Chagga - Orientation

Identification and Location. In the nineteenth century the Kichagga-speaking people on Mount Kilimanjaro were divided into many small, autonomous chiefdoms. Early accounts frequently identify the inhabitants of each chiefdom as a separate "tribe." Although the Chagga are principally located on Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, numerous families have migrated elsewhere over the course of the twentieth century.

Demography. Around the beginning of the twentieth century, the German colonial government estimated that there were about 28,000 households on Kilimanjaro. The 1988 Tanzanian census counted 744,271 individuals. (With very few exceptions, only Chagga live on Kilimanjaro.) Obviously, the mountain population has increased at a rapid rate during the twentieth century, and the high rate of increase seems to be continuing.

Linguistic Affiliation. Kichagga is a Bantu language. There are significant dialectal differences in the Kichagga spoken in the easterly, central, and westerly divisions of Kilimanjaro. The inhabitants of Ugweno, which was once the northernmost chiefdom of the Pare Mountains, speak a language related to Kichagga.

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