HUMAN HISTORY IN TANZANIA


I thought you might like to know a little bit about the human history of Tanzania. Let me start at Olduvai Gorge with the archaelogical finding of two sets of bones. One belonged to the Zinjanthropus, known as the Nutcracker Man, and the other to Homo habilis, known as the Hand Man. The Homo habilis, capable of using tools, is the ancestor of the modern man - the Homo sapiens. Therefore, Olduvai Gorge has become known as the cradle of mankind.

Development advanced to hunter-gatherers who had better tools for hunting. These were linguistically related to the Bushman and Hottentots of South Africa. The Sandawe people spoke the “Click” or “Khoisan” language which is related to that of the Bushmen. They were followed by the food producers, either agricultural or by keeping livestock. They spoke the Cushitic language now spoken in North Africa.

Two groups came in from the North. These were both Negroid, but were of different linguistic groups:
The Bantu- Agriculturalists.
The Nilo-Hamite- Pastoralists.

A process of ethnic mixing followed. Therefore, the Cushitic intermarried with the new comers and adopted their languages.

What happened later?
The Bantu possessed important iron-processing skills, which greatly improved agricultural efficiency and enabled population growth. There was not one single migration, but a series of waves of various groups, expanding and contracting, mixing and adapting.

What was the result of this?
As a result of these migrations ending up in Tanzania, the country has a great ethnic diversity of 125 tribes. The most recent of the Nilotic migrations was by the Maasai. By the 1800s, they had reached the area around Dodoma where the Wagogo and the Wahehe stopped their advances  south.

Their reputation as the “Warrior” tribe meant that slave traders and Caravan routes largely avoided the northern part of the country. In this part of the country there are Khoisan, Cushitic, Nilotic and Bantu speaking people while the rest of the country is entirely Bantu. Swahili is a unifying force between all of these 125 tribes to communicate easily.

The sequence of settling was first by hunter-gatherers, followed by pastoralists (cushitic people), then the agriculturalists (Sukuma or Bantu people). The first group to arrive in the Ngorongoro area was the Hadzabe. This group was forced out by the Cushitic group of Mbulu people, who were agriculturalists/pastoralists. This group was forced out by another Nilotic group of Maasai.