Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania in Swahili), is a country on the east coast of Africa. It is 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 is named after Tanganyika, its mainland part, and the Zanzibar islands off its east coast. The country has been a member of the Commonwealth since gaining independence in 1961. In 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar forming the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, (citation needed) later renamed to the United Republic of Tanzania. In 1996, Tanzania’s capital was officially moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, although many government offices still remain in the old capital.

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 WWII and provided financial help as well as munitions. Julius Myerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as Prime Minsiter when Tanganyikia became independent in 1961. Tanganyika and neighboring 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.

Recent History

In 1979, Tanzania declared war on Uganda after Uganda invaded and tried to annex the northern Tanzanian Province of Kagera. Tanzania not only expelled Ugandan forces but enlisted the country’s population of Ugandan exiles invading Uganda itself. On April 11, 1979, Idi Amini was forced to quit the capital, Kampala. The Tanzanian army took the city with the help of the Ugandan and Rwandan guerrillas. Amini fled into exile.

Nyerere handed over power to Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985 but retained control of the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as Chairman until 1990, when he handed that responsibility to President Mwinyi. In October 1995, one party rule came to an end when Tanzania held its first multi-party election.

However, CCM comfortably won the elections and its candidate Benjamin Mkapa was subsequently sworn in as the new president of the United Republic of Tanzania on November 23, 1995.

In December 2005, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was elected the 4th president for a five-year term.

One of the deadly 1998 U.S. embassy bombings occurred in Dar es Salaam; the other was in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2004, the undersea earthquake on the other side of the Indian ocean caused tidal surges along Tanzania’s coastline in which 11 people were killed. An oil tanker also temporarily ran aground in the Dar es Salaam harbor damaging an oil pipeline.


Taarab Music is a fusion of Swahili tunes sung in rhythmic poetic style spiced with Arabic or, at times, Indian melodies. It is an extremely lively art form springing from a classical culture, still immensely popular with women, drawing all the time from old and new sources.

Taarab forms a major part of the social life of the Swahili people along the coastal areas, especially Zanzibar. Tanga add even further in Mombasa and Malindi along the Kenyan coast. Wherever the Swahili speaking people traveled, Taarabu culture moved with them.

It has penetrated to as far as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in the interior of East Africa where taarab groups compete in popularity with other western-music inspired groups.

The Tanzanian artists have devised a new style going by the name of “Bongo Flava”, which is a blend of all sorts of melodies, beats, rhythms and sounds. The trend among the Tanzanian music consumers has started to change to favor products from their local artists who sing in Swahili, the national language.

The mushrooming of FM music stations and reasonable production studios has been a major boost to the music industry in the country. Contemporary artists like Juma Nature, Lady Jaydee, Mr. Nice, Mr. II, Cool James, Dully Sykes and many others command a huge audience of followers in the country and neighbouring countries.

More information about Tanzanian music and events can be found on the various web portals that have sprung up recently. Tanzania has an enormously high growth rate for internet technologies, estimated at up to 500% per year. Costs for computers are still quite high so many users share connections at internet cafes or at work. The business directory naomba.com, movie and sports information, Arusha locality information all are part of an increasing number of websites dedicated to the region.


Tanzania has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including much of the Serengeti plains, where Blue Wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 Blue Wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. Tanzania has developed a Biodiversity Action Plan to address species conservation.


Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Manyara, Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Pemba North, Pemba South, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North, Zanzibar Urban/West. At 364,875 square meters (945,087 square kilometers), Tanzania is the world’s 31st-largest country (after Egypt). It is comparable in size to Nigeria and is about half the size of the US state of Alaska.

Tanzania is mountainous in the northeast where Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, is situated. To the north and west are the Great Lakes of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (Africa’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish). Central Tanzania is comprised of a large plateau with plains and arable land. The eastern shore is hot and humid with the island of Zanzibar lying just offshore.

Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks including the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park in the north and Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park in the south. Gombe National Park in the west is known as the site of Dr. Jane Goodall’s studies of chimpanzee behavior.

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