The Central Slave and Ivory Trade Route

Date of Submission: 20/02/2006
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Antiquities Department
Coordinates: From Bagamoyo S 6 26 - E 38 54 to Ujiji, Kigoma S4 54 - E 29 40
Ref.: 2095
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Description

Until, not even 150 years ago, millions of Africans had to bear a cruel fate. They were captured by slave hunters, chained together and forced to walk some times hundred of kilometers to be sold for example to planters who used them as cheap labour in their fields. Central and East Africa was one of the main areas where the slave hunters and traders, most of them Arabs made their shade deals. They caught their victims e.g. in some areas which is today parts of Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Western and Central parts of what is today Tanzania. The Slaves were brought to the coast and from there to the spice island of Zanzibar and many were sold further to the Arab countries, Persia, and India, Mauritania and Reunion. Officially, the slave trade was forbidden in 1873 under British pressure, but it went on secretly for several years. One of the routes that were used by the traders’ caravan started in Ujiji at the shore of Lake Tanganyika. It went over 1200 kilometers and ended in Bagamoyo just opposite of Zanzibar on main land Tanzania. Many experts view this as the main route of mainly three that were documented for East Africa. By now the list includes the Ujiji-Bagamoyo route as a whole. The idea is not only to protect the still visible reminds of the dark past like Arab Forts and other historic buildings or parts of the route that are existing, but also to intensify the research around the topic, to document the memories about the era and to preserve the culture and the traditions of the communities living along the route. In this regard, there are possibilities of Trans-national Nomination with neighbouring countries like Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique. This possibility will be investigated during the nomination process. Six centres have been identified along the central slave route to include Bagamoyo, Mamboya, Mpwapwa, Kilimatinde, Kwihara and Ujiji Bagamoyo Due to its location along the Indian Ocean and being a major harbor and town along the coast of Tanzania that played a key role in the East Africa Slave trade; Bagamoyo is a “place of memory” for human suffering and humiliation caused by Slavery and the Slave trade and the imposition of European colonialism. The population of Bagamoyo groups is the result of the interaction and fusion of different ethnic groups from the interaction and fusion of different ethinic groups from the hinterland and immediate coastal built especially the Wazaramo, Wadoe, Wakwere and Wazigua and the interiors especially Wanyamwezi and Wamanyema. Bagamoyo serves as the terminal which starts from Ujiji. From Bagamoyo, slaves were shipped to Zanzibar where the slave market used to be Important slave trade evidence include slave and slave descendants, buildings such as Caravan Serai, Von Wissman block, Old market, Customs house and the Old fort. Also the freedom village at the R.C. Mission premises and the RC Museum that has enough documentation Mamboya Located in Morogoro Region; Kilosa District is a very old settlement. Historical landmarks include mango stretch plantations, slave and slave traders descendents, graveyard for the Wanyamwezi, remains of Anglican Church and an area where the house belonging to one slave trade was built. Cards, coins and domestic utensils are available as well. Mpwapwa Located in Mpwapwa District, Dodoma Region in central Tanzania Important landmarks include part of the path at Vinga’we Village still visible and in use. Others include the Anglican Church built at a place where the first church was as evidence of missionaries who fought against slave trade. Descendants of slaves and slave traders are also part of the present community. Kilimatinde Located in Manyoni District, Singida Region. Kilimatinde is another important place on the route where caravan rested at a well. The village with Arabic house, market and late the seat for the German administrative is an important place for information along the route. There existing small Arabic houses that are abandoned. Kazeh (Tabora) Kazeh was established by traders involved in the East Africa slave and Ivory trade on the area given to the traders chief Fundikara of Unyanayembe in 1852.it rapidly development into a key market centre located as it was at an interaction between the trading routes to the coast and those further inland to the Congo and north to what is today Burundi. By 1871, it was estimated to have a population for 5000, by the 1890s the population had grown to about 20,000. The only building of significance that has survived is the Kwihara Livingstone Tembe. The Tembe was built by a wealth Arab Slave trader in 1857. The owner gave it to Dr. Livingstone. The building contribution continued to be throughout the colonial period, and was pronounced historical monuments one hundred years later, in 1957 when also major repairs were done on it. Other evidence is a mosque and residence near the Tembe, a Well, Mango trees, and coconut and date tree plantations. Ujiji Ujiji was the last major trading center of the central of Caravan Trade Route located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It was a trading centre for slave and ivory coming from different parts of Lake Tanganyika, including Eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. By 1876, Stanley estimated that Ujiji had a population of 3,000 It is located within Kigoma Township, 5 km west of Kigoma Railway station. Important land marks are a site of formal port (no longer existing) coconuts and Mango Tree Avenue, Usagara grounds where slaves used to be held and auctioned and a site where the house of the former slave trade by the name of Tippu Tip used. A path running between Ujiji seminary and Kaluta Primary school through Kagera village to Luiche and beyond is clearly seen and improved by big historic Mango trees on both sides.