Tanzania is a large country in eastern Africa that borders the
Indian Ocean. Most of Tanzania lies on the mainland of Africa. Several nearby
islands make up the rest of the country.
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's
capital and largest city. A new capital, Dodoma in central Tanzania was scheduled
for completion in the 1990's. Tanzania's official name is the United Republic
A Short Background
Shortly after independence,
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party
rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country
since the 1970s.
Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition
have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite
international observers' claims of voting irregularities.
Population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Density varies from
1 person per square kilometer (3 per sq. mi.) in arid regions to 51 per square
kilometer (133 per sq. mi.) in the mainland's well-watered highlands and 134 per
square kilometer (347 per sq. mi.) on Zanzibar.
More than 80% of the
population is rural. Dar es Salaam is the capital and largest city; Dodoma, located
in the center of Tanzania, has been designated the new capital, although action
to move the capital has stalled.
The African population consists of more
than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chaga
have more than 1 million members The majority of Tanzanians, including such large
tribes as the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi are of Bantu stock.
Nilotic or related origin include the nomadic Masai and the Luo, both of which
are found in greater numbers in neighboring Kenya. Two small groups speak languages
of the Khoisan family peculiar to the Bushman and Hottentot peoples. Cushitic-speaking
peoples, originally from the Ethiopian highlands, reside in a few areas of Tanzania.
Although much of Zanzibar's African population came from the mainland, one
group known as Shirazis traces its origins to the island's early Persian settlers.
Non-Africans residing on the mainland and Zanzibar account for 1% of the total
The Asian community, including Hindus, Sikhs, Shi'a and Sunni
Muslims, and Goans, has declined by 50% in the past decade to 50,000 on the mainland
and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000 Europeans reside in
Each ethnic group has its own language, but the national language
is Kiswahili, a Bantu-based tongue with strong Arabic borrowings.
Tanganyika's famed Olduvai Gorge has provided rich evidence of the area's prehistory,
including fossil remains of some of humanity's earliest ancestors. Discoveries
suggest that East Africa may have been the site of human origin.
known of the history of Tanganyika's interior during the early centuries of the
Christian era. The area is believed to have been inhabited originally by ethnic
groups using a click-tongue language similar to that of Southern Africa's Bushmen
Although remnants of these early tribes still exist,
most were gradually displaced by Bantu farmers migrating from the west and south
and by Nilotes and related northern peoples. Some of these groups had well-organized
societies and controlled extensive areas by the time the Arab slavers, European
explorers, and missionaries penetrated the interior in the first half of the 19th
The coastal area first felt the impact of foreign influence as early
as the 8th century, when Arab traders arrived. By the 12th century, traders and
immigrants came from as far away as Persia (now Iran) and India.
built a series of highly developed city and trading states along the coast, the
principal one being Kibaha, a settlement of Persian origin that held ascendancy
until the Portuguese destroyed it in the early 1500s.
The Portuguese navigator
Vasco da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to India.
By 1506, the Portuguese claimed control over the entire coast. This control was
nominal, however, because the Portuguese did not colonize the area or explore
Assisted by Omani Arabs, the indigenous coastal dwellers
succeeded in driving the Portuguese from the area north of the Ruvuma River by
the early 18th century. Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said (l804-56)
moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1841.
European exploration of the interior
began in the mid-19th century. Two German missionaries reached Mt. Kilimanjaro
in the 1840s. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the interior
to Lake Tanganyika in 1857.
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary-explorer
who crusaded against the slave trade, established his last mission at Ujiji, where
he was "found" by Henry Morton Stanley, an American journalist-explorer, who had
been commissioned by the New York Herald to locate him.
interests were first advanced in 1884. Karl Peters, who formed the Society for
German Colonization, concluded a series of treaties by which tribal chiefs in
the interior accepted German "protection." Prince Otto is von Bismarck's government
backed Peters in the subsequent establishment of the German East Africa Company.
In 1886 and 1890, Anglo-German agreements were negotiated that delineated the
British and German spheres of influence in the interior of East Africa and along
the coastal strip previously claimed by the Omani sultan of Zanzibar. In 1891,
the German Government took over direct administration of the territory from the
German East Africa Company and appointed a governor with headquarters at Dar es
Although the German colonial administration brought cash crops, railroads,
and roads to Tanganyika, European rule provoked African's resistance, culminating
in the Maji Maji rebellion of 1905-07.
The rebellion, which temporarily
united a number of southern tribes and ended only after an estimated 120,000 Africans
had died from fighting or starvation, is considered by most Tanzanians to have
been one of the first stirrings of nationalism.
German colonial domination
of Tanganyika ended after World War I when control of most of the territory passed
to the United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate.
War II, Tanganyika became a UN trust territory under British control. Subsequent
years witnessed Tanganyika moving gradually toward self-government and independence.
In 1954, Julius K. Nyerere, a school teacher who was then one of only two Tanganyikans
educated abroad at the university level, organized a political party--the Tanganyika
African National Union (TANU). TANU-supported candidates were victorious in the
Legislative Council elections of September 1958 and February 1959.
December 1959, the United Kingdom agreed to the establishment of internal self-government
following general elections to be held in August 1960. Nyerere was named chief
minister of the subsequent government.
In May l961, Tanganyika became autonomous,
and Nyerere became Prime Minister under a new constitution. Full independence
was achieved on December 9, 1961. Mr. Nyerere was elected President when Tanganyika
became a republic within the Commonwealth a year after independence.
An early Arab/Persian trading center, Zanzibar fell under Portuguese domination
in the 16th and early 17th centuries but was retaken by Omani Arabs in the early
18th century. The height of Arab rule came during the reign of Sultan Seyyid Said,
who encouraged the development of clove plantations, using the island's slave
The Arabs established their own garrisons at Zanzibar, Pemba, and Kilwa
and carried on a lucrative trade in slaves and ivory. By 1840, Said had transferred
his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar and established a ruling Arab elite. The island's
commerce fell increasingly into the hands of traders from the Indian subcontinent,
whom Said encouraged to settle on the island.
Zanzibar's spices attracted ships
from as far away as the United States. A U.S. consulate was established on the
island in 1837. The United Kingdom's early interest in Zanzibar was motivated
by both commerce and the determination to end the slave trade. In 1822, the British
signed the first of a series of treaties with Sultan Said to curb this trade,
but not until 1876 was the sale of slaves finally prohibited.
agreement of 1890 made Zanzibar and Pemba a British protectorate. British rule
through a Sultan remained largely unchanged from the late 19th century until after
World War II.
Zanzibar's political development began in earnest after 1956,
when provision was first made for the election of six nongovernment members to
the Legislative Council. Two parties were formed: the Zanzibar Nationalist Party
(ZNP), representing the dominant Arab and "Arabized" minority and the Afro-Shirazi
Party (ASP), led by Abeid Karume and representing the Shirazis and the African
The first elections were held in July 1957. The ASP won three of
the six elected seats, with the remainder going to independents. Following the
election, the ASP split; some of its Shirazi supporters left to form the Zanzibar
and Pemba People's Party (ZPPP). The January 1961 election resulted in a deadlock
between the ASP and a ZNP-ZPPP coalition.
On April 26,1964, the Tanganyika
union with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, this
was to be renamed the United Republic of Tanzania on October 29.
Republic of Tanzania
TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party of Zanzibar were
merged into a single party (Chama cha Mapinduzi-CCM Revolutionary Party) on February
5, 1977. On April 26, 1977, the union of the two parties was ratified in a new
constitution. The merger was reinforced by principles enunciated in the 1982 union
constitution and reaffirmed in the constitution of 1984.
The elections that
followed the granting of self-government in June 1963 produced similar results.
Zanzibar received its independence from the United Kingdom on December 19, 1963,
as a constitutional monarchy under the sultan.
On January 12, 1964,
the African majority revolted against the sultan and a new government was formed
with the ASP leader, Abeid Karume, as President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the
Revolutionary Council. Under the terms of its political union with Tanganyika
in April 1964, the Zanzibar Government retained considerable local autonomy.
1977, Nyerere merged TANU with the Zanzibar ruling party, the ASP, to form the
CCM as the sole ruling party in both parts of the union. The CCM was to be the
sole instrument for mobilizing and controlling the population in all significant
political or economic activities.
He envisioned the party as a "two-way
street" for the flow of ideas and policy directives between the village level
and the government.
President Nyerere stepped down from office and was succeeded
as President by Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985. Nyerere retained his position as Chairman
of the ruling party for 5 more years and was influential in Tanzanian politics
until his death in October 1999.
The current President, Benjamin Mkapa,
was elected in 1995 and will stand for re-election in nationwide balloting scheduled
for October 2000. Zanzibar President Salmin Amour was elected in single-party
elections in 1990. In 1995, he was named the winner of Zanzibar's first multi-party
elections, a victory widely deemed to have been tainted by fraud. He is not eligible
to run for a third term.
Guide to Tanzania
of Tanzania - Read more about the geography and topography of Tanzania
of Tanzania - Presents a detailed historical background and culture of
Life & People of Tanzania
- Study the characteristics, background, and details on the people of Tanzania
Cuisine of Tanzania - Find out delicious local cuisines of Tanzania
in Tanzania - Check out a list of the local holidays in Tanzania
in Tanzania - Learn about the festivals in Tanzania
of Tanzania - Provides an Embassy database for Tanzania
facts of Tanzania - Learn about the governmental administration facts
Newstands in Tanzania -
Browse through a collection of local online newspapers of Tanzania
in Tanzania - Discover the best places to visit, sight seeing, and tourist
attractions in Tanzania
Maps of Tanzania
- Discover a detailed map of Tanzania
Database of Tanzania - Browse a large collection of city, country, historical,
political, thematic, and shaded relief maps of Tanzania
of Tanzania - Uncover the flag images and description of the flag of Tanzania.
Includes historical flags, symbols, and related information
for cities of Tanzania - Browse weather forecast, hourly conditions, temperature,
sunrise, sunset, and other weather related reports for the cities of Tanzania
in Tanzania - Find out the best places for shopping in Tanzania
in Tanzania - Browse a list of eat-outs in Tanzania
of Tanzania - Highlights the location, map references, area, land boundaries,
climate, natural resources, land use, natural hazards, environment, and geography
People of Tanzania - Learn
about the population, age structure, birth and death rate, sex ratio, nationality,
ethnic groups, religions, languages, and literacy in Tanzania
and Politics in Tanzania - Profiles the country name, government type,
administrative divisions, independence, national holiday, constitution, legal
system, suffrage, executive, legislative, and judicial branches, political parties
and leaders, and a flag description of Tanzania.
of Tanzania - Study the GDP, growth rate, per capita, inflation, labor,
budget, industries, exports, imports, currency, exchange rates, and economy of
Communications in Tanzania
- Browse statistics on telephones, mobile and cellular lines in use, radio broadcast
stations, televisions, internet country code, ISP's, internet users, and facts
on communications in Tanzania
in Tanzania - Offers statistical details on the railways, highways, waterways,
ports & harbors, airports, and other facts on transportation in Tanzania
of Tanzania - Provides statistics on military branches, army, air force,
navy, manpower, military service, expenditure, and facts on military in Tanzania
Issues of Tanzania - Explore international disputes and transnational
issues of Tanzania
Info - Tanzania Political Geography - Encyclopedia resource provides information
on the country along with its cities.