Tanzania, the beauty of Africa

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Tanzania, the beauty of Africa

Officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean. The country's name is a portmanteau of Tanganyika, its mainland part, and the Zanzibar Islands off its east coast. Tanganyika united with Zanzibar in 1964, forming the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United

In 1996 government offices were transferred from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, making Dodoma the country's political capital. Dar es Salaam remains the principal commercial city. Tanzania is home to some of the oldest human settlements unearthed by archaeologists, including fossils of early humans found in and around Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania, in area often referred to as "The Cradle of Mankind". These fossils include Paranthropus bones thought to be over 2 million years old, and the oldest known footprints of the immediate ancestors of humans, the Laetoli footprints, estimated to be about 3.6 million years old.

Reaching back about 10,000 years, Tanzania was populated by hunter-gatherer communities who probably spoke Khoisan. Between three and five thousand years ago, they were joined by Cushitic-speaking people who came from the north; into which the Khoisan peoples were slowly absorbed. Cushitic peoples introduced basic techniques of agriculture, wood production, and later cattle farming. About 2000 years ago, Bantu Speaking people began to arrive from western Africa in series of migrations. These groups brought and developed ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization. They absorbed many of the Cushitic peoples who had preceded them, as well as most of the remaining Khoisan-speaking inhabitants. later, Nilotic pastoralists arrived, and continued to immigrate into the area through to the 18th century.

Beginning in the early first Millennium CE, regular trade with Arabia and Persia made the East African coast economically strong. Later, Islam was introduced. Because of
the Arabcentric doctrine of Islam, some Arabic influences entered the language -- resulting in the emergence of the Swahili language, a member of the Bantu family of
anguages, with Arabic influences. All along the coast, as well as on the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago and Kilwa, many trading cities thrived. Between the 13th and
5th centuries, in a period known as the Shirazi Era, these cities flourished, with trade in ivory, gold and other goods extending as far away as India and China.[5]. The Swahili influence was felt east to the islands of Comoros and Madagascar, as well as west into central Africa, the great lakes kingdoms, and Zimbabwe.

In the early 1300s Ibn Battuta, an international Berber traveler from North Africa, visited Kilwa and proclaimed it one of the best cities in the world. In 1498 Vasco a Gama became the first European to reach the East African coast, and by 1525 the Portuguese had subdued the entire coast. Portuguese control lasted until the early 18th century, when Arabs from Oman established a foothold in the region. During this time, Zanzibar became the center for the Arab slave trade. Due to the Arab and Persian domination at this later time, many Europeans misconstrued the nature of Swahili civilization as a product of Arab colonization. However, this misunderstanding has begun to dissipate over the past 40 years as Swahili civilization is becoming recognized as principally African in origin.

A German colony from the 1880s until 1919, the area subsequently became a British Mandate from 1919 to 1961. It served as a military outpost during world War II and provided financial help as well as munitions. Julius Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. Tanganyika and neighbouring Zanzibar, which had become independent in 1963, merged to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. Nyerere introduced African socialism, or Ujamaa, which emphasized justice and equality.

Tanganyika as a geographical and political entity did not take shape before the period of High Imperialism; its name only came into use after German East Africa as transferred to the United Kingdom as a mandate by the League of Nations in 1920. What is referred to here, therefore is the history of the region that was to become Tanzania. The port of Zanzibar was visited by Dutch, English and French ships. The British East India Company had a representative on Zanzibar, who acted as an advisor to the sultan. In 1873 a British fleet forced Sultan arghash to declare the end of the slave trade. Although reduced, an illegal slave trade continued.

In 1848 the German missionary Johannes Rebmann became the first European to see mount Kilimanjaro, and in 1858 Richard Burton and John Speke mapped Lake Tanganyika. on January 1866 the Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone went to Zanzibar, from where he set out to seek the source of the Nile. After having lost contact with the outside world for years, he was found in the town of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika on November 10, 1871.


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