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AND CULTURE OF TANZANIA
Tanzania is a large country in eastern Africa that
borders the Indian Ocean. Most of Tanzania lies on the mainland
of Africa. Several nearby islands make up the rest of the country.
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's capital and largest city. A new capital,
Dodoma in central Tanzania was scheduled for completion in the 1990's.
Tanzania's official name is the United Republic of Tanzania.
A Short Background
Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar
merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came
to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the
country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous
status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections
since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers'
claims of voting irregularities.
Population distribution in
Tanzania is extremely
uneven. Density varies from 1 person per square kilometer (3 per
sq. mi.) in arid regions to 51 per square kilometer (133 per sq.
mi.) in the mainland's well-watered highlands and 134 per square
kilometer (347 per sq. mi.) on Zanzibar.
More than 80% of the population is rural. Dar es
Salaam is the capital and largest city; Dodoma, located in the center
of Tanzania, has been designated the new capital, although action
to move the capital has stalled. The African population consists
of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa,
Nyamwezi, and Chaga have more than 1 million members The majority
of Tanzanians, including such large tribes as the Sukuma and the
Nyamwezi are of Bantu stock.
Groups of Nilotic or related origin include the
nomadic Masai and the Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers
in neighboring Kenya. Two small groups speak languages of the Khoisan
family peculiar to the Bushman and Hottentot peoples. Cushitic-speaking
peoples, originally from the Ethiopian highlands, reside in a few
areas of Tanzania.
Although much of Zanzibar's African population came
from the mainland, one group known as Shirazis traces its origins
to the island's early Persian settlers. Non-Africans residing on
the mainland and Zanzibar account for 1% of the total population.
The Asian community, including Hindus, Sikhs, Shi'a and Sunni Muslims,
and Goans, has declined by 50% in the past decade to 50,000 on the
mainland and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000
Europeans reside in Tanzania. Each ethnic group has its own language,
but the national language is Kiswahili, a Bantu-based tongue with
strong Arabic borrowings.
Northern Tanganyika's famed Olduvai Gorge has provided rich evidence
of the area's prehistory, including fossil remains of some of humanity's
earliest ancestors. Discoveries suggest that East Africa may have
been the site of human origin. Little is known of the history of
Tanganyika's interior during the early centuries of the Christian
era. The area is believed to have been inhabited originally by ethnic
groups using a click-tongue language similar to that of Southern
Africa's Bushmen and Hottentots.
Although remnants of these early tribes still exist,
most were gradually displaced by Bantu farmers migrating from the
west and south and by Nilotes and related northern peoples. Some
of these groups had well-organized societies and controlled extensive
areas by the time the Arab slavers, European explorers, and missionaries
penetrated the interior in the first half of the 19th century. The
coastal area first felt the impact of foreign influence as early
as the 8th century, when Arab traders arrived. By the 12th century,
traders and immigrants came from as far away as Persia (now Iran)
They built a series of highly developed city and
trading states along the coast, the principal one being Kibaha,
a settlement of Persian origin that held ascendancy until the Portuguese
destroyed it in the early 1500s. The Portuguese navigator Vasco
da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to
India. By 1506, the Portuguese claimed control over the entire coast.
This control was nominal, however, because the Portuguese did not
colonize the area or explore the interior.
Assisted by Omani Arabs, the indigenous coastal
dwellers succeeded in driving the Portuguese from the area north
of the Ruvuma River by the early 18th century. Claiming the coastal
strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said (l804-56) moved his capital to Zanzibar
in 1841. European exploration of the interior began in the mid-19th
century. Two German missionaries reached Mt. Kilimanjaro in the
1840s. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the
interior to Lake Tanganyika in 1857.
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary-explorer
who crusaded against the slave trade, established his last mission
at Ujiji, where he was "found" by Henry Morton Stanley,
an American journalist-explorer, who had been commissioned by the
New York Herald to locate him. German colonial interests were first
advanced in 1884. Karl Peters, who formed the Society for German
Colonization, concluded a series of treaties by which tribal chiefs
in the interior accepted German "protection." Prince Otto
is von Bismarck's government backed Peters in the subsequent establishment
of the German East Africa Company.
In 1886 and 1890, Anglo-German agreements were negotiated
that delineated the British and German spheres of influence in the
interior of East Africa and along the coastal strip previously claimed
by the Omani sultan of Zanzibar. In 1891, the German Government
took over direct administration of the territory from the German
East Africa Company and appointed a governor with headquarters at
Dar es Salaam. Although the German colonial administration brought
cash crops, railroads, and roads to Tanganyika, European rule provoked
African's resistance, culminating in the Maji Maji rebellion of
The rebellion, which temporarily united a number
of southern tribes and ended only after an estimated 120,000 Africans
had died from fighting or starvation, is considered by most Tanzanians
to have been one of the first stirrings of nationalism. German colonial
domination of Tanganyika ended after World War I when control of
most of the territory passed to the United Kingdom under a League
of Nations mandate.
After World War II, Tanganyika became a UN trust
territory under British control. Subsequent years witnessed Tanganyika
moving gradually toward self-government and independence. In 1954,
Julius K. Nyerere, a school teacher who was then one of only two
Tanganyikans educated abroad at the university level, organized
a political party--the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU).
TANU-supported candidates were victorious in the Legislative Council
elections of September 1958 and February 1959.
December 1959, the United Kingdom agreed to the establishment of
internal self-government following general elections to be held
in August 1960. Nyerere was named chief minister of the subsequent
government. In May l961, Tanganyika became autonomous, and Nyerere
became Prime Minister under a new constitution.
Full independence was achieved on December 9, 1961. Mr. Nyerere
was elected President when Tanganyika became a republic within the
Commonwealth a year after independence.
United Republic of Tanzania
TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party of Zanzibar were
merged into a single party (Chama cha Mapinduzi-CCM Revolutionary
Party) on February 5, 1977. On April 26, 1977, the union of the
two parties was ratified in a new constitution. The merger was reinforced
by principles enunciated in the 1982 union constitution and reaffirmed
in the constitution of 1984. The elections that followed the granting
of self-government in June 1963 produced similar results. Zanzibar
received its independence from the United Kingdom on December 19,
1963, as a constitutional monarchy under the sultan.
On January 12, 1964, the African majority revolted
against the sultan and a new government was formed with the ASP
leader, Abeid Karume, as President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the
Revolutionary Council. Under the terms of its political union with
Tanganyika in April 1964, the Zanzibar Government retained considerable
In 1977, Nyerere merged TANU with the Zanzibar ruling party, the
ASP, to form the CCM as the sole ruling party in both parts of the
union. The CCM was to be the sole instrument for mobilizing and
controlling the population in all significant political or economic
He envisioned the party as a "two-way street"
for the flow of ideas and policy directives between the village
level and the government. President Nyerere stepped down from office
and was succeeded as President by Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985. Nyerere
retained his position as Chairman of the ruling party for 5 more
years and was influential in Tanzanian politics until his death
in October 1999.
The current President, Benjamin Mkapa, was elected
in 1995 and will stand for re-election in nationwide balloting scheduled
for October 2000. Zanzibar President Salmin Amour was elected in
single-party elections in 1990. In 1995, he was named the winner
of Zanzibar's first multi-party elections, a victory widely deemed
to have been tainted by fraud. He is not eligible to run for a third