The town of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, was founded at the end of the 18th century. It was (also spelled Bagamojo) the original capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast. Today the town has about 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the District of Bagamoyo, recently being considered as a world heritage site.
Bagamoyo was the most important trading entrepot of the east central coast of Africa in the late 19th century. Bagamoyo's history has been influenced by Indian and Arab traders, by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries.
About 5 km south of Bagamoyo, the Kaole Ruins with remnants of two mosques and a couple of tombs can be dated back to the 13th century, showing the importance of Islam in those early Bagamoyo times.
Today, Bagamoyo is a centre for dhow sailboat building. The Department of Antiquities in Tanzania is working to maintain the ruins of the colonial era in and around Bagamoyo and to revitalize the town. The Bagamoyo College of Arts (“Chuo cha Sanaa”) is an internationally famous arts college in Tanzania, teaching traditional Tanzanian painting, sculpture, drama, dancing and drumming.
Because of its varied history and proximity to Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo is more diverse than some other areas of the country. Bagamoyo is home to many ethnic groups, including the Wakwere, Wazaramo, Wazigua, Maasai, and Waswahili. Although Swahili culture dominates, many different cultures coexist in Bagamoyo, including people of Arab descent.