When somebody thinks of the Italians abroad the mind immediately goes to the large communities in Northern America, in Argentina, in Brazil, in Australia or in some European countries. As a matter of fact the history of the Italian emigration in the XIX and XX century is mainly constituted by the millions of Italians who left their homeland in search of a better future.

It is very hard to say how many Italians live outside Italy today. Estimates indicate more than 5 million. It is certain, though, that if we consider all the people of Italian origin (taking into account the second or third generation) the number becomes much higher.

The reason for this short essay is to prove that the Italians who have been living in very distant countries, in limited groups, have also achieved great results and deserve all possible respect.

So when the Italians who are today living in Tanzania reminisce about the past, they should know that many others before them paved the way for our country's esteem in Tanzania.

A global picture of the evolution of the Italian community in Tanzania can only be formed from the consideration of many individual experiences and memoirs that are not necessarily known to those who have recently arrived or to those who briefly stop in the country for a few years. It is incorrect to think of the Italians in Tanzania as a series of isolated individuals acting in a manner completely detached from the environment that surrounds them.

In particular we would like to mention the Italian missionaries who have been working in this country continuously for the last 75 years. Who better than they can prove that there is a good understanding between such different peoples?

The general picture of our community which results from the study is certainly positive: even in a country so far from Italy, and so unknown to most Italians, our fellow-countrymen succeeded in shaping an image of a hard-working and peaceful people. The intention was not that of making a "self-celebration" of the past; through the research conducted, we wanted above all to stimulate reflection and criticism on less studied aspects of our emigration to foreign countries, particularly of interest are the characteristics and the problems more specifically linked to small communities.

You will notice that some aspects, even though important, are just touched upon and they would necessitate subsequent studies. All the collected data derive from research carried out by the author; for more recent data, we often had to verify and correct by drawing upon primary sources with their personal knowledge and experience.

Unfortunately this method has its limits but it also has some positive aspects. Therefore, the author would like to apologize for all those omissions or those errors that he has inevitably made. The present research does not claim to be exhaustive but it has been conceived and compiled with the hope of leaving evidence for those to come, of everything that the Italians have achieved in Tanzania.

Back to INDEX Page


For comments or further details write to


Privacy policy