What Is The Capital Of Tanzania?

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals Building, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The Ministry of Energy and Minerals Building, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The Capital Of Tanzania

Tanzania is an East African country covering an area of 265,376 square miles. The country was established as a sovereign state in 1964 after the union of mainland Tanganyika and Zanzibar Island. Dar es Salaam was Tanzania’s first capital city. However, Dodoma was declared as the capital of Tanzania in 1974. Despite the declaration, Dar es Salaam remains the central administrative and most prominent city in Tanzania.

History Of Tanzania

Before the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two separate regions were under the different colonial rule. Tanganyika was under German’s rule in the 19th century. After the First World War, British rulers took over the mainland region. Neighboring region of Zanzibar was ruled by Arabs who used the island as a slave trade center. In 1961, Tanganyika gained independence from British rule, and subsequently, Zanzibar became independent in 1963 following the Zanzibar revolution. The two regions merged in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Dar es Salaam had been the commercial and administrative center of Tanganyika during the German and British rule. In 1973, a decision was made to move the capital of Tanzania from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam to a more central location. Dodoma was identified as the new capital of Tanzania and the relocation process commenced. However, government officials were hesitant to move, and the relocation process is still ongoing. Most government and other important offices are still based in Dar es Salaam.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s Commercial And Administrative Center

The name Dar es Salaam roughly translates to ‘home of peace’ in Arabic. It got its name from the founder of the city Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar. The city was established in 1865. When Germans took over leadership in Tanganyika, they led the nation in industrial expansion. The construction of the Central Railway line passing through Dar es Salaam resulted in the growth of the city. It grew as a commercial and financial center supporting the emerging industries. After independence and the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam continued being the capital of Tanzania. The city is still an important center housing Tanzania’s stock exchange, major banks, and the Dar es Salaam harbor- a critical entry port for the neighboring land-locked countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, and DR Congo. The city hosts the tallest buildings in the country including the 35 stories PSPF Twin Towers

Dar es Salaam: Significance In Tanzania

Dar es Salaam is known for its past as a slave trade center. Dar es Salaam was used to ship off slaves from mainland Africa to Asian countries. The city has cultural significance for Tanzania. Tanzanian culture is preserved in museums where tourists often visit. Traditional music and dance shows are held daily in the capital. The cities beautiful beaches are a popular tourist attraction. Additionally, Tanzania’s aquatic life is protected in the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve.

Dodoma, Tanzania’s new Capital

Dodoma was selected as the new capital of Tanzania due to its central location in mainland Tanzania. The location is easily accessible to Tanzanian citizens unlike Dar es Salaam which is located at the eastern end of Tanzania. Besides, Dodoma has more room for expansion and development. James Rossant, an American Architect, developed the design for Dodoma as the capital of Tanzania in 1986. The relocation of the new capital has been very reluctant. Apart from the National Assembly which moved to Dodoma in 1996, other government offices are still in Dar es Salaam. However, the current President John Magufuli is committed to having the administrative center moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma before the end of 2016.

Further Considerations

Tanzania’s cities are among the fastest developing cities in Africa. Dodoma is one of the developing cities. Dodoma requires a lot of infrastructural development to be able to serve as the administrative center for Tanzania. Dar es Salaam will remain a major city in Tanzania due to its historical and cultural significance.


More in Society