Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations


9 January 1951
Derailed train in Tanganyika at the time of the Groundnut Scheme, 1950

In 1947 the British Labour government started an ambitious development project, the Groundnut Scheme. The idea was to grow groundnuts on a large scale in the mandated territory Tanganyika (nowadays called Tanzania), in order to increase the production of edible oil for the British market significantly. Building a solid infrastructure to make the peanut cultivation possible would also provide work for thousands of Africans. However, the planners totally disregarded the climatic conditions and the peculiarities of the region. Peanuts need rain regularly to grow. It turned out there were lions, rhino’s, crocodiles and scorpions in the work area and when cutting down the baobab trees, the labourers encountered bees nests with aggressive inhabitants. The African labourers went on strike. The specially imported agricultural machines and means of transport broke down en masse. On 9 January 1951, the Groundnut Scheme was cancelled. The area was left in total ruin.