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Tanzania

Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, including the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia, situated just south of the equator. This blessed country is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. Three of the largest lakes on the continent are located in Tanzania: Lake Victoria in the north, Lake Tanganyika in the west and Lake Nyasa in the southwest.

History

African tribes have lived in the area that is now known as Tanzania for thousands of years. In the 18th century, Arab traders used the native people as slaves. During this time, Zanzibar became the centre for the Arab slave trade. From 1890, Britain controlled Zanzibar, and Germany controlled Tanganyika (today an area in mainland Tanzania), until Britain gained full control of the region following World War II. In 1964 the independent nation of Tanzania formed when Zanzibar and Tanganyika merged as one.

Map of Tanzania

People and Culture

Tanzania’s population includes around 120 different African tribal groups, the largest group is the Sukuma, who live in the north-western part of the country, south of Lake Victoria.Tanzania’s earliest people were hunters and gatherers, inhabiting the land as far back as 5000BC. Around 800AD, traders moved to the country from India, Arabia and Persia (present day Iran), contributing a diverse mix of peoples and cultures. Currently, about 90 percent of Tanzanians live in the rural areas, sustaining on farming. With time people are proceeding to migrate from the countryside to developing towns and cities.

Olduvai Gorge (paleoanthropological site)

Nature

Tanzania is populated with some of the world's amazing wildlife. Africa’s most famous mammal species are native to this beautiful country, including the wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard. Crocodiles and hippopotamuses can be found along riverbanks and the shores of lakes. Tanzania has a number of important national parks and nature reserves: the Selous Game Reserve, where one of the largest populations of elephants live. The Gombe Stream National Park, where animal expert Dr Jane Goodall carried out her famous research on chimps in their natural habitat. The Serengeti National Park, Tanzania’s oldest and most popular park for tourists, is home to over 1.7 million wildebeest and about a million other animals.

Elephants walking across, with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background