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Useful Notes / Tanzania

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Hakuna matata...note 

The United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania) is a country located in East Africa. As the name implies, the country is sort of a federation between the large mainland portion, Tanganyika, and the offshore archipelago of Zanzibar, hence "Tanzania".

Originally inhabited by click language-speaking hunter-gatherers, Tanganyika saw the movement of Bantu and Nilotic peoples from present-day Cameroon and South Sudan, respectively, who mixed in to form a cooperative trading community. At the same time, Arab traders from Yemen went to Zanzibar and coastal Tanganyika to trade with the local peoples, among them the Swahilis (a subgroup of the Bantus), whom they influenced greatly in culture, language, and religion; it's estimated that Islam was already practiced in the so-called Swahili Coast since the 8th century.

Later, the Portuguese conquered the Swahili Coast and Zanzibar, and held sway for 200 years. They benefited immensely from the lucrative spice trade there. Zanzibar became known as "Spice Islands", sharing that title with the Moluccan archipelago in present-day Indonesia. However, they were driven back by an Omani sultan who moved his capital from Oman to Zanzibar City, where he allowed a massive slave trade among the holders, including the infamous Tippu Tip, who was said to own over 10,000 slaves. Meanwhile, the inland Tanganyika was conquered by the German Empire (as were Rwanda and Burundi), who ruled until they lost World War I, at which point the British took over the region as part of the League of Nations mandate, though they administered it separately from Zanzibar, which they already ruled as protectorate above the archipelago's sultanate.

The British kept both as practically colonies well through World War II until 1961 and 1963, respectively, when they took notice of Tanganyika and Zanzibar's nationalistic petitions and granted them independence. Meanwhile, Zanzibar had been undergoing upheavals in an attempt to remove the Arab sultans from exercising an absolute monarchical rule over the archipelago, and the sultanate was toppled in 1964 in a popular revolution. The revolutionary government decided to merge with Tanganyika, though against many Zanzibaris' wish. Thus, the modern state of Tanzania was born.

Since independence and merger, the country has been ruled by a one-party state, which completely banned opposition under socialist and pan-African ideology until 1994. The country is currently struggling from massive poverty, underperforming economy, underdeveloped infrastructure, and inadequate water and sanitation.

Tanzania is famous for having pretty much Africa's stereotypes as shown in the media all in one border, except for the eternal not-so-civil wars/squabbles (for those, look for Democratic Republic of the Congo): there's the tribal clans of the hunter-gatherers, untamed savannahs (the Serengeti Plains, which see the world's largest concentration of large mammals on Earth), the majestic highlands of the northeast (home of Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro), wild rivers and lakes (Tanzania contains all Great Lakes: Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi), medinas (the Swahili Coast and Zanzibar), and so on. If you watch any movies that show savannahs with wildebeests, zebras, lions, and hippos with mountains in the background, chances are it's modeled after somewhere in Tanzania. Indeed, most of the country has been designated as protected areas due to such a rich natural heritage.

Counterbalancing its high biodiversity, the country is also not shy in the demographic department; there are over 125 ethnic groups recorded in the country. Most of them are either of the Bantu or Nilotic ethno-linguistic groups. In the religion side, it's evenly split between all components: Muslims constitute 35%, mostly the Swahilis who are the majority of the country's cultural capital city Dar es Salaam, Christians 30%, and traditional religions the rest. The autonomous Zanzibar, though, is nearly 100% Muslim.

Fun fact: Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar when it was a British colony. He moved to England with his parents when they fled the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964.

Relevant works from Tanzania include:

The Tanzanian flag
The flag is a composite of the flags of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which were previously separate polities before 1964. Green, black, and blue, respectively, represent agriculture, the Swahilis of the Swahili Coast and Zanzibar, and the Indian Ocean and Tanzania's many lakes and rivers. The gold stripes, meanwhile, represent the country's extensive mineral wealth.

The Tanzanian national anthem

Mungu ibariki Afrika
Wabariki Viongozi wake
Hekima Umoja na Amani
Hizi ni ngao zetu
Afrika na watu wake.

Ibariki Afrika, Ibariki Afrika
Tubariki watoto wa Afrika.

Mungu ibariki Tanzania
Dumisha uhuru na Umoja
Wake kwa Waume na Watoto
Mungu Ibariki Tanzania na watu wake.

Ibariki Tanzania, Ibariki Tanzania
Tubariki watoto wa Tanzania.

God bless Africa
Bless its leaders
Wisdom, unity and peace
These are our shields
Africa and its people

Bless Africa, Bless Africa
Bless us, the children of Africa

God bless Tanzania
Grant eternal freedom and unity
To its women, men and children
God bless Tanzania and its people

Bless Tanzania, Bless Tanzania
Bless us, the children of Tanzania

  • Unitary dominant party presidential constitutional republic
    • President: Samia Suluhu
    • Vice-President: Philip Mpango
    • Prime Minister: Kassim Majaliwa
    • Speaker: Job Ndugai
    • Chief Justice: Ibrahim Hamis Juma

  • Capital: Dodoma
  • Largest city: Dar es Salaam
  • Population: 61,193,226
  • Area: 947,303 km² (365,756 sq mi) (31st)
  • Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TSh) (TZS)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: TZ
  • Country calling code: 255
  • Highest point: Kilimanjaro (5892 m/19,331 ft) (16th)
  • Lowest point: Indian Ocean (3,741 m/12,274 ft) (-)