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The essay describes and analyzes the presence of Italians in Tanzania from the end of the 19th century to date. Although reference is made to a very limited number of individuals, the historical analysis helps us to understand the origin and the reasons which brought a constant flow of Italians to Tanzania.
The first contacts, at the end of the 19th century, were of a rather sporadic nature and linked to explorations and commerce with the sSultanate of Zanzibar. It was only after the World War I, with the arrival of Italian missionaries in Tanganyka, that a significant nucleous of Italian settlers was established. Following the World War II, during which several Italians were interned, settlers started to achieve some status in agricultural activities and other services. More recently, the financing of cooperations projects in Tanzania greatly influenced the characteristics and number of Italians who became part of the resident community.
The study seeks to single out the various components which characterize the resident Italian community:religious institutions, companies and non-governmental organizations so as to emphasize the different roles each component had during their presence in Tanzania. Scholars and historians have rarely dwelt on the subject of small communities overseas, particularly in Africa: her an attempt is being made to outline a methodology af analysis of those small communities.