1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dar-es-Salaam

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DAR-ES-SALAAM (“The harbour of peace”), a seaport of East Africa, in 6° 50′ S. 39° 20′ E., capital of German East Africa. Pop. (1909) estimated at 24,000, including some 500 Europeans. The entrance to the harbor, which is perfectly sheltered (hence its name), is through a narrow opening in the palm-covered shore. The harbour is provided with a floating dock, completed in 1902. The town is built on the northern sweep of the harbour and is European in character. The streets are wide and regularly laid out. The public buildings, which are large and handsome, include the government and customs offices on the quay opposite the spot where the mail boats anchor, the governor’s house, state hospital, post office, and the Boma or barracks. Adjoining the governor’s residence are the botanical gardens, where many European plants are tested with a view to acclimatization. There are various churches, and government and mission schools. In the town are the head offices of the Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Gesellschaft, the largest trading company in German East Africa. The mangrove swamps at the north-west end of the harbour have been drained and partially built over.

Until the German occupation nothing but an insignificant village existed at Dar-es-Salaam. In 1862 Said Majid, sultan of Zanzibar, decided to build a town on the shores of the bay, and began the erection of a palace, which was never finished, and of which but scanty ruins remain. In 1871 Said Majid died, and his scheme was abandoned. In 1876 Mr (afterwards Sir) William McKinnon began the construction of a road from Dar-es-Salaam to Victoria Nyanza, intending to make of Dar-es-Salaam an important seaport. This project however failed. In 1887 Dr Carl Peters occupied the bay in the name of the German East Africa Company. Fighting with the Arabs followed, and in 1889 the company handed over their settlement to the German imperial government. In 1891 the town was made the administrative capital of the colony. It is the starting point of a railway to Mrogoro, and is connected by overland telegraph via Ujiji with South Africa. A submarine cable connects the town with Zanzibar. Dar-es-Salaam was laid out by the Germans on an ambitious scale in the expectation that it would prove an important centre of commerce, but trade developed very slowly. Ivory, rubber and copal are the chief exports. The trade returns are included in those of German East Africa (q.v.).