The country achieved its independence in 1961 as part of the United Nations de-colonization initiative.
Then known as Tanganyika, the country had been a German protectorate from 1884 to 1917 when this German colony was given to the British at the end of World War I. The British settled and helped to develop areas in Tanzania but their greater focus was on Kenya.
Leading the Way to De-Colonization
The British settled and helped to develop areas in Tanzania but their greater focus was on Kenya. There was never a ruling white class in Tanzania and the first President, Julius Nyerere, always stressed that Tanzania would be a black ruling class. Tanzania was a vital ally for all freedom fighters throughout Africa and developed a particularly strong relationship with the African National Congress fighting against apartheid.
The Father of Africa
Nelson Mandela referred to President Nyerere as his mentor and referred to him as the “Father of Africa”. Succeeding Presidents introduced more privatization of the economy and helped to increase international aid for development.