Tanzania News and Links ( Tanganyika News, Zanzibar News)

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The New York Times, April 7, 1873, p.5:

A Visit to a Slave Market

    In a letter from Zanzibar, dated the 15th ult., the London Daily Telegraph's correspondent, after referring to a report that the Sultan has not accepted the proposals made to him by the British Government to prohibit the transport of slaves from the coast to the islands, describes a visit he had paid to the slave market at Zanzibar, as follows:

    It is in a corner of the poorest quarter of the town, principally inhabited by negroes. At the time of my visit—5½ P. M.—said to be the busiest in the market, there were about seventy-five slaves for sale. The slaves exposed were all Africans, both the new importations and those whom their masters, for their faults or owing to pecuniary pressure, had sent to the market. The two classes could easily be distinguished.

    The latter were in good condition, and fairly clad, two or three had even silver ornaments, which, however, I was informed, were to be removed the moment their wearers were sold. They were all females, and, with three or four exceptions, young. A few of these were made to stand in a row for the inspection of intending buyers; the others sat in the verandas of the huts, talking to each other in a subdued voice—a point insisted upon by their masters and brokers, very much against their own inclination—while those in the row stood stood mute, like soldiers after the word "attention."

    The new slaves squatted in single file, describing something like a semicircle, a few being deposited in the middle. Unlike the other class, these were of both sexes, young and old, some mere children, and all of them nearly skeletons, with emaciated figures, and attenuated faces, hardly less repulsive than skulls dug up from the grave. Their appearance excited pity and loathing.
    Conspicuous among this squatting group were two negroes who were manacled and fastened together by a thick chain. I was told that they were so treated in consequence of their attempts to run away. They were young men, strongly built, but the savage was plainly written in their faces, and if I had been told that they were cannibals, it would have been hard to disbelieve it.

    I pretended to be looking out for a cook and a boy. Three girls were pointed out to me from among those sent to market by their masters; and thus I entered upon the business as a bona fide purchasers. While I was questioning the man in charge of them as to the knowledge of each in cooking, I observed the way in which other intending purchasers examined the rest of the batch. They looked into their mouths, felt their hands and shoulders and limbs, as you would a horse.
    The girls—for all these were young negresses—wore a resigned look, and seemed to submit to the degradation as a criminal does to a degrading punishment. They appeared to have been born in Zanzibar, and, having lived in Arab families, had certainly not lost, judging from their demeanor, the natural modesty of their sex. Two of them were regularly put up by auction, and every bidder had a right to examine them. While all this was going on, the poor girls had their heads cast down or turned aside from the crowd before them.

    Not having found a cook who knew the dishes I mentioned, I turned to the newly-imported batch of negroes. There were few purchasers for these, and the whole lot presented such a repulsive appearance that it was impossible for me to remain long among them. Males and females—adults and children—all seemed to be perfectly indifferent as to their lot—so entirely unconcerned at what was going on around them—their physiognomies, as a rule, so unlike that of the Arian and Semitic races that, had it not been for the slaves who were sent up from the town for sale, and who, compared with these savages, were civilized beings, I should remember the slave market of Zanzibar only by association with the cattle market of England.

The Federal Reserve Bank's estimated consumer price index shows that $1 in 1873 was equivalent to $17.93 in 2008.

The New York Times, August 25, 1873, p.2:

ZANZIBAR AS IT IS

    The present condition of Zanzibar is thus described by the correspondent of the London Times, writing under the date of July 5:

    To those who know Zanzibar in its former palmy days its present state must be quite astonishing. With the slave market closed, and no slave dhows discharging their wretched cargoes at the Custom-house, it seems as if the slave trade had been stopped for years instead of weeks.
    There are six men-of-war in harbor—the Glasgow, the Briton, the Daphne, the Wolverine, the Nimble, and the Magpie, and the Vulture and the Shearwater are expected daily. All six vessels have their boats out, blockading the coast with a vigilance and devotion to duty suicidal to their own hopes of prize money and promotion, but admirably efficient in impressing on the Arabs a sense of the almost certain destruction to which they expose their dhows should they attempt to run them in the face of the new-signed treaty.

    It is true that many of the men-of-war's boats have taken prizes; but in no case hardly have they been found to be filled with slaves, their condemnation generally depending on the technical point as to whether a single slave or so found on board has been shipped as merchandise to be sold, or is a domestic slave as recognized by law and custom.
    These constant captures may be useful at present as demonstrating to the Arabs the hopelessness of attempting to escape our energies, though they naturally increase in a very heavy degree the work of the British Consul; but it is nevertheless fortunate that Dr. Kirk is a man of tact, discretion, and sound discrimination in his judgement, as it is very advisable that we should not imbue the Arabs with an idea that we intend immediately to proceed to the last extremities of search and capture under the new power confided to us by the treaty, and this they might justly imagine did we condemn and destroy on every colorable pretext.

    It need not be said that the present stagnation of the slave trade can hardly be expected to continue unless this vigilance on our part is unceasingly kept up. There are thousands of slaves on the coast of Kilwa and Lamoo, who have been brought down for shipment, and who are now sold with difficulty at the small sum of $1 per head; and it can well be believed that the prospect of enormous gains which such a price holds forth will have induced many traders to purchase now in the hope of time and opportunity affording them some chance of being able later on to run a cargo with safety; but it is, nevertheless, distinctly a subject for the most sincere congratulation, and a proof of the success of Sir Bartle Frere's mission, that within three months of the departure of the special envoy from Zanzibar, the measures and policy which he then initiated have had the effect of bringing the slave trade to a temporary (it may be) but still to a complete standstill.

    The snake is of course scotched and not killed; but we have our own weapons to light with now, and it will be our fault if it again shows signs of any real vitality before it is completely destroyed. There can be no doubt that numbers of the slaves now on the coast will be transported by land to any spot where the dealer may fancy that he is likely to find a market or port of embarkation. We can safely trust our cruisers to watch the coastline, but it is most necessary that we should now use all our influence with Egypt and Turkey to induce those powers to stop the scandal of any part of their dominions being made the highway through which this accursed trade can still safely find its way to a profitable market.

The New York Times, April 7, 1897, p.7:

END OF SLAVERY IN ZANZIBAR.

The Government Will Allow Compensation for Those Legally Held.

    ZANZIBAR, April 6.—The Sultan of Zanzibar has issued a decree abolishing slavery. It provides that existing rights over concubines shall remain as before, unless her freedom is claimed by a concubine on account of cruelty. But in general terms the concubines will be regarded as wives.

    The Government will allow compensation for all slaves legally held. If Zanzibar is unable to meet the full expense, it is believed that the Imperial Government will assist.

    The Sultan explained the decree to leading Arabs before issuing it, on the theory that the compensation and harem clauses would reconcile them to the measure. No resistance is expected, as the Arabs have been cowed by the recent bombardment. It is feared, however, that the revenues will suffer.

The New York Times, July 3, 1881, p.10:

TO TANGANYIKA'S SHORE

YOUNG JOSEPH THOMSON'S AFRICAN EXPEDITION.*.

NARRATIVE OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY'S
EAST CENTRAL AFRICAN EXPEDITION
AS TOLD BY KEITH JOHNSTON'S SUCCESSOR—
THE OUTLET OF TANGANYIKA LAKE.

    It may be remembered that when the news came by way of Zanzibar that the leader of the Royal Geographical Society's expedition through East Central Africa had died of fever and dysentery before reaching the Central African Plateau, the general impression was that nothing would be accomplished even if the expedition proceeded... young John Thomson buried his dead leader and pressed on to the goal. That goal was chiefly the determination of certain problems regarding Lake Tanganyika which Livingstone, Cameron, and Stanley had not been able to solve.
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    United Republic of Tanzania: Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s.

    Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.
    CIA World Factbook: Tanzania


Area of Tanzania: 1,138,910 sq km
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Population of Tanzania: 39,384,223
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Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources including Arabic and English; it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages

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    The immensely long, picturesque sheet of water called by this name had apparently no outlet, and yet was not salt. It received the water from many streams, and only the later explorers could discover on the western coast one inconsiderable outflow.

    By the time Thomson arrived half of the problem solved itself. The rise of water noted already had broken its way at the point on the western side, and, in accordance with Stanley's prediction, formed a river of no small size, which joined the Congo and thus reached the Atlantic. News came to the explorers that this final overflow of the lake had caused great destruction of life on the Congo...
    As to the other part of the problem, why it is that Tanganyika is not salt, and, still more, why a smaller lake, christened Leopold, after the youngest Prince of the English crown, which lies east of Tanganyika, is not also salt—for these questions there is no satisfactory answer given...

    Of one point Thomson is satisfied, and it is that of the greatest importance to England. The eastern central parts of Africa are neither rich enough in agricultural products to afford a market of any great value for British goods, nor do they contain mineral wealth, as some explorers have hastily assumed. On the latter point Thomson may be said to be to some extent an authority, since geology has been his specialty.
    He does not hesitate to declare that in 20 years the ivory of all Africa will be used up. Now, ivory is the only product that he knows of, or could hear of, which repays transportation. He favors roads in Africa as civilizing agents, but sees no need for railways.

    Altogether, his account must prove most depressing to the politically minded at home, who look to Africa as an immediate consumer of the manufactured articles of Great Britain, and perhaps eventually as a second India. He shows how the English themselves have ruined for their fabrics what market there is by adulterating their Manchester goods. Merikani is the linen that is now prized on the east coast, and that, as the name indicates, comes from America...

    Thomson concludes that no animal is so good as the native porter. His own experience with donkeys proves that the latter are worthless, taking more men to manage them than will carry what their loads amount to, and delaying the march incredibly by their alternate stubborness and helplessness...
    Thomson makes an unusually high estimate of the honesty and working powers of his native porters. His views of tribes he met are singularly optimistic, compared with those of Burton and other travelers. He believes that many tribes are improvable by the right means, and altogether makes a spirited defense of the much-maligned African...

    He describes several interesting cases of the sudden rise of small tribes into large warrior kingdoms, and their equally sudden overthrow. On one occasion he finds a tribe of which the mere appearance of a few members sends a panic among the less warlike natives, but which has become formidable purely through assuming the dress and arms of a really ferocious tribe... He has some words of wisdom concerning off-hand judgements passed by travelers on tribes whom they meet for a few days or a few weeks, and maintains that a long residence among Africans is necessary before their characters and superstitions can be rightly judged.

*TO THE CENTRAL AFRICAN LAKES AND BACK—The Narrative of the Royal Geographical Society's East Central African Expedition, 1878-80. By JOSEPH THOMSON, F.R.G.S. In two volumes. Second edition. Boston; HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. 1881.

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