75 kilometres to the north of Dar es Salaam,Bagamoyo was named by the slaves, as they left heartbroken and worrying about their families they had left behind – the name means `lay down your heart’ in Kiswahili. Although the slave trade officially ended in 1873, slaves continued to be sold and traded in Bagamoyo through the end of the nineteenth century.
During the slave trade, it was not uncommon to see hundreds of slaves walking through the streets of Bagamoyo chained together by the neck. Slaves were collected from the interior by capture, purchase or trade and then shipped to Zanzibar or Arab countries. The town of Bagamoyo was the centre of the 19th century slave trade.
This coastal area opposite to Zanzibar was first settled in by fishermen and cultivators. Towards the end of the 18th century Muslim Diwans from Oman settled here, built dwellings and established their families and retinues of slaves. Its closeness as a mainland port to Zanzibar led to its development as a center for caravans and an expansion of commerce in slave and Ivory soon followed.
Bagamoyo is one of the most fascinating towns in East Africa many of European explores passed through this town, including Burton, Speke, Grant, Stanley and Livingstone.