A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND INFO

Tanzania, officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania, is a South-Eastern African country.

GEOGRAPHY

Its eastern border is the Indian Ocean, with several countries surrounding the rest of the country, including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique. The idyllic island of Zanzibar is part of the Republic.

Around 40% of the land is protected for conservation; the country has over 15 national parks and reserves and is reputed to have the world’s best safari’s.

HISTORY & POLITICS

It is believed that the first people to migrate into what is today known as Tanzania were Southern Cushitic speakers about 4,000 years ago. This was followed by waves of migration from Southern Nilotic people, like the Datoog, and Eastern Nilotic people, like the Maasai.

The Portuguese first visited the area in 1498  and ended up being in charge of most of the Southeast area by 1506. In 1699 the Portuguese were driven out of Zanzibar by the Omani Arabs, establishing the island in effect as the centre of the Arab slave trade.As much as 90% of the islanders there were enslaved. German colonisation of Tanzania began in the late 19th century, until post WWI, when the country was handed over to the British as a result of the League of Nations.

In December 1962, British rule came to an end and Tanganyika became a democratic republic. Following the revolution in Zanzibar which overthrew the Arab dynasty Zanzibar became an independent state (1963). In 1964, Zanzibar joined Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania (“Tan” from Tanganyika and “Zan” from Zanzibar).

The country since then has embraced a more socialist approach to politics (embracing Pan-Africanism as well) and way of living.

In the 1990s there was a constitutional reform to establish a multi-party democratic system.

In 1996 Dodoma became the capital city, even though Dar es Salaam (former capital city) is by far the largest and most populated city.

ECONOMY

Tanzania is of the poorest countries, with ~70% of its population living below the poverty line.

Tanzania’s economy is heavily driven by agriculture, industry and tourism.

POPULATION

The current population in Tanzania must be ~ 45 million, with ~50% of the population being children and young teenagers (each woman has an average of ~ 5 children).

The majority of the population lives in the Northern-Eastern area of the country. In addition to that, the majority of people live in rural rather urban areas.

TRIBES

99% of the population is of African descent, and the remaining of Asian (particularly Indian), Arab and European descent.

There are ~125 tribes in Tanzania and the 4 major ones are Chagga, Sukuma, Nyamwezi and Haya.

The majority of Tanzanians, including the Sukuma an Nyamwezi people, are Bantu (people who speak the Bantu languages and who and inhabit mainly the South-Eastern areas of the continent).

Tanzania also has some tribes, like the Maasai and the Luo, who speak Nilotic and are mostly found around the Northern border of Tanzania (neighbouring Kenya).

RELIGION

The majority of Tanzanians are Christians (~60%; Roman Catholics and Protestants), with Muslims to follow (~35%; including all Sunni, Shia, Ahmaddiya and non-denominational), ~ 2% African Traditionalists and the rest are either aethist/agnostics or of other religions (e.g. Hinduism).

To my surprise, religious differences do not constitute a reason of conflict in Tanzania.

LANGUAGE

The official languages of Tanzania are Kiswahili and English. Primary education is conducted in Kiswahili and secondary and higher education is conducted in English.

There are also over 100 languages spoken including Bantu and Nilotic.

HEALTH

The life expectancy of Tanzanians is ~60 years old.

Malaria, Sepsis, Diarrhoea and AIDS are still leading causes of death.

Healthcare provision in rural areas is almost non-existent.

In urban areas healthcare is provided mostly via state hospitals and very few private hospitals.

 

 

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