The Ancient Steelmakers of Tanzania

Around 2000 years ago, the Haya people of northwestern Tanzania invented an advanced iron smelting technology to produce high-grade steel at 1800 degrees Celsius. (Europe’s furnaces only reached this temperature and produced this kind of steel in the 19th century.) In the 1970s, anthropologists in Tanzania were studying the history of the Hayas, when they… Continue reading The Ancient Steelmakers of Tanzania

The Evolution of Swahili

How did Swahili -- a child of Bantu language origins, some Arabic vocabulary, Portuguese influence, birthed on the coast of East Africa -- become the lingua franca of more than 100 million people in over 8 countries in Africa, including a national language of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the DRC? What we now know as… Continue reading The Evolution of Swahili

Nyerere: Teacher, Philosopher, Leader

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a Tanzanian independence leader, political theorist, president, teacher and a founder of OAU. Born and raised in Tanzania, Nyerere returned there to teach after university studies in Uganda and Scotland. Known as Mwalimu (“teacher”), he helped create TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) and pursued independence on a non-violent, multi-ethnic basis, becoming… Continue reading Nyerere: Teacher, Philosopher, Leader


Mirambo was a king, military leader and state builder who founded a kingdom and revolutionized regional trade and power relations in 19th century Tanzania. From a young age, Mirambo was a curious learner, studying the cultural ways, political structures, commerce, military techniques and languages of nearby communities. At the time, his people, the Nyamwezi (“people… Continue reading Mirambo