Global Black History
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From Tanganyika to Tanzania

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A Brief History of How Tanganyika and Zanzibar became Tanzania

In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form what is now known as Tanzania. Tanganyika became independent in December 1961 and Julius Nyerere was its first Prime Minister. At independence most high ranking government positions were held by non-Africans and the government relied heavily on the British for aid. In January 1962, Nyerere resigned and Rashidi Kawawa became the Prime Minster. During this period, Tanzania began to actively distance itself from the British way to conducting business. They switched from a British model parliamentary system to an executive Presidency. Regional and area commissioners mainly from TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) were appointed to replace the provincial and district commissioners who had governed during colonialism. By the end of 1962, the country had also adopted a new constitution. Julius Nyerere returned to politics and ran against Z. Mtemvu of the African National Congress and overwhelmingly defeated his opponent.

Two years after Tanganyika became independent; Zanzibar also attained its independence. However, the first new government was still headed by the Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah and under the control of the ZNP-ZPPP coalition. This leadership left many discontent and in January 1964, Field Marshall John Okello toppled the government. The Sultan went into exile and Okello handed power over the Revolutionary Council. The Revolutionary Council was headed by Abeid Karume who sought to control the economy. Many industries in Zanzibar were nationalized and land from large estates was redistributed to local farmers.

Following the revolution, President Nyerere proposed that Tanganyika and Zanzibar form a union to which Karume agreed leading to the formation of Tanzania in April 1964. Julius Nyerere became the first President of the newly formed Tanzania and Karume was the first Vice President. However, for the first ten years of the union, Zanzibar was primarily ruled by ASP (Afro-Shirazi Party). In 1977, the two parties, TANU and ASP united to become the Revolutionary State Party or Chama Cha Mapinduza (CCM). Thereafter, party and government were always closely linked.