The following were the effects of the Portuguese on the spread of Islam at the east African coast

  • Destruction of towns
  • Destruction of Muslim infrastructures
  • Moral decay
  • Forced Muslims to convert to Christianity
  • Introduced Christianity

  • Expelled Arabs from the coast
  • They were poor and arrogant administrators
  • Destruction of Swahili culture
  • Destruction of trade
  • Introduction of heavy taxes
  • Destroyed Islamic eating methods
  • Divide and rule
  • Destruction of Sharia law


By 1500 AD, Islam was the strongest influencing factor at the East African coast. There are many factors that facilitated the introduction and the spread of Islam at the East African coast which include the following:-

The Arabs came and settled at the coast, they started trading with the local people at the coast whereby they carried out barter trade. The item from the interior and along the coast of E. Africa. Thus this trade, there was instructions between Arabs and Africans, and the process Islam was spread. 

Intermarriages: This was anotherstrong factor responsiblefor the spread of Islam on the coast of E. Africa. When the Arabs arrived at the coast, they married black women who produced children that were automatically Muslims. The number of Muslims increased at the coast a situation that led to the development f Islam

The introduction of Kiswahili language: Swahili was a mixture of the Bantu language and Arabic. The development of this language was a very big factor in the development of Islam at the coast because it eased communication between the Arabs and Africans thereby earning the preaching of Islam.

The role of Muslim scholars, it is noted that Muslim scholars visited the coast, they wrote and even drew maps locating the coast of East Africa E.G. Ibin Batuuta and the information that was produced was taken to Arabia and parts of the world thus advertising the coast which later facilitated the coming of more Arabs muslims who eventually spread Islam.

The hospitality of people of E. Africa. The warm welcome accorded to Arab Muslims by the coastal people facilitated the spread of Islam by providing accommodation to Arab Muslims.

Introduction of Sharia. It is noted that the Arabs introduced Islamic laws as a code of conduct which at a later stage helped many people to convert to Islam. The effective implementation of Sharia especially in matters of family law inheritance, commercial transactions etc attracted many people to Islam.

The construction of mosques and Quranic schools. It’s on record that the Arabs constructed Muslim infrastructures like mosques and schools in areas like Mombasa, Malindi, and Kilwa etc. The mosques worked as coordination centres, prayer places and sometimes as places to celebrate Muslim festivals. The Quranic schools helped the teaching of Islam because the Quran and Hadith of prophet were part of the religion a situation that facilitated Islam at the coast.

The role of slave trade.  Much as the practice retarded the spread of Islam, to some extent it facilitated the spread of Islam. It was automatic that one had to behave like his master even without being forced.

The provision of employment to Africans by the Arabs. It is noted that when the Arabs reached at the coast, they introduced plantation and Agriculture and they offered to people who preferred to behave as they behaved. Therefore most of Africans adopted Islam because it was the way of life for the Arabs.

Presence of favourable climate. This factor facilitated the Arabs to come and settle at the E. African coast, in the process they found themselves spreading Islam hence developing the religion.

Introduction of Arabic language at the coast. This was a very important factor because most of Islamic literature like the Holy Quran, Hadith of the prophet etc were written in Arabic. Therefore if became easier for African to learn the principles of Islam after being introduced to Arabic language.

  • The Arab way of eating was perhaps another factor that made Africans to admire Islam. For resistance the Arabs would wash their hands before eating, eat together from one plate while sitting down etc. This level of hygiene and brotherhood attracted Africans who were always invited but not a chased away to share the meal.
  • Expulsion of the Portuguese from East African coast.
  • Proxicimity of East Africa to Middle East.
  • Presence of valuable trade items like gold, ivory etc.
  • The role of sheikhs.
  • Presence of Indian Ocean and monsoon winds.



The word Khoikhoi means men of men. The Khoikhoi were
second to the san as the inhabitants of South Africa.

They were herders who settled on the land between the Atlantic coast and Buffalo coast on the Indian Ocean.

They belong to the Bush-manoid race just like the San but were taller.

Like the San, they were yellow-brown skinned and their
language was full of clicks.

When the Boers came, they nicked name them Hottentots;
meaning people who were dull, stupid, lazy, and smelling.
They are believed to have migrated from central and east


The Maji-Maji rebellion was a mass uprising against German rule in Southern Tanganyika.

The term Maji-Maji is derived from the Swahili word: Maji, which means Water. It stemmed from the magic water (millet and maize flour mixed in water drawn from river Rufiji), which Kinjekitile Ngwale of Ngaramba: a priest who established himself near river Rufiji and claimed protection by a spirit called Hongo, sprinkled the resisters with, to protect them from German bullets.

causes of maji maji war in tanganyika

Communities that were involved in the Maji-Maji uprising.

  • The Zaramo,
  • The Matumbi,
  • The Bena,
  • The Ngindo,
  • The Pogoro,
  • The Bunga,
  • The Ngoni,
  • The Luguru,
  • The Wamwera,
  • The Ndendeule.

What were the factors or causes of the Maji-Maji rebellion?

Oppression, False Accusations, and Torture

The causes of the Maji Maji War were deeply rooted in the oppressive actions of German company officials towards the African population. The Europeans employed a range of oppressive tactics that ignited anger and resistance among the locals. One of the most egregious examples was the punishment inflicted on Africans for drinking traditional liquor. The cultural significance of such drinks was completely disregarded by the Germans, who imposed severe caning as punishment. This disproportionate and arbitrary response to a cultural practice that held meaning for the Africans deeply undermined their sense of autonomy and respect.

Disregard for Local Taboos and Moral Offenses

The Germans further aggravated tensions by openly defying and breaking local taboos regarding rape, fornication, and adultery. These taboos held immense significance within the local communities, with violations often punishable by death. The Europeans, along with their house-boys, exhibited a blatant disregard for these norms, leading to widespread resentment and anger among the African populace. The violation of such deeply ingrained cultural boundaries not only undermined traditional values but also contributed to a sense of humiliation and indignation.

Discrediting Traditional Beliefs and Practices

The intrusion of Christian missionaries and their efforts to discredit and profane traditional African beliefs and practices added to the causes of the conflict. As the missionaries sought to impose Christianity on the locals, they often ridiculed and dismissed the indigenous spiritual and sacred practices. This not only disrupted the cultural fabric but also generated a sense of deep mistrust and resentment. The forced imposition of foreign beliefs and the undermining of indigenous traditions led to a clash of values and contributed to the growing tension.

Land Alienation and Economic Exploitation

The German settlers’ expansionist approach led to the massive appropriation of land in areas like Usambara, Meru, and Kilimanjaro. The land-grabbing, coupled with the settlers’ pursuit of farming, resulted in the displacement of Africans from their ancestral lands. The completion of railway lines also contributed to this phenomenon. The loss of land, a vital resource for sustenance and identity, deeply impacted the African communities and fueled a sense of injustice and dispossession.

Kinjekitile’s Promises and Economic Disruption

The charismatic figure of Kinjekitile played a pivotal role in uniting the Africans against the Germans. His promise of immunity to bullets created a powerful rallying point for resistance. This promise, coupled with the prevailing economic disruptions caused by German communal cotton growing schemes, fostered a climate of discontent. The Africans were coerced into working on these schemes, neglecting their own farms and leading to a decline in food security. The imposed economic hardships were further exacerbated by the fact that the earnings were redirected to the Germans as taxes, exacerbating the grievances of the local population.

Heavy Taxes and Land Use Disputes

One of the major grievances that led to the war was the heavy taxes imposed by the German East Africa Company. The imposition of these taxes was aimed at raising revenue for the administration of the German protectorate. However, the Matumbi people of Northwest Kilwa felt that the Germans should have compensated them for using their land. They viewed the taxes as unjust and a form of exploitation, as their land was being utilized without adequate compensation.

Brutality of Arab Swahili Enforcers

The Arab Swahilis employed by the German East Africa Company to collect Hut taxes and recruit laborers were notorious for their brutality. This mistreatment, including violence and humiliation, was inflicted on the local population during tax collection and forced labor recruitment. The use of such harsh methods created a sense of fear, anger, and resentment among the African communities, contributing to their desire for resistance.

Forced Labor and Mistreatment

The Africans were subjected to forced labor on various projects, such as cotton fields, roads, and settlers’ farms. During their labor, they were subjected to whippings and humiliations. This mistreatment extended to their relatives who witnessed the atrocities. Even lenient local leaders (Akidas or Jumbes) were punished if they did not comply with German demands. This widespread mistreatment further fueled anger and a sense of injustice.

Cotton Growing and Crop Failure

Germans forced locals, especially those in dry southern areas unsuitable for agriculture, to engage in cotton growing. However, this practice led to heavy losses due to crop failure, as cotton was not well-suited to these areas. The failure of crops caused economic hardship and deep disappointment among the affected communities, as their livelihoods were negatively impacted.

Desire for Independence

The locals’ desire to safeguard their independence and autonomy was a significant factor. German colonization threatened their traditional ways of life and systems of governance. The imposition of taxes, labor requirements, and land use disputes eroded their self-determination. This desire for independence became a driving force behind their resistance efforts.

Communal Cotton Growing and Food Security

The Germans introduced communal cotton growing schemes that required Africans to work on these projects, diverting their labor away from their own farms. This adversely affected African food security and self-sufficiency. Additionally, the money earned by Africans from their labor often had to be used to pay taxes to the Germans, further exacerbating their economic struggles.



The Partition of Africa was the division of the African continent into 50 colonies by European powers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The process began in the late 1870s and was largely completed by 1914.

The main European powers involved in the partition were Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, and Spain. These powers were motivated by a number of factors, including the desire for economic resources, such as rubber and diamonds, the need for new markets for manufactured goods, and the desire to spread European culture and values.

The partition of Africa was a complex and often brutal process. Many African people were displaced from their homes and forced to work in the service of European colonists. The partition also led to the suppression of African cultures and languages.

The following are effects of the partition of Africa

  • The Europeans gained fame, prestige and recognition by having colonial possessions. For example, by acquiring colonies, France regained the self-esteem she had lost when she was defeated in the Franco-Prussian war. By being a colonial power, she acquired a new position in the political map of Europe.

  • European powers economic growth speeded up. European industries grew as Africa provided raw materials, labour and market, which promoted trade with huge profits. E.G. King Leopold ii monopolized the Congo trade, favouring the Belgian economy. However, Africans suffered as their economies were disrupted by the Europeans.
  • Drawing of present-day boundaries in Africa as Europeans set up their spheres of influence.
  • Border conflicts in Africa since present-day boundaries were drawn without considering the existing boundaries and ethnic groups.
  • Introduction of European administrative systems throughout the African continent. E.g. the French applied Assimilation as the British used both Direct and Indirect rule.

  • Introduction of European languages in Africa such as English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German, Etc.
  • Some African communities were split as present-day boundaries were drawn. E.G. the Somalis are found in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. The Maasai are found in Kenya and Tanzania and the Ewe are found in Ghana and Togo.
  • The collapse of African kingdoms and other systems such as Asante and Dahomey as Africa fell under European occupation.
  • Introduction of the monitory economy in Africa.
  • Economic disruption and exploitation of Africans by the Europeans through land alienation forced labour and taxation. Agriculture, trade, industry as well as transport and communication were developed for the benefit of the colonial masters.

  • Introduction of Western education, medicine and culture, thus undermining the indigenous African set-up.
  • Formation of postcolonial African states, based on the territories set up after the partition.
  • Continued diplomatic and other ties between Africa and the European countries.
  • Neo-colonialism due to the unchecked overdependence of African countries on Europe for financial and technical support.

Therefore, without the high level of technology in Europe, the Scramble for and Partition of Africa would not have been possible.

With military advancement as well as the discovery, invention and development of steamships, railway transport, sophisticated weapons and Quinine to cure malaria, the Europeans were an upper hand over the Africans.

What caused the partition of Africa?

There are many factors that led to the partition of Africa, but some of the most important ones include:

  • The Industrial Revolution: The Industrial Revolution led to a demand for new resources, such as rubber and diamonds, which were found in abundance in Africa.
  • The rise of nationalism: The rise of nationalism in Europe led to a desire for new colonies, which could be used to showcase the power and prestige of the European nation.
  • The weakness of African states: Many African states were weak and divided, making them easy prey for European powers.
  • The lack of international law: There was no international law to prevent European powers from colonizing Africa.
  • The Berlin Conference: The Berlin Conference of 1884-85 was a meeting of European powers that formalized the partition of Africa.

The partition of Africa was a complex and often brutal process. Many African people were displaced from their homes and forced to work in the service of European colonists. The partition also led to the suppression of African cultures and languages.

The legacy of the partition of Africa is still felt today. Many African countries are still struggling to overcome the economic and political problems that were created by the partition.

Who was involved in the partition of Africa?

Britain: Britain was the most active participant in the partition of Africa, and it came to control the largest share of the continent. Britain’s colonies included Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, and South Africa.

France: France was the second most active participant in the partition of Africa, and it came to control a large swath of territory in West and Central Africa. France’s colonies included Senegal, Mali, Congo, and Chad.

Germany: Germany was a latecomer to the partition of Africa, but it was able to acquire a significant amount of territory in East and Central Africa. Germany’s colonies included Togo, Cameroon, and Tanganyika.

Belgium: Belgium acquired the Congo Free State in 1885, which was one of the largest colonies in Africa. The Congo Free State was ruled by King Leopold II of Belgium, and it was notorious for its brutality and exploitation

Portugal: Portugal had been active in Africa for centuries, and it retained control of its colonies in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau.

Italy: Italy was a latecomer to the partition of Africa, and it only acquired a few colonies in the Horn of Africa. Italy’s colonies included Eritrea and Somaliland.

Spain: Spain had been active in Africa for centuries, and it retained control of its colonies in Morocco and Spanish Guinea.