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TANZANIA

Tanzania is in central east Africa and is bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. There is a coastline on the Indian Ocean.

A unitary republic, there are 26 mikoa (regions) in the United Republic of Tanzania. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete is the head of state and was elected in 2005. Dodoma has been the capital since 1996. From the country’s independence to 1996, Dar es Salaam was the capital. Dar es Salaam is still the country’s commercial center and the seat of many government agencies. Tanzania acts as the seaport for many of the country’s landlocked neighbors.

History
Tanzania is one of the earth’s oldest known continuously inhabited areas. There are fossil remains of humans and hominids that date back more than 2 million years. Tanzania is believed to have been populated by Cushitic and Khoisan speaking people. Bantu speakers arrived approximately 2,000 years ago. Niloltic pastoralists arrived later and continued to do so up to the 18th century.

Since the early first millennium AD, merchants from Western India and the Persian Gulf visited the East African coast. Islam began to be practiced in the area around the 8th or 9th century AD.

Omani Sultan Seyyid Said claimed the coastal strip and moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. The city became the Arab slave trade’s center around this time. Of the Arab-Swahili population in Zanzibar, 65 percent to 90 percent were enslaved. Tippu Tip was one of the most famous slave traders in the region. Msiri and Mirambo led the Nyamwezi slave traders.

Germany conquered what became modern day Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi in the late 1800s. This area was incorporated into German East Africa. The British attempted a failed invasion during World War I. After repulsing the British, German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck began a guerilla campaign. After the war, the League of Nations made the area a British Mandate with the exception of a small area given to Belgium that became Burundi and Rwanda.

In 1961, British rule ended when the country transitioned to independence relatively peacefully. The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) was the leading political organization in Tanzania.

Julius Nyerere, who formed the TANU, became the Prime Minister at independence. Soon after taking power, he committed to Pan-African socialism. Large industries and banks were nationalized.

When the Arab dynasty in Zanzibar was ousted in the Zanzibar Revolution, it merged with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964.

The economy faltered in the late 1970s. Tanzania aligned with China in exchange for aid.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, the government borrowed from the IMF and instituted some reforms. The GDP and per capita income grew.

Geography
Tanzania has a total area of 847,300 sq. km. The northeast is mountainous and is the location of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. The Great Lakes of Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika are in the north and west. A large plateau is situated in central Tanzania. The eastern shore’s weather is hot and humid.

Climate
There is a tropical climate in Tanzania. Temperature varies in the highlands. The hottest time periods are from November to February. There are two major rainfall seasons. The first is from December to April and the other is from October to December and has a second phase from March to May.

Environment
There is considerable wildlife habitat in the country. On the Serengeti, the white-bearded wildebeest and other similar animals migrate annually. The journey to forage during the dry seasons causes 250,000 to perish yearly. Several other endemic species also are present in Tanzania.

A Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed to address conservation.

Demographics
Tanzania’s population stands at 49,639,138 in 2014, with a 2.8 percent growth rate. Distribution is uneven. Over 80 percent of the people are live in rural areas. The largest city and commercial capital is Dar es Salaam. Dodoma is the new capital and houses the parliament.

There are over 120 ethnic groups. Those with more than 1 million members are the Sukuma and Nyamwezi, the Gogo, the Haya, the Hehe and Bena, the Makonde, the Chagga, and the Nyakyusa. The Shambaa, Ngoni, and the Pare are other groups. Most Tanzanians are part of the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, which are of Bantu origins. The Maasai and Luo are from Nilotic origins. Khoisan languages are spoken by the Sandawe and Hadza people.

Indians, Arabs, and Pakistani people are also in Tanzania along with small Chinese and European communities.

Culture
Tanzanian music varies from traditional African styles to hip hop to taarab. There are several internationally known artists from Tanzania. A distinct type of rumba music called muziki wa dansi is present in Tanzania. There are many famous writers from Tanzania.

Tanzania’s position in art is unique with two styles, Tingatinga and Makonde, becoming well known. Tingatinga involves enamel paints on canvas of animals and flowers. Makonde is a sculpture style known for Trees of Life make from ebony tree materials. George Lilanga, one of Africa’s most famous artists, is from Tanzania.

Culture
Tanzanian music varies from traditional African styles to hip hop to taarab. There are several internationally known artists from Tanzania. A distinct type of rumba music called muziki wa dansi is present in Tanzania. There are many famous writers from Tanzania.

Tanzania’s position in art is unique with two styles, Tingatinga and Makonde, becoming well known. Tingatinga involves enamel paints on canvas of animals and flowers. Makonde is a sculpture style known for Trees of Life make from ebony tree materials. George Lilanga, one of Africa’s most famous artists, is from Tanzania.

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