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Dar Es Salaam,

silversea africa indian ocean cruises dar es salaam tanzaniaLocated on the Indian Ocean coast, Dar es Salaam is the commercial capital and the country's major city. Originating from a small fishing village, Dar es Salaam began to gain importance in the mid-19th century when the Sultan of Zanzibar decided to establish a trading centre which necessitated a safe port. In 1862, the Sultan of Zanzibar, Seyyid Majid, started the construction of the city. He wanted a settlement on the mainland that would act as a focus for trade and caravans into the interior. Craftsmen from Zanzibar were brought to build the new city. A steam tug was ordered from Germany to assist with the tricky harbour entrance and to speed up movements in the wind-sheltered inner waters. When Sultan Majid suddenly died in 1870, his successor did not share Majid's enthusiasm for the new settlement with the result that it became neglected. Sultan Barghash did maintain control over Dar es Salaam through an agent who made sure that duties were collected for use of the harbour. In 1887, the German East African Company took up residence in Dar es Salaam, over which the Arabs staged a revolt to protest this takeover. When the revolt was crushed, the German government took control and made Dar es Salaam the main centre for their administration and commercial activities. Considerable construction took place during this German period; many of these buildings are still in use today. A floating dock made operational in 1902 and the construction of the Central Railway to Lake Tanganyika further strengthened the importance of the port. Today a teeming city of 3.5 million people, Dar es Salaam is the terminus of the new Tan-Am Railway that connects Tanzania with Zambia. When Germany was defeated in World War I, she also lost control of German East Africa. Renamed Tanganyika, the country was allocated to the British as a League of Nations mandate. In December of 1961, Tanganyika attained independence, with the charismatic Julius Nyerere as the first Prime Minister. In 1964, Zanzibar and Tanganyika merged to form Tanzania. Swahili and English are the official languages; the main religions are Christianity and Islam. Travellers to Dar es Salaam will find sites of historical interest both in the city and the surrounding area.