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Bagamoyo 5

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Some 75 kilometres to the north of Dar es Salaam lies Bagamoyo, once the embarkation port for slaves from the hinterland, and later the first German colonial capital. It is a place of considerable significance to world history, both as an entry point for Arab and European missionaries, explorers, and traders in East and Central Africa, and in the history of the infamous slave trade. Until the middle of the 18th century, Bagamoyo was a small, rather insignificant trading center. Trade items were fish, salt and gum among other things. Most of the population consisted of fishermen and farmers.

Fortunately Bagamoyo is now being considered for inclusion as one of the World Heritage sites, to conserve and protect the fascinating Gothic and Afro-Arabic architecture in this coastal settlement steeped in history.

Tourist attractions include the Kaole ruins dating back to the 12th century thought to mark one of the earliest contacts of Islam with Africa; the Old Fort built in 1860 for holding slaves for shipment to Zanzibar; the first Roman Catholic Church in East Africa built around 1868 used as a base to run a camp of about 650 freed slaves; the German colonial administration headquarters, the Boma, in the first capital of German East Africa; the Mission Museum displaying history of Bagamoyo; and the Livingstone Memorial Church among others. Bagamoyo white sand beaches are considered some of the finest on the whole of the East African coast.

Bagamoyo 4

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1874: The body of David Livingstone is laid-in-state in Bagamoyo

Bagamoyo also became famous through the return of Livingstone: After a march of 9 months from Zambia, Livingston’s Zanzibar helpers Abdullah Susi and James Chuma brought his dead body, dried out from the sun (and missing the heart that had already been buried in Zambia) to Bagamoyo on February 15th, 1874 (“Mwili wa Daudi” – “the Body of David”). 700 slaves took their leave of him before he was taken to England where he was buried in Westminster Abbey.