TANZANIA – HISTORY AND CULTURE

TANZANIA - HISTORY AND CULTURE

Tanzania (/ˌtænzəˈnə/;[9][10][b] Swahili: [tanzaˈni.a]), officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; Comoro Islands and the Indian Ocean to the east; Mozambique and Malawi to the south; Zambia to the southwest; and Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania.

Many important hominid fossils have been found in Tanzania, such as 6-million-year-old Pliocene hominid fossils. The genus Australopithecus ranged across Africa between 4 and 2 million years ago, and the oldest remains of the genus Homo are found near Lake Olduvai. Following the rise of Homo erectus 1.8 million years ago, humanity spread all over the Old World, and later in the New World and Australia under the species Homo sapiens. H. sapiens also overtook Africa and absorbed the older species of humanity.

Later in the Stone and Bronze Age, prehistoric migrations into Tanzania included Southern Cushitic speakers who moved south from present-day Ethiopia; Eastern Cushitic people who moved into Tanzania from north of Lake Turkana about 2,000 and 4,000 years ago; and the Southern Nilotes, including the Datoog, who originated from the present-day South Sudan–Ethiopia border region between 2,900 and 2,400 years ago. These movements took place at about the same time as the settlement of the Mashariki Bantu from West Africa in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas. They subsequently migrated across the rest of Tanzania between 2,300 and 1,700 years ago.

German rule began in mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa. This was followed by British rule after World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. The countries had joined the British Commonwealth in 1961 and Tanzania is still a member of the Commonwealth as one republic.

The United Nations estimated Tanzania’s population at 56.31 million, which is slightly smaller than South Africa and makes it the second-most populous country located entirely south of the Equator. The population is composed of about 120 ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The sovereign state of Tanzania is a presidential constitutional republic and since 1996 its official capital city has been Dodoma where the president’s office, the National Assembly, and all government ministries are located. Dar es Salaam, the former capital, retains most government offices and is the country’s largest city, principal port, and leading commercial centre. Tanzania is a de facto one-party state with the democratic socialist Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in power.

Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa’s Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish. To the south lies Lake Malawi. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Zanzibar Archipelago just offshore. The Menai Bay Conservation Area is Zanzibar’s largest marine protected area. The Kalambo Falls, located on the Kalambo River at the Zambian border, is the second-highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa. Christianity is the largest religion in Tanzania, but there are also substantial Muslim and Animist minorities. Over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa. The country does not have a de jure official language, although the national language is Swahili. Swahili is used in parliamentary debate, in the lower courts, and as a medium of instruction in primary school. English is used in foreign trade, in diplomacy, in higher courts, and as a medium of instruction in secondary and higher education; although the Tanzanian government is planning to discontinue English as the primary language of instruction, it will be available as an optional course. Approximately 10% of Tanzanians speak Swahili as a first language, and up to 90% speak it as a second language

Etymology

The name “Tanzania” was created as a clipped compound of the names of the two states that unified to create the country: Tanganyika and Zanzibar. It consists of the first three letters of the names of the two states (“Tan” and “Zan”) and the suffix, “ia” to form Tanzania. The name “Tanganyika” is derived from the Swahili words tanga (“sail”) and nyika (“uninhabited plain”, “wilderness”), creating the phrase “sail in the wilderness”. It is sometimes understood as a reference to Lake Tanganyika. The name of Zanzibar comes from “zenji“, the name for a local people (said to mean “black”), and the Arabic word “barr”, which means coast or shore

COLONIAL

Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Said bin Sultan moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. During this time, Zanzibar became the centre for the east African slave trade. Between 65 and 90 per cent of the Arab-Swahili population of Zanzibar was enslaved. One of the most infamous slave traders on the East African coast was Tippu Tip, who was the grandson of an enslaved African. The Nyamwezi slave traders operated under the leadership of Msiri and Mirambo.  According to Timothy Insoll, “Figures record the exporting of 718,000 slaves from the Swahili coast during the 19th century, and the retention of 769,000 on the coast.” In the 1890s, slavery was abolished.[40] Battle during the Maji Maji Rebellion against German colonial rule in 1905.

In the late 19th century, Germany conquered the regions that are now Tanzania (minus Zanzibar) and incorporated them into German East Africa (GEA). The Supreme Council of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference awarded all of GEA to Britain on 7 May 1919, over the strenuous objections of Belgium. The British colonial secretary, Alfred Milner, and Belgium’s minister plenipotentiary to the conference, Pierre Orts [fr], then negotiated the Anglo-Belgian agreement of 30 May 1919 where Britain ceded the north-western GEA provinces of Ruanda and Urundi to Belgium. The conference’s Commission on Mandates ratified this agreement on 16 July 1919. The Supreme Council accepted the agreement on 7 August 1919 On 12 July 1919, the Commission on Mandates agreed that the small Kionga Triangle south of the Rovuma River would be given to Portuguese Mozambique, with it eventually becoming part of independent Mozambique. The commission reasoned that Germany had virtually forced Portugal to cede the triangle in 1894. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919, although the treaty did not take effect until 10 January 1920. On that date, the GEA was transferred officially to Britain, Belgium, and Portugal. Also on that date, “Tanganyika” became the name of the British territory. In the mid-1920s, the British implemented a system of indirect rule in Tanzania.

During World War II, about 100,000 people from Tanganyika joined the Allied forces  and were among the 375,000 Africans who fought with those forces.  Tanganyikans fought in units of the King’s African Rifles during the East African Campaign in Somalia and Abyssinia against the Italians, in Madagascar against the Vichy French during the Madagascar Campaign, and in Burma against the Japanese during the Burma Campaign.  Tanganyika was an important source of food during this war, and its export income increased greatly compared to the pre-war years of the Great Depression[45] Wartime demand, however, caused increased commodity prices and massive inflation within the colony.

In 1954, Julius Nyerere transformed an organisation into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU’s main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year, TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country. Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961.

 

British rule came to an end on 9 December 1961. Elizabeth II, who had acceded to the British throne in 1952, continued to reign through the first year of Tanganyika’s independence, but now distinctly as Queen of Tanganyika, represented by the governor general.[49]: page 6  Tanganyika also joined the British Commonwealth in 1961.[14] On 9 December 1962, Tanganyika became a democratic republic under an executive president.[49]: page 6 

After the Zanzibar Revolution overthrew the Arab dynasty in neighbouring Zanzibar, accompanied with the slaughter of thousands of Arab Zanzibaris,[50] which had become independent in 1963, the archipelago merged with mainland Tanganyika on 26 April 1964.[51] The new country was then named the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.[52][53] On 29 October of the same year, the country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania (“Tan” comes from Tanganyika and “Zan” from Zanzibar).[13] The union of the two hitherto separate regions was controversial among many Zanzibaris (even those sympathetic to the revolution) but was accepted by both the Nyerere government and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar owing to shared political values and goals.

Following Tanganyika’s independence and unification with Zanzibar leading to the state of Tanzania, President Nyerere emphasised a need to construct a national identity for the citizens of the new country. To achieve this, Nyerere provided what is regarded as one of the most successful cases of ethnic repression and identity transformation in Africa.[54] With over 130 languages spoken within its territory, Tanzania is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa. Despite this obstacle, ethnic divisions remained rare in Tanzania when compared to the rest of the continent, notably its immediate neighbour, Kenya. Furthermore, since its independence, Tanzania has displayed more political stability than most African countries, particularly due to Nyerere’s ethnic repression methods.[55]

 

In 1967, Nyerere’s first presidency took a turn to the left after the Arusha Declaration, which codified a commitment to socialism as well as Pan-Africanism. After the declaration, banks and many large industries were nationalised. Tanzania was also aligned with China, which from 1970 to 1975 financed and helped build the 1,860-kilometre-long (1,160 mi) TAZARA Railway from Dar es Salaam to Zambia.  Nonetheless, from the late 1970s, Tanzania’s economy took a turn for the worse, in the context of an international economic crisis affecting both developed and developing economies. In 1978, the neighboring Uganda, under the leadership of Idi Amin, invaded Tanzania. This disastrous invasion would culminate in Tanzania invading Uganda with the aid of Ugandan rebels and deposing Idi Amin as a result. However, the war severely damaged Tanzania’s economy. Through the 1980s, conservation oriented national parks such as Serengeti and Kilimanjaro, with Mount Kilimanjaro as the tallest freestanding summit on Earth, were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

From the mid-1980s, the regime financed itself by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund and underwent some reforms. Since then, Tanzania’s gross domestic product per capita has grown and poverty has been reduced, according to a report by the World Bank.In 1992, the Constitution of Tanzania was amended to allow multiple political parties. In Tanzania’s first multi-party elections, held in 1995, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi won 186 of the 232 elected seats in the National Assembly, and Benjamin Mkapa was elected as president. The presidents of Tanzania since Independence have been Julius Nyerere 1962–1985, Ali Hassan Mwinyi 1985–1995, Benjamin Mkapa 1995–2005 Jakaya Kikwete 2005–2015 John Magufuli 2015–2021 and Samia Hassan Suluhu since 2022. After the long tenure of president Nyerere, the Constitution has a term limit, a president can serve a maximum of two terms. Each term is five years. Every president has represented the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM). President Magufuli won a landslide victory and re-election in October 2020. According to the opposition, the election was full of fraud and irregularities.  On 17 March 2021, President John Magufuli died from heart complications whilst in office. Magufuli’s vice president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, became Tanzania’s first female president.

Wildlife and conversation

Tanzania contains around 20% of the species of Africa’s enormous warm-blooded animal populace, found over its 21 National parks, reserves, 1 conservation area, and 3 marine parks. Spread over a zone of in excess of 42,000 square kilometres (16,000 sq. mi) and shaping around 38% of the nation’s area. Tanzania has 21 national parks plus a variety of game and forest reserves, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, however there so many people who live in Ngorongoro and try to affect the environment. In western Tanzania, Gombe Stream National Park is the site of Jane Goodall‘s ongoing study of chimpanzee behaviour, which started in 1960. Tanzania is highly biodiverse and contains a wide variety of animal habitats. On Tanzania’s Serengeti plain, white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi), other bovids and zebra participate in a large-scale annual migration. Tanzania is home to about 130 amphibian and over 275 reptile species, many of them strictly endemic and included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature‘s Red Lists of countries. Tanzania has the largest lion population in the world. Tanzania had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.13/10, ranking it 54th globally out of 172 countries

 

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