Little Bits of History

Tanzania

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 26, 2011

Map of Tanzania

April 26, 1964: Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge. They became the United Republic of Tanzania. The country is located in East Africa and bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique as well as the Indian Ocean. The unitary republic is composed of 26 regions and covers 364,898 square miles. There are about 43 million people living there. The capital is located at Dodoma today however prior to 1996 it was at Dar es Salaam. Even now, many of the official offices are still at Salaam and it remains the major seaport of the nation.

The area is one of the oldest inhabited by humans. Fossil remains show pre-human hominids dating back more than two million years. Hunter-gatherers lived there until about 2,000 years ago when Bantu-speaking people migrated to the region. Other groups migrated in and continued to do so until the 18th century. Travelers as well as merchants arrived on the shores both from Persian Gulf and from India. Since the 9th century, Islam  has been practiced there. The region of Zanzibar became the center for the Arab slave trade with 65-90% of the Arab-Swahili Zanzibar population enslaved.

Imperial Germany conquered Tanganyika in the late 19th century as well as parts of Rwanda and Burundi. The area became a battleground in World War I and after the war, the region was designated a British Mandate with a small portion of land ceded to Belgium. British rule of the area came to a relatively peaceful end in 1961. A revolution in Zanzibar took place in 1963 ridding the country of its Arab control. The two small nations then combined on this date.

Tanzania’s economy is based mostly on agriculture. About half of the Gross Domestic Product comes from this source as do about 85% of exports. Agriculture provides employment for about 80% of the workforce. Amazingly, all this done on only about 4% of the land area because of topography and climate. Tanzania also has gold and natural gas resources. Industry is limited and consists mostly of processing the agricultural products. The world-famous Serengeti Park is located here. The major language of Tanzania is Swahili, however English is used in higher courts and higher education. The President of the country is Jakaya Kikwete and the Prime Minister is Mizengo Pinda.

“I pointed out to you the stars (the moon) and all you saw was the tip of my finger.” – Tanzania Proverb

“One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn’t feel the cold.” – Tanzania Proverb

“Leonard Totten is trekking to Tanzania in aid of Action Cancer and has raised over £18,000 over the last few years . He and some other people are going to do the trek.” – Belfast Telegraph

“The Europeans and Americans residing in the town of Zanzibar are either Government officials, independent merchants, or agents for a few great mercantile houses in Europe and America.” – Henry Morton Stanley

Also on this day:
Chernobyl – In 1986 there is a nuclear disaster in the Chernobyl power plant.
John Wilkes Booth – In 1865, the actor was found and killed.

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