Surface area: 947.300 km²
Number of inhabitants: 51 million
Language: English, Swahili
Religion: Christianity, Islam
Currency: Tanzanian shilling
Goverment form: Constitutional republic
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa. It is famous for having the highest point of Africa, mountain Kilimanjaro. Tanzania has a score of 0.531 on the Human Development Index (HDI). The score is compiled of numbers related to life expectancy, education and income per capita. Once classified in numbers, this number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. Tanzania ranks number 151 out of 186 countries worldwide. (source: UNDP)
History and Politics
The original population of Tanzania consisted of two kinds of peoples, farmers and nomads (including the Masai). In the 9th century Arabs arrived on the coast of Tanzania. The Arab language merged with the Bantu languages and created the Kiswahili. The settler times were dominated by slavery. Thousands of slaves were shipped to sugar plantations on the nearby islands. Between 1498 and 1828 the Portuguese were in power, followed by the Arabs, the Germans and from 1918 the British. The country was named Tanganyika. In 1922, the first political parties were established and in 1929 the Tanganyika Africa Association (TAA) was set up which encouraged a desire for independence within the country. In 1953, the president of the TAA, Julius Nyerere, became the first President of Tanganyika. In 1960, the first government was formed under Tanganyian rule. In May 1961 the country gained full self-governing independence and Tanganyika became part of the British Commonwealth. The islands Zanzibar and Pemba gained independence 2 years later. The name Tanzania was created when Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged in 1964. A year later, Nyerere declared Tanzania to be a one-party state and it took until 1995 that multiple party elections were held once again. Over the years, Tanzania struggled with unrest from neighboring countries. In 1979, a year-long war broke out with neighboring Uganda, which led to the deposition of its president at the time, Idi Amin. In 1994 Tanzania faced with a gigantic influx of refugees. Half a million people from Rwanda and Burundi crossed the border with Tanzania. In 1996, the Rwandese refugees were forced to return to their country. John Magafuli has been president of Tanzania since 2015 (source: landenweb). According to political experts, the country is once again starting to show characteristics of a suppressed democracy under his rule.
The Tanzania economy is largely dependent on export products such as gold, cane sugar, cigarettes, cashew nuts, tea, cotton and coffee. Mining is an important sector, especially that of gold and diamonds. In addition, tourism is very important for the emerging economy.
There are more than 120 different ethnic groups in Tanzania. The official languages are Swahili English and Arabic. Arabic is mainly spoken in Zanzibar where 90% of the population is Muslim.