Bagamoyo, Tanzania, is a town founded at the end of the 18th century, though it is an extension of a much older (8th century) settlement, Kaole. It was the capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast. Now, the town has about 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Bagamoyo District, which was recently considered as a World Heritage Site.
The original settlement, Kaole, was founded c. 800 CE, and grew into an important trading town by the 13th century. The Kaole Ruins contain the remnants of two mosques and 30 tombs, dated back to the 13th century. Around the 17th century, the settlement 2-3 miles north of Kaole began growing. This area grew in prosperity, acquiring the name Bagamoyo by the 18th century as an important stop in the caravan trade (the name means “take the load off and rest”).
Until the 18th century, Bagamoyo was a small trading center where most of the populations were fishermen and farmers. The main trading goods were fish, salt, and gum, among other things. Bagamoyo became the most important trading entrepot of the east central coast of Africa in the late 19th century.