previous chapter page