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Until the German occupation nothing but an insignificant village existed at Dar-es-Salaam.
In 1876 Mr (afterwards Sir) William McKinnon began the construction of a road from Dar-es-Salaam to Victoria Nyanza, intending to make of Dar-es-Salaam an important seaport.
Dar-es-Salaam was laid out by the Germans on an ambitious scale in the expectation that it would prove an important centre of commerce, but trade developed very slowly.
Considerable energy was shown in railway construction and by the end of 1918 there were combined railway and steamer routes from the mouth of the Congo to Dar es Salaam and Cape Town.
The greater part of the trade with Tanganyika is done by the African Lakes Corporation by the Shire-Nyasa route, but the Germans have opened up overland routes from Dar-es-Salaam.