Tanzania Information

General Information for Tanzania

Country: Tanzania
Location: East Africa
Independence: December 9, 1961
Nationality: Tanzanian
Capital City: Dodoma
Population: 30,608,769
Important Cities: Dar es Salam, Zanzibar, Dodoma, Kogoma, Lindi
Head of State: Benjamin Mkapa
Area: 939,652 sq.km.
Type of Government: Republic
Currency: 630 T shillings= 1 USD
Major peoples: native African (99%), Asian, Arab, European (1%)
Religion: African religion 34%, Muslim 33%, Christian 33%
Climate: Tropical to temperate
Literacy: 67%
Official Language: Kiswahili and English
Principal Languages: Kiswahili, Kiunguju, English, and local languages
Major Exports: Cotton, Coffee, Sisal,Tea
Pre-Colonial History The region of Tanganyika is believed to have been inhabited originally by peoples who used a click-tongue language similar to that of southern Africa's Bushmen and Hottentots. Although remnants of these tribes still exist, most of them were gradually displaced by Bantu farmers migrating from the west and south and by Nilotes and related northern people. The coastal area felt the impact of foreign influences as early as the 8th century, when Arab trade arrived. By the 12th century, traders and immigrants came from as far away as Persia and India. The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to India. Assisted by Omani Arabs, the indigenous coastal dwellers succeeded in driving the Portuguese from the area north of the Rovuma River by the early 18th century. Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1841. European exploration began in the mid-19th century. Two German missionaries reached Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1840s. British explorers Richard F. Burton and John H. Speke crossed the interior to Lake Tanganyika in 1857.
Post-Colonial History German colonial domination of Tanganyika ended after World War I. After World War II, Tanganyika became a United Nations trust territory under British control. In May 1961, Tanganyika became autonomous, and Julius Nyerere became prime minister under a new constitution. Full independence was achieved on December 9, 1961. Julius Nyerere was elected president when Tanganyika became a republic within the British Commonwealth. On April 26, 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar, renamed the United Republic of Tanzania on October 29. TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party of Zanzibar were merged into a single party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Revolutionary Party, in 1977. On April 26, 1977, the union of the two parties was ratified in a new constitution. President Nyerere handed over power to this successor, President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, in 1985. The current president is Benjamin Mkapa.

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