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1910: Anglo-German agreements define spheres of colonial influence in late 1880s East Africa. Germany establishes a protectorate over the mainland territory; Britain follows suit in Zanzibar. Land decrees and confiscations stir resistance and nationalist sentiment, culminating in the Maji-Maji rebellion of 1905-1907 during which brutal German tactics leave more than 100,000 dead from war and starvation.

1911-1922: Germany's colonial domination ends with its defeat in World War I. Britain occupies the German territory on the mainland and begins to develop an administrative apparatus, emphasizing the export of cash crops, including coffee, cotton, sisal, and rubber. In 1922 the League of Nations places Tanganyika under the mandate of the United Kingdom.

1923-1928: Sir Donald Cameron is appointed governor of Tanganyika in 1925. He implements indirect rule, the British colonial policy of governance that empowers selected native leaders to implement colonial decrees, minimizing direct contact with local people. This administrative system provokes discontent as chosen local leaders become increasingly exploitative, stifling economic and political development.

1929-1944: Europeans and Asian immigrants control the trade sector while Tanganyikans are relegated to small-scale, heavily taxed commercial agriculture. The Depression spurs colonial pressure to increase profits through export-oriented campaigns at the expense of subsistence farming, resulting in food shortages. Dedicated to social welfare, the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) is formed in 1929.

1945-1952: With the end of World War II, the newly formed United Nations changes the legal status of Tanganyika to a "trust territory," to be steered toward self-governance and independence. In 1946 the colonial administration launches a 10-year development plan that stresses African involvement in the cash economy, education, and the establishment of elected local councils.

1953-1960: British-educated Julius K. Nyerere dominates local politics and advocates independence and egalitarianism. He becomes president of TAA in 1953 and forms the multiracial Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1954. By 1959 TANU-backed candidates win seats in Legislative Council elections, and Britain agrees to internal self-rule with Nyerere as chief minister.

1961-1962: Tanganyika gains independence on December 9, 1961. Nyerere installs Rashidi Kawawa as prime minister. Kawawa fills his cabinet with TANU loyalists, enacts broad "Africanization" policies throughout the civil service, and centralizes the administration. Nyerere sweeps the 1962 general elections, introduces a republican constitution, and names Kawawa vice president.

1963-1964: Zanzibar gains independence in 1963. Its Arab-led government is soon overthrown by Abeid Karume. He and Nyerere agree to combine the territories in April 1964 as the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar (later United Republic of Tanzania). Nyerere establishes elected district councils, but TANU marginalizes their influence by retaining the right to veto council bylaws and approve candidates.

1965-1966: A new constitution declares Tanzania a one-party state despite the existence of Zanzibar's ruling Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP), which refuses to merge with TANU and retains significant autonomy. New elections are held, and Nyerere again sweeps to victory. Tanzania's dependence on foreign aid reaches extraordinary levels; foreign aid constitutes 83 percent of the 1965 development budget.

1967: In a major declaration at Arusha, Nyerere calls for ujamaa, or "socialism and self-reliance." Emphasizing an "African socialism" based on labor-intensive agricultural development, Nyerere discourages private and foreign investment. TANU centralizes control of the commanding heights by nationalizing banks, major agricultural processing centers, primary industries, and export-trading companies.

1968-1973: Ujamaa spreads to the countryside as TANU advocates "organized village communities," relocating rural dwellers into new socialist villages with collective production and income distribution. Poor response to voluntary resettlement leads TANU to use incentives and, ultimately, compulsion to encourage the movement. Zanzibar's leader Karume is assassinated in 1972. He is replaced by Aboud Jumbe.

1974-1976: Forced relocation of rural society peaks in 1976. An estimated 80 percent of the population now lives in 7,300 distinct communal villages, compared to 5 percent in 1970. Dozens of new parastatals are established as TANU tightens economic control. Despite significant improvements in the availability of health care and education, economic growth lags behind pre-Arusha levels.

1977: In an effort to rejuvenate both the economy and the political system, Nyerere merges TANU and the Zanzibari ASP to form the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which becomes the single party. A new constitution affirms single-party rule while providing for a separate Zanzibari administration. Nyerere becomes interim CCM chairman, appointing Jumbe vice chairman, until national elections occur.

1978-1980: Nyerere sails through 1980 elections despite the country's deep economic problems. Spending increases drastically because of uncontrolled growth in the civil service and parastatal employment, corruption, rising oil prices, poor weather, and war with neighboring Uganda. Nyerere borrows significantly from the IMF and begins to encourage small-scale private enterprise and local economic investment.

1981-1984: Though economic collapse is imminent, Nyerere emphasizes social welfare at the expense of production reform. The shilling is devalued 25 percent in 1984; wages drop while inflation nears 40 percent. Rural dwellers abandon communal villages. Amid mounting criticism of and discontent with CCM policy, Nyerere still rebuffs IMF demands to liberalize the economy as a prerequisite for financial aid.

1985-1986: After guiding the country for 23 years, Nyerere steps down, and Zanzibar's Ali Mwinyi wins the 1985 presidential elections. Nyerere remains chairman of the ruling party. Facing default on external debt, Mwinyi agrees to an IMF/World Bank reform program of eliminating price controls, import restrictions, and consumer subsidies while encouraging spending cuts and further currency devaluation.

1987-1991: The IMF and international donor community support Mwinyi's reform program with significant financial aid. Strain on rural communities and the urban poor increases as the shilling loses 80 percent of its value by 1987. Mwinyi is reelected president, and Nyerere resigns as CCM chairman in 1990 after endorsing the first of many privatization initiatives: the sale of publicly owned sisal estates.

1992-1995: A 1992 constitutional amendment adopts a multiparty political system and a unicameral National Assembly with 275 members. Thirteen parties contest the 1995 general elections; with 62 percent of the vote, CCM candidate Benjamin Mkapa becomes president. He faces a suspension of IMF aid due to waning commitment to economic reforms during Mwinyi's second term.

1996-1998: Mkapa renews commitment to the market reforms and secures more aid from lender agencies. A major privatization campaign leads to sales of at least half of more than 400 existing parastatals. The investment climate improves as monetary and financial sector reforms liberalize interest rates, unify exchange rates, and attract foreign banks.

1999-2000: Nyerere dies in 1999 a revered elder statesman. Mkapa wins a second term in 2000 elections. Economic growth improves (4 percent a year), but it remains dependent on agricultural exports. Inflation is largely contained, but external debt service consumes 40 percent of public spending. Tanzania becomes eligible for debt relief under the IMF's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) framework.

2001-2003: Tanzania grows at about 6 percent per year, outpacing its neighbors. The opening of the Bulyanhulu mine makes it Africa's third largest gold producer. The government continues to invite foreign investment while concentrating on infrastructure improvements. Inflation is under 5 percent, a 40-year low. But lavish purchases of an air traffic control system and presidential jet invite accusations of waste.

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Categories: Overview
Graphs: Growth | Inflation | Well-being

Related: LinksView all categories for years from to | See Full Report | Print