The emergence of nation-based histories is perhaps an inevitable consequence of the foundation of national universities in newly independent African countries. One of the demands made of historians in that environment is to provide a history of the nation concerned, as a means of filling the gap left by the colonial-based historiography which commonly preceded independence. Historians in Tanzania are by no means uniquely circumstanced in this respect. What makes their work particularly interesting is the manner in which they have set about the task. The diligence and determination of past and present members of the History Department at Dar es Salaam has now produced a substantial corpus of Tanzanian and East African history. That work is characterized by a sufficient number of common concerns and approaches to make it perhaps legitimate to refer to a 'Dar es Salaam school' of historiography. The use of the term 'school' clearly runs the risk of attributing one member's opinions to everyone else, and of minimising the changes which take place in individual opinions. Nevertheless there are in fact common concerns and approaches, as will emerge from a detailed study of the literature produced. The literature amounts to a composite picture of Tanzanian history which has a striking internal consistency. That result stems partly from the unusual situation in which members of the department found themselves: namely that of a predominantly expatriate group, founding a new department in a newly independent country for which up to that time very little history had been written at all.