Tanzania, as we it know today, was created by merging together Zanzibar and Tanganyika; thus creating the Republic of Tanzania in 1964. Situated between Mozambique and Kenya, Tanzania along with these two nations forms what the world refers to as East Africa. Besides its mainland, this republic also comprises of the islands of Pemba, Mafia, and Zanzibar. Now, let’s take a look beyond its geographical aspects and get into more interesting facts.
From the time of its creation till 1995, Tanzania had a one-party rule! It was only in 1995, the country decided to go democratic. For the purposes of administration, this republic is divided into 30 regions; considering its comparatively smaller size that is quite a lot of division and administrative paperwork!
With a land area of approximately 950, 000 sq km, this country is considered to be slightly larger than our own California city put together twice! But don’t let that deceive you; this republic also houses the largest mountain in the African continent – Mount Kilimanjaro. At over 19, 000 feet it is also one of the largest mountains in the world.
Although Tanzania considers Swahili (its mother tongue), English, and Arabic as its official languages; this country is host to more than 120 languages. Most of these languages fall under the Bantu category of languages, which is actually a part of the 535 languages or dialects that are used across the African continent.
Tanzania is a predominantly agriculture based nation. Timber and fishing being its other important industries. In fact, this small nation is the producer of one of the most expensive hardwoods in the world – the Mpingo trees, otherwise known as the African Blackwood.
Among the many sea food varieties this country is famous for, the most popular is the coconut crab. This is not only considered the largest crab in the world but also the tastiest crustacean! It is largely found in the Chumbe island of former Zanzibar.
A national anthem is unique to every country; at least, this is true for most of the countries in the world. But Tanzania seems to think otherwise; they share their anthem with two other African nations – South Africa and Zimbabwe! Composed by Enock Sontonga, this song goes by the name “Mungu Ibariki Africa” or simply “God Bless Africa”.
Generally Africa is associated with wildlife and this African nation is no different. In fact, Tanzania is believed to have the largest concentration of wildlife when taken on a per square kilometer basis. In other words, that would mean over 4 million wild animals.
Tanzania’s wildlife link does not stop there. It is believed that the predecessors of today’s wild elephants in this country were actually sea cows that swam in waters! Named Dugongs, these animals are believed to have lived 55 million years ago. Dominating the waters is not the only difference with their present-day descendants; these animals were believed to have a lifespan of about 70 years.
Being the home of our four-legged ancestors is not the only thing Tanzania is known for; it also has the credit for being the home to “our” ancestors as well! The earliest remains of humans, a skull, was discovered in Olduvai Gorge situated in Tanzania.
When Tanzania became a republic, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere became its president. Considered the ‘father of the nation’, Nyerere dreamt of making Tanzania a socialist nation. Although the country is still struggling to achieve this dream, it has not stopped them from trying; this is still their dream! Little wonder then that this visionary is honored as Tanzania’s founding father and visionary.