Country Code: 231
ISO Code: TZA / TZ
Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania (in Swahili Jamhuri and Muungano wa Tanzania, in English: United Republic of Tanzania), is a country located on the east coast of Central Africa. It borders on the north with Kenya and Uganda, on the west with Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the south with Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and on the east with the Indian Ocean. Its capital is Dodoma. The name of the country comes from the union of the words “Tanganyika” and “Zanzibar”.
In Tanzania, some of the oldest human settlements have been found, including those in the Olduvai gorge where the oldest human footprints (3.6 million years ago) have been found in Laetoli. Remains of Australopithecus and Paranthropus were found in this gorge.
From long ago, Tanzania was visited by foreign merchants, first Persians and then Arabs (who called the continental Tanzania Azania, ‘Land of blacks’). Over time they ended up founding colonies on the coast such as the island of Zanzibar, Kilwa or Pemba, which served as a port of embarkation and disembarkation of all kinds of merchandise and eventually ended up becoming a series of small independent sultanates inhabited by Arab-African mestizos. In the sixteenth century, Portugal conquered Zanzibar and dominated the region for a century. In the 18th century, the coast was annexed by Oman, although in 1861 it became independent as a sultanate with capital in Zanzibar, ruled by the Omani dynasty.
In the following decades, Zanzibar went into decline due to the competition of European traffickers and had to evacuate little by little their domains on the coasts of the continent. Finally, the island of Zanzibar became part of the British Empire in 1896, after a 38-minute war, the shortest in history.
The mainland of present-day Tanzania was awarded to Germany during the Berlin Conference (1884-1885). By virtue of this, the German East African colony, also known as Tanganyika, was created, which included, in addition to most of Tanzania, the current states of Rwanda and Burundi. In 1905, a rebellion of the maji maji against the German colonial government was resolved with a genocide in which 75,000 Africans perished. T
he German East Africa was the only Germanic colony in Africa that resisted the British invasions during the First World War thanks to the military genius of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, but at the end of the war, after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) Most of Tanganyika was delivered to Great Britain, and Rwanda and Burundi to Belgium.
The mainland of present-day Tanzania was awarded to Germany during the Berlin Conference (1884-1885). By virtue of this, the German East African colony, also known as Tanganyika, was created, which included, in addition to most of Tanzania, the current states of Rwanda and Burundi. In 1905, a rebellion of the maji maji against the German colonial government was resolved with a genocide in which 75,000 Africans perished. The German East Africa was the only Germanic colony in Africa that resisted the British invasions during the First World War thanks to the military genius of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, but at the end of the war, after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) Most of Tanganyika was delivered to Great Britain, and Rwanda and Burundi to Belgium.
The British administered Tanganyika until 1961, when it became independent peacefully and became a republic under the government of the moderate Julius Kambarage Nyerere, leader of the African National Union of Tanganyika (TANU). For its part, Zanzibar was evacuated by the British two years later and became an independent country under the government of Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume and the leftist Afro-Shirazi party, after overthrowing the Sultan. Tanganica and Zanzibar negotiated a unification of both states, which was named after Tanzania in 1964.
In 1979 Tanzania declared war on Uganda, after Uganda, led by Idi Amin, invaded and tried to annex Kagera, a province in the north of the country. Tanzania first expelled the invading forces and then invaded Uganda itself. On April 11, 1979 the Tanzanian forces along with the Ugandan and Rwandan guerrillas took the capital, Kampala, and forced the dictator Idi Amin into exile.
In October 1995, Tanzania held its first multi-party elections. The previous party in power, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), won the elections comfortably and its candidate Benjamin Mkapa was sworn in as president of the United Republic of Tanzania on November 23, 1995. In November 2015, John Magufuli was elected president for a period of five years.
In Tanzania there are 127 languages. 90% of the population speaks a Bantu language; In addition, Nilotic languages, Cushite languages and mainly in Zanzibar Arabic are spoken. De iure there is no official language, but Swahili is the national language, which is used as a lingua franca and administrative language, and therefore can be considered de facto official language.
During the colonial era English was used as an administrative language, but now it is no longer used in public administration, in parliament or in government, and that is why it is not a genuine official language. Thus Tanzania is one of the few African countries in which a vernacular language became important in the face of the colonial language. But English is still used in the highest courts, and that’s why it can be considered official language in the broad sense.
According to Tanzania’s official language policy, as enacted in 1984, Swahili is the language of the social and political sector, of primary education and of adult education; English is planned for secondary and university education, for the higher courts and for technology. Although the use of English in Tanzania is promoted by the British government with large amounts, English was gradually repressed by Tanzanian society in the past decades.
For example, in the 1970s, Tanzanian students usually spoke English to each other; now they almost only speak Swahili. Even in high school and university classes, where officially only English is allowed, Swahili or a mixture of Swahili and English is sometimes used.
Swahili is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and the neighboring coasts of Tanzania; Although Swahili is Bantu in its structure and origins, its vocabulary responds to many languages. Like English and Arabic, it has become the lingua franca of Central and Eastern Africa; The first language of many people is one of the local languages. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with Germany for the study of German.
The most spoken languages are Swahili and English; the second is the most used in commerce. Likewise, there is a large number of tribal languages such as Aasax that reflect the ethnic diversity of the nation. Beyond the large populations, there is a shortage of English speakers, unlike in Kenya.