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The National Museum of Dar es Salaam is one of the 5 museums in the country that form the National Museum of Tanzania. It is a great place to start your exploration of both the capital and the country, as the museum focuses on the history of this part of Africa as well as all humankind.
At its inauguration, the museum was dedicated to the memory of the British King George V, who was the official head of state of Tanganyika - the British mandate that precedes today's Tanzania. Little remains of the original exhibition dedicated to the king; the most important exhibits now include a presidential Rolls Royce and a collection of millions of years old fossils. The museum also covers the long period that the Persian city states played a prominent role along the coast East Africa.
When Tanzania gained its independence in December 1961, the British government gave the president of this brand-new country a Rolls Royce as a gift. The model was a Phantom V State Landaulette, of which only 5 were made. It had a retractable roof so President Julius Nyerere Kamba and his guests could wave to the people in the street. The next 2 presidents also made good use of the luxury car which, as a national heritage, was later donated to the museum in 2000.
Olduvai Gorge, a 50-kilometre-long canyon in northern Tanzania, is known as the cradle of humanity and is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites. British archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey and their family uncovered a large quantity of fossils of human origin. The oldest ones are 2 million years old and form the basis of our understanding of the evolution of humankind. The most famous museum artefact is the discovery by Mary Leakey in 1959 of a skull of the Paranthropus boisei, an (extinct) hominid.
The island of Kilwa Kisiwani has played a key role in the history of Tanzania. From the 13th to the 16th century, Persian traders established a city state here. And it was here that the cultures of the traders and the Bantu tribes from the mainland melded together to form the Swahili culture which still characterizes Tanzania. The museum also displays many archaeological finds from this so-called Shirazi era. The guides are pleased to provide more information on the exhibits.