Why was Giesecke killed?

On 26 September 1886, Hermann Giesecke, a German trader, was shot and mortally wounded at Tippu Tip’s tembe on the outskirts of Tabora (central Tanzania). An Arab, Mohammed bin Kassem, was held responsible and eventually hung. At the time, the Germans profited politically from the crime but most other Europeans believed the main, if not the only motive for the murder was the Arabs’ fear that their middle-man monopoly of the ivory trade would be broken. East African historians have also assumed on the whole that why Giesecke was killed is less problematic than who did so, for apart from Mohammed bin Kaasem, the local chief Sike was suspected too. Though a re-examination of the who-dun-it would, no doubt, intrigue the readers of historical glossies, this article purposes to show that the ‘why’ is more worthy of a scholarly audience’s attention. Sections: The Tabora Muslims and the earliest European traders – How Giesecke was killed -Sike and the Wasambo – Mohammed bin Kassem and the fanatical Islamic fringe. Notes.

Title:Why was Giesecke killed?
Author:Singleton, Michael
Year:1976
Periodical:Cultures et dveloppement
Volume:8
Issue:4
Pages:646-665
Language:English
Geographic term:East Africa
Abstract:On 26 September 1886, Hermann Giesecke, a German trader, was shot and mortally wounded at Tippu Tip’s tembe on the outskirts of Tabora (central Tanzania). An Arab, Mohammed bin Kassem, was held responsible and eventually hung. At the time, the Germans profited politically from the crime but most other Europeans believed the main, if not the only motive for the murder was the Arabs’ fear that their middle-man monopoly of the ivory trade would be broken. East African historians have also assumed on the whole that why Giesecke was killed is less problematic than who did so, for apart from Mohammed bin Kaasem, the local chief Sike was suspected too. Though a re-examination of the who-dun-it would, no doubt, intrigue the readers of historical glossies, this article purposes to show that the ‘why’ is more worthy of a scholarly audience’s attention. Sections: The Tabora Muslims and the earliest European traders – How Giesecke was killed -Sike and the Wasambo – Mohammed bin Kassem and the fanatical Islamic fringe. Notes.