Tanga in northern Tanzania is the regional headquarter and one of the largest cities in the country. Compared to Arusha or Moshi it is a rather quiet city, but with a comparable population. The city of Tanga is located on the Indian Ocean near the border with Kenya.
History of Tanga
The name Tanga comes from the word “sail” because the port and its surrounding area is still the center of life in Tanga today. The most important export goods from the port include sisal, coffee, tea and cotton. The Portugese already used it as a trading hub. They controlled the region around Tanga between 1500 and 1700. After that, the Sultanate of Oman gained control of the settlement. The city was a trading port for ivory and slaves until slavery was abolished by the European powers in 1873. In 1891 the Germans bought the Tanzanian coastline Mainland off the Sultan of Zanzibar. It became the first settlement in German East Africa and was the center of German colonial administration. Later Dar es Salaam was founded in the early 20th century.
As a coastal city, Tanga was on the forefront at the beginning of World War I with British East Africa (Kenya). After the war Great Britain took control of Tanganyika and the city developed further and used its agricultural potential. The port of Tanga continued to be a gateway for the export of sisal from the region in the early stages of independence from 1961. However, with the government’s control of agricultural trade and the devaluation of world market prices for sisal. The port of Tanga began to lose revenue.
Today, despite its size, Tanga is a pleasant place with a sleepy, semi-colonial atmosphere, wide streets full of cyclists and motorbikes, fascinating architecture and faded charm.