Sisal

Name ID 570

See also

editors East Africa
Extract Date: 1892

The entire [Tanzanian] national stock [of sisal plants] was propagated

The entire [Tanzanian] national stock [of Sisal plants] was propagated from only 62 plants imported illegally from Latin America in 1892

Extract ID: 1361

See also

Moffett, J.P. (Editor) Tanganyika: A Review of its Resources and their Development
Page Number: 420
Extract Date: 1892-6

Introduction of Sisal

The history of the Sisal industry in Tanganyika has an air of romance. In 1892 the attention of Dr. Hindorf, then working on an estate near Amani, was attracted by a Kew bulletin to the Sisal plant (Agave sisalana, Perrine), as he thought this plant might thrive in the plains stretching from the foot of the Usambaras to Tanga. After an unsuccessful attempt to obtain planting material from Yucatan he was able to arrange for the import of 1,000 bulbils from Florida. This was shipped to Hamburg, repacked, and forwarded to Tanga in 1892, and upon arrival the sixty-two surviving plants were put in a nursery at Kikogwe, near Pangani. Thus were the foundations of the present industry laid, and its development from such a small nucleus is little short of remarkable.

Later in 1906, 1,000 bulbils were imported from Mexico by Messrs. Amboni Estates Ltd. (through Kew), and in 1907 plants were introduced into Kenya from Tanganyika by the late E.D.Rutherford.

Extract ID: 2922

See also

Gordon-Brown, A (Editor) The Year Book and Guide to East Africa (1953)
Page Number: 100
Extract Date: 1893

Sisal was introduced into Tanganyika from Mexico in 1893

Sisal was introduced into Tanganyika from Mexico in 1893, ten years before it was planted in Kenya

Extract ID: 1362

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: By a correspondent
Page Number: 313
Extract Date: 25 March 2004

How Tanga survived the ‘Ice Cream War"

Two prominent families of Asian origin have their roots in Tanga. The Karimjee Jivanjee family settled in Tanga in 1830 while that of Khanbhai has a history in that coastal town that dates back to 1836. After many years of neglect, what makes Tanga tick today is only its history.

Tanga is the most important Tanzania port after Dar, and lies just south of the Kenyan border. Like Bagamoyo, it has an air of fading decadence about it and would not feature in any travel guide were it not for the superb beaches which sprawl to the south of the town, and the vibrant night life that transforms the town after dark. It was here that a German expeditionary force led by Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck defeated a joint British and Indian landing force in 1914, aided and abetted by millions of angry bees whose hives had been destroyed by gunfire.

The tragic though comical consequences of that battle shaped the opening chapter of William Boyd’s contemporary novel, ‘An Ice Cream War’. About a thousand years ago persons migrated to Tanga and gave it its name, which in Persian has four meanings: straight, green valley, road beside mountain, farm on mountain or rolling hill.

In 1857 Richard Burton, the explorer, visited Tanga and described it as a patch of thatched pent roofed huts, built upon a bank overlooking the sea".

He estimated the population to be 4,000 to 5,000, which included fifteen Baluchis and twenty Indian merchants. The town was under the rule of The Sultan of Zanzibar. At that time Tanga was trading post dealing mainly in ivory. The annual trade in ivory was about 70,000 lbs. Tanga was a small outlying settlement compared to its more prosperous neighbour, Pangani.

With the coming of the Germans to East Africa in the last quarter of 19th century, the port of Tanga probably offered less resistance to The Germans compared to, for example, Pangani, which was more heavily fortified. The Germans took control of the coastal area from the Sultan of Zanzibar in April 1891 calling their colony Tanganyika. In the same year, Tanga was designated a township.

From then on, large scale developments, pushed by private German commercial interests took place. A wharf with a railway line to the interior was developed, construction of the Railway line started in 1896. The line reached Korogwe in 1902; Mombo in 1904 magnificent Cliff block hospital was built in 1902.

The Usambara Mountains were opened up as reliable roads and bridges were built which are still in use today. Rail line was also planned to go to Lushoto and beyond. A short line was built at Shume; parts of it still exist today. The Tanga town centre was also properly planned and developed. Most of the commercial cum residential buildings in use today are from that German period of 1891 to 1914.

Sisal, a plant that looks like yucca, was introduced into Tanganyika by the Germans in 1893. Sisal produces the longest and strongest natural plant fibres, hence the longest and strongest ropes, everything from the largest ropes to tie battle ships to docks to twine for boxes. Sisal was so lucrative with no competitors that it was then called the ‘white gold of Tanganyika’.

Tanga became the largest producer and exporter of Sisal in the world. In 1913, Tanga exported 20,800 tons of Sisal fibre from its port. In 1914, during World War One, an historic battle between the German and the invading British forces was fought in Tanga. The battle is vividly described in the book "Ice Cream War" by William Boyd. The British forces suffered a serious defeat. However, two years later, the British finally pushed the Germans out. There are three graveyards in town exclusively dedicated to the fallen soldiers from those battles.

The British ruled Tanga (and Tanganyika) till independence in 1961.

The Sisal industry reached its peak during this period exporting 200,000 tons in 1958; thereafter nationalization, mismanagement and the rise of synthetics to replace natural fibres destroyed the Sisal, which today is about 8 per cent of 1958. The rise of the Sisal industry in Tanga brought in migrant labourers from throughout the country and the neighbouring countries. Many of these labourers have stayed on. This has given Tanga a truly African cosmopolitan population, with almost all tribes of Tanzania having a considerable presence in Tanga. The indigenous tribe living around the town is the Digo.

They are mainly Moslems, who live on or near the coast. Fishing and subsistence agriculture is the main socio-economic activity. Tanga is renowned for its powerful presence in the Kiswahili literature scene. It has produced some literacy giants and is in the forefront of pushing the language to new heights. For instance, the legendary Shaaban Robert, an author and poet of many authoritative works, was a Tanga resident and is buried a short distance from the town.

Tanga is today the fourth largest town in Tanzania and the second largest port.

Extract ID: 4706

See also

Samler Brown , A and Gordon Brown, G (Editors) South and East African Year Book and Guide for 1920, 26th issue
Page Number: 563, 564A, 567, 570A

Sisal

Sisal hemp (Agave Rigida var. Sisalana) was introduced into E. Africa from Mexico by German enterprise in 1893, ten years before it was planted in British East Africa.

In 1912, 61,877 acres were said to be planted in G.E.A., and in the following year the exports exceeded half a million in value and were used exclusively by the German Navy

Extract ID: 3511

See also

Tanganyika Notes and Records No. 18
Extract Author: L.R.Doughty
Page Number: 98

page 25 of TNR No. 17

Letter from L.R.Doughty, Geneticist, East African Agricultural Research Institute. 26 August 1944

On page 25 of TNR No. 17, the following statement is made: in 1905 the first Sisal ever introduced into East Africa was planted at Kikowe, just south of the Pangani River, by a German who smuggled the seed from South America'

It seems desirable to try to slay this legend before it gains any general acceptance. The truth is as stated by Hindorf in his book 'Der Sisalbau in Deutsch-Ostafrika' Berlin 1925.

Sisal was introduced from Florida in 1893. From the first importation [of bulbils; Sisal rarely produces seed] sixty two plants were obtained. In 1898 six hundred kilograms of fibre were exported; by 1905 the export had already grown to 1140 tons in the year.

Extract ID: 1233

See also

Ofcansky, Thomas P and Yeager, Rodger Historical Dictionary of Tanzania
Page Number: xxi
Extract Date: 1897-1903

plantation initiated.

... plantation of Sisal, Coffee and rubber is initiated.

Extract ID: 1234

See also

Moffett, J.P. (Editor) Tanganyika: A Review of its Resources and their Development
Page Number: 420
Extract Date: 1892-6

Introduction of Sisal

The history of the Sisal industry in Tanganyika has an air of romance. In 1892 the attention of Dr. Hindorf, then working on an estate near Amani, was attracted by a Kew bulletin to the Sisal plant (Agave sisalana, Perrine), as he thought this plant might thrive in the plains stretching from the foot of the Usambaras to Tanga. After an unsuccessful attempt to obtain planting material from Yucatan he was able to arrange for the import of 1,000 bulbils from Florida. This was shipped to Hamburg, repacked, and forwarded to Tanga in 1892, and upon arrival the sixty-two surviving plants were put in a nursery at Kikogwe, near Pangani. Thus were the foundations of the present industry laid, and its development from such a small nucleus is little short of remarkable.

Later in 1906, 1,000 bulbils were imported from Mexico by Messrs. Amboni Estates Ltd. (through Kew), and in 1907 plants were introduced into Kenya from Tanganyika by the late E.D.Rutherford.

Extract ID: 2922

See also

Samler Brown , A and Gordon Brown, G (Editors) South and East African Year Book and Guide for 1920, 26th issue
Page Number: 563, 564A, 567, 570A

Sisal

Sisal hemp (Agave Rigida var. Sisalana) was introduced into E. Africa from Mexico by German enterprise in 1893, ten years before it was planted in British East Africa.

In 1912, 61,877 acres were said to be planted in G.E.A., and in the following year the exports exceeded half a million in value and were used exclusively by the German Navy

Extract ID: 3511

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1917

The British expelled the German settlers and confiscated their farms

The British expelled the German settlers and confiscated their farms, but then reallocated them to Greek and British settlers, rather than providing relief to Arusha and Meru. ...

In the end they went much further than the Germans, however, opening up new lands south of the Arusha-Moshi road for Sisal production that increased the amount of alienated land around Meru by 81 per cent.

Extract ID: 1176

See also

Arusha: A Brochure of the Northern Province and its Capital Town
Page Number: 11
Extract Date: 1929

Sisal and Maize find favour on Arusha Plains

Sisal-growing is a coming industry in Arusha and the vast plain lying ' directly south of Mount Meru and bounded in the north by the railway, is imminently suited for Sisal culture. Here there are vast level stretches of land which requires very little clearing and thus saves much capital expenditure. There is ample water, especially in the Kikuletwa River below the confluences of the Maji ya Chai, Usa, Magadorisho, Tengeru and Malala rivers, and there are similar facilities on the Loldiloi below the confluence of the Themi and Kidjenji rivers. Big Sisal interests are already planting up their holdings in this area.

Maize is also a prolific bearer in the district and 15 bags to the-acre may be said to be a good average crop. During 1929 an unprecedented drought was experienced in the low-lying parts of the district and the crop generally was a failure, but in the higher regions around Meru and Kilimanjaro the crop was an excellent one.

Arusha holds the Cup for the best District Coffee Exhibit at the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of Kenya Show at Nairobi in 1928.

Extract ID: 20

See also

World History at KMLA
Page Number: 08a

Tanganyika a British Mandate 1939-1961

World War II changed the economic situation, production of tobacco, cattle and rubber saw a remarkable increase. When Japanese troops occupied Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies, the British administration took Tanganyika's ill-kept and unprofitable rubber plantations under their own management. The rubber boom ended immediately after the war.

Tanganyikans served in the war, in the KING'S AFRICAN RIFLE BATTALION and the TANGANYIKAN NAVAL VOLUNTEER FORCE. The territory received c.12,000 refugees, mostly Poles and Italians. In 1940, Canadian John Thorburn [sic] Williamson discovered DIAMONDS near Tabora in Tanganyika.

In 1946 Tanganyika was approved as a TRUST TERRITORY by the United Nations, in succession of the League of Nations, entrusted to Great Britain. In 1948, a constitutional reform resulted in African and Asian representation in the Legislative Council (established in 1926).

In 1949, Tanganyika's main export products were Sisal (over 40 % of total export value), followed by coffee. Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika had a shared currency, the EAST AFRICAN SHILLING. In 1947 an estimated 324,500 natives were under employment (out of a native population of 5,581,277 (1946)). Wages for agricultural labour began at 12s. per month, for semi-skilled to skilled labour at 20s. to 200s. per month. Asian artisans were paid 8 to 10s. per day.

In 1954, JULIUS NYERERE established the TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) which emerged as the dominant political party in the elections of 1958 and 1960. In 1961, independence was proclaimed.

In 1953 the Catholic church reorganized the administration of Tanganyika's community by elevating Daressalaam into the see of an archdiocesis, with suffragan dioceses at Bukoba, Dodoma, Iringa, Karema, Kigoma, Maswa (Shinyanga), Mbarara (Ruwenzori), Mbeya, Mbulu, Morogoro, Moshi, Mwanza, Rutabo and Tabora.

Extract ID: 3486

See also

Marsh, R.J. & E.P. Photos of Arusha Environs
Page Number: 005


Extract ID: 3871

See also

Marsh, R.J. & E.P. Photos of Arusha Environs
Page Number: 006


Extract ID: 3872

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Deborah Rubin
Page Number: 2008 02 11
Extract Date: 1986

my doctoral dissertation

You might be interested in my doctoral dissertation (anthropology) entitled 'People of Good Heart: Rural Response to Economic Crisis in Northeast Tanzania' Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University (1986). Although it is mostly about the 1980s, I have a chapter tracing some of the history of the Sisal industry in Tanga Region.

Extract ID: 5548

See also

CD Groliers Encyclopedia
Extract Author: Brian M. Fagan

Fibres obtained from a plant or an animal are classed

Fibres obtained from a plant or an animal are classed as natural fibres. The majority of these fibres are used in weaving textiles, although the coarser plant fibres are also used for rope and twine. Plant fibres come either from the seed hairs, leaves, stems (bast fibres), or husks of the plant. Animal fibres are provided, generally, by animal hair and, in the case of silk, by the secretion of the silkworm.

... Fibres taken from the plant leaf are called 'hard', or cordage, fibres because they are used principally to make rope. The most important leaf fibres are those from the Sisal, or agave, plant grown in Brazil and Africa, and a Mexican agave that produces a fibre called henequen. Both Sisal and henequen fibres are stiff, strong, and rough textured.

Extract ID: 1360

See also

nTZ Feedback
Page Number: 2007 05 17

Sisal Fiber

We are pleased to introduce ourselves as a leading Est. in trading Sisal fiber products all over Syria since 15 years ago. We have continues orders from Kenya and looking for new source matching our desire in having good prices and high quality.

We are interested in Sisal fiber and we have big quantity ready for confirmation ,So we hope you arrange to send us your best and last possible prices CIF Lattakia port,Syria as following :

UG Grade 100 KG Per Bale & 3L Grade 100 KG Per Bale. Please send us samples urgently to our below mentioned address.

Hoping you could send us your best prices to enable us start Business with your esteem company.

Please send us your address in details.

Waiting your reply urgently.

Best Regards

Thank and regards

Adnan Makansi Est

Aleppo, Syria

Souk AlKhaish

Maybe sisal is making a comeback

Extract ID: 5376

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 13c

Trade

For many years Tanzania was the world's leading producer of Sisal but the introduction of synthetic fibres depleted the market. Cashew nut and cotton, Pyrethrum and tobacco are grown as well as Arabica coffee in Arusha district and Robusta coffee in the Bukoba area. Tea is grown in the Usambara and Tukuyu regions. Main timber products are camphorwood, mahogany (mkangazi), mangrove, mninga, ebony (mpingo) and teak (mvule).

Diamonds, alluvial and ore gold are found near Shinyanga and the German 'Tabora Sovereign' was minted from Sekenke gold. The famous Tanzanite gemstone is known all over the world.

In British East Africa, the Indian Rupee replaced the Cowrie Shell in 1896 (I Rupee = 200 cowries). The Rupee was replaced by the Florin which was itself replaced in 1922 by the current official tender, the Shilling with 100 cents per unit.

Population by 1990 was approximately 26 million with an average density of 25 inhabitants per sq. km.

Extract ID: 4049
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