Although Dodoma was located along the old caravan route connecting Lake Tanganyika and Central Africa with the sea, it was of little consequence until 1973 when it was named Tanzania’s official capital.

According to the original plan, the entire government was to move to Dodoma by the mid-1980s and its population was to live in smaller independent communities set up along the lines of Nyerere’s ujamaa (familyhood) program. The plans proved unrealistic for a variety of reasons, and although the legislature meets here, Dar es Salaam remains the unrivalled economic and political centre.

As of September 2016, though, President Magufuli has been implementing measures to enhance Dodoma's role and shift government ministries from Dar to the capital. Whether this puts more of a spring in Dodoma's step remains to be seen.