Tanzania Facts

Tanzania Facts and History


Tanzania – a natural paradise in Southeast Africa

Tanzania not only owns large shares of Africa ‘s largest lake, Lake Victoria, but can also proudly refer to the highest mountain on the Black Continent.

The Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, stands directly fronting the border with Kenya, but it is along with his famous 5,895 meter high peak clearly on Tanzanian soil. The ascent to its summit is a journey through the most varied of climatic and vegetation zones: If it is still tropical at the foot of the mountain, you will soon find yourself in a region with tundric vegetation, while in the high mountain zone you will no longer find any plants, just eternal ice.

Although! The ice doesn’t seem to be forever there: the glaciers have lost more than 80% of their area in the last hundred years and about 17 meters in thickness in the last 35 years. Researchers assume that there will be no ice on the summit of Kilimanjaro by 2020. That would not only be a shame about the fascinating sight of the volcano, whose tip still rises bright white from the clouds above the plain when the weather is right. It would also be catastrophic for the surrounding ecosystem, for which the glaciers serve as water reservoirs, and thus for the now one million people who live on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.

But what else can be said about Tanzania, the Southeast African country that was created in 1964 from the union of the two states of Zanzibar and Tanganyika? The finds that have been made in the Olduva Gorge are prehistorically interesting: there, three million year old fossils of our ancestors were discovered, which proves that Tanzania belongs to the cradle of mankind. If you are interested in chimpanzees, the chimpanzee observation station in the Gombe Stream National Park is recommended. And the great Mahale mountain range protrudes from the mysterious and deep Lake Tangajika.

Name of the country United Republic of Tanzania(Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania)
Form of government Federal Presidential Republic
location East Africa
National anthem God bless Africa
National holiday April 26th, Union Day – Tanganyika and Zanzibar united into Tanzania in 1964
Independence Tanganyika: December 9, 1961Zanzibar: December 10, 1963
Population approx. 59 million (Credit: Countryaah: Tanzania Population)
Ethnicities Sukuma, Swahili, Bena, Haya, Makonde and other African peoples
Religions Islam, Christianity and natural religions
Languages Swahili and English (official languages)different African languages
Capital Official capital: Dodoma with approx. 800,000 residents. Seat ofgovernment: Dar Es Salaam with approx. 4.5 million residents
Surface 945,087 km²
Highest mountain Kilimanjaro with an altitude of 5,895 m
Longest river Rovuma with a length of 1,100 km
Largest lake Lake Victoria with an area of 69,485 km²
International license plate T
National currency Tanzanian shilling
Time difference to CET + 2 h
International phone code 00255
Voltage frequency 230 volts and 50 Hertz(an adapter is recommended.)
Internet TDL (Top Level Domain) .tz

Tanzania: history

Short overview

Whoever speaks of Tanzania today means the Southeast African country that was created in 1964 from the union of the two states of Zanzibar and Tanganyika. While Zanzibar was an East African sultanate that had been under British protectorate, Tanganyika was part of the German East Africa colony until 1918 and an English mandate of the League of Nations and the United Nations between 1919 and 1961.

From early history to colonial times

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the theory of an East African “cradle of mankind” could also be supported by finds that had been made in northern Tanganyika. In the Olduvai Gorge located there, numerous prehistoric relics were found that can provide information about the earliest human ancestors.

In terms of early history, one can only speculate about the inner Tanganyika, as there are no reliable sources. The researchers assume that the inner Tanganyika was initially populated by groups who communicated with a kind of click language (similar to that of the South African Khoisan). In the middle of the 1st millennium it was Bantu in particular who lived in Tanganyika and farmed there, but over the centuries other peoples immigrated to the area. They also included the Nilots, nomadic pastoral tribes who came to the region around the middle of the 2nd millennium. Both Bantus and Niloten organized themselves in clan societies, which can certainly be viewed as an early form of a state.

The coastal regions of Tanganyika, on the other hand, were in all likelihood tapped into foreign interests and influences as early as the first half of the 1st millennium. The earliest known trading post was Rhapta, located south of the Lufiji Delta. He must have been known to the Roman merchants. The Christian traders were followed by Arab traders in the 8th century, and Persian and Indian traders from the 12th century onwards. The country developed and the people of Tanganyika established modern cities and trading settlements that stretched along the coast. The most important place in this “urban belt” was Kibaha. It had existed until it was destroyed by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

The famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama came across the African east coast in 1498 and explored it during his trip to India. Although the Portuguese did not colonize the area of present-day Tanzania, or even did not know the interior of the country, they claimed sole dominance over the entire coast until 1506. The Portuguese were followed by Arabs from Oman, among others. The climax of this development came with Sultan Sayyid Said (1804-1856), who was to move his capital from Oman to Zanzibar in 1841.

The (somewhat legendary) empire of the Bachwezi, who settled west of Lake Victoria, existed in the inner area of Tanzania until the 16th century. Shepherd peoples also came from the north and established a structured hierarchy that has become known as the Hinda dynasty.

The exploration of the inner country by the Europeans did not begin until the middle of the 19th century. Surely the most famous European explorer and missionary was the Scot David Livingstone, who last settled in Ujiji.

Tanzania until 1963 – From the beginning to the end of the colonial era

Tanzania, along with Rwanda and Burundi, belonged to the German colony of German East Africa until 1918.

It all started with the German Karl Peters (1856-1918), who founded the Society for German Colonization in 1884. From this company he received the order to acquire areas in East Africa.

In the same year Peters went to Africa and began to sign contracts with a number of the chiefs there. These contracts included German protection from enemies, but above all the right to levy duties and taxes, set up their own administration and let the (German) settlers use the region at will. The treaties were written in German and the scope of the previously drunk Africans was certainly not understood at all. A heated discussion broke out in Germany about whether the German Reich should actually issue an official letter of protection to Karl Peters. After a long resistance, especially by Bismarck, but under pressure from the National Liberals he received the desired document for the newly founded German-East African Society.

In 1887, Peters concluded an agreement with the Sultan of Zanzibar that made the coastal strip from Umba to Rovuma subject to society. After the entry into force of the Treaty in the Year of Three Emperors in 1888 there was an uprising of the Arab coastal population against the occupation of the country by the Germans. The uprising was so strong that only the Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam stations could be held. Thereupon Hermann von Wissmann became an officer of the German governmentsent to East Africa as Reich Commissioner. With the help of his troops – consisting of German officers and non-commissioned officers as well as the so-called Askaris, mercenaries from Sudan and Zulus from Mozambique – he was able to put down the uprising. Its leader, Buschiri bin Salim, was then executed on December 15, 1889.

With the posting of Wissmann, control of Tanzania was de facto transferred to the German Empire. In 1890 the formalities were negotiated, according to which the claims of the DOAG could also be taken over de jure by the Reich. On July 1, 1890, the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty followed, which was signed between Germany and Great Britain. The contract regulated, among other things, the handover of the North Sea island of Helgoland and the Caprivi-Zipfel – today part of Namibia – to the German Empire. In addition, it was regulated that all claims to Ugandaceded to Great Britain. As early as 1891, German East Africa was placed under the administration of the German Empire as a “protected area” in accordance with international law.

This thwarted Peters’ efforts. Although he resigned his offices in protest, he accepted the appointment as Reich Commissioner for the Kilimanjaro area in 1891. The memory to Reichskommisar Peters is colored by his racist and inhuman behavior towards the locals. For example, he had his African lover and the servant hanged with whom she had betrayed him. The locals reacted to this draconian punishment with a rebellion called Peters Office cost and forced him to return to Germanyto return. After lengthy investigations, he was dishonorably dismissed from service in 1897. This disciplinary condemnation was lifted posthumously in 1937 by Adolf Hitler. Peters’ racist views fit well with the ideology of the Nazi system.

On April 1, 1891, the German officer Emil von Zelewski succeeded the previous commander, Wissmann, of the soldiers in German East Africa. His job included securing the caravan routes between the coastal region and Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika. But in this contrast, the interests of the Germans collided with those of the Hehe tribe, who had ruled large parts of the region since the 1860s. Because of the resulting conflicts, it was decided to take military action against the Hehe. In his arrogance, von Zelewski took action against the Hehe with only 13 officers and 320 askaris.

On August 17th, the Germans were ambushed near Lugalo and were almost completely destroyed by the 3,000 warriors of Hehe chief Mkwawa (1855-1891). Von Zelewski was also killed. Of the Germans, only two lieutenants and two non-commissioned officers survived. Under the new commander of the protection force, Colonel Freiherr Friedrich von Schele Mkwawas fortress was taken in October 1894, while the chief managed to escape. But as more and more of his former followers turned away from him and his struggle became more and more senseless over the years, he committed suicide on July 19, 1898 with the help of his rifle. The sergeant who found the body cut off his head, which was later boiled and taken to Germany as a trophy. has been. It was not until 1954 that the skull, which had been in the Übersee-Museum in Bremen, was returned to Africa. He is now in the Mkwawa Memorial Museum in the village of Kalenga, where his old fortress stood – about 10 km from the town of Iringa.

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870-1964) officially became the commander of the troops in German East Africa on April 13, 1914. He has already had a number of foreign assignments. So he had in 1900/1901 the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in Chinaand between 1904 and 1906 participated in the suppression of the Herero uprising. In the Battle of Tanga he was able to prevent an attempt to land by a numerically far superior Anglo-Indian army. But after the British and Belgians, with their increased contingents in Kenya and the Congo, launched a major offensive against the German Schutzttruppen in January 1916, Lettow-Vorbeck was only able to withdraw gradually, so that at the end of 1916 they only had the south of the colony kept busy. Because of his numerical inferiority, General Lettow-Vorbeck started a kind of guerrilla war against the Allies. Again and again he attacked the opposing troops and then withdrew very quickly. In addition, he and his troops impressed with great marching performances. In November he even went to Mozambique, which was then part of Belgium, to continue his attacks there. But because of British reinforcements, he marched back to German East Africa in mid-1918. In the north of what is now Zimbabwe, he learned of the surrenderGermany s.

In Abercorn – located south of Lake Tanganyika – Lettow-Vorbeck, who had meanwhile been promoted to major general, officially surrendered to the British troops on November 25, 1918. There were only a few hundred Germans among his soldiers, mostly officers and sergeants. The main part was made up of the very loyal askaris. Lettow-Vorbeck returned to Germany with just over 140 German soldiers, where he was received with great sympathy by the population. Although he had even participated in the Kapp Putsch against the Weimar government, he was sidelined by the Nazis as a “shareholder”. He died in Hamburg on March 9, 1964,. On the occasion of his burial in the cemetery of the Vicelinkirche in Pronstorf in the Segeberg district, two former “Askari fighters” were flown in as state guests at the behest of the federal government. The funeral speech was held by the then Defense Minister Kai-Uwe von Hassel (CDU).

20th century until today

Since 1920 Tanganyika was under British administration as a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War it became a trust territory. Independence followed in 1961.

Zanzibar gained independence from Great Britain on December 19, 1963.

In 1964 the two states Tanganyika and Zanzibar founded the United Republic of Tanzania. Under the first President Nyerere, the establishment of a socialist society in Tanzania began with nationalized banks as well as educational and land reforms that were intended to distance themselves from authoritarian models of socialism. The model for the socialist transformation of Tanzania was the Ujamaa, the village community that sees itself as a production and distribution collective. However, the application of this model to larger production units failed and led to a worsening of the country’s economic situation.

Although Nyerere had passed power to Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985, he retained the main influence on government decisions as chairman of the CCM until 1990. The economic crisis that had arisen in the 1970s became more and more serious. Reforms had to be made, and they were made by gradually displacing the socialist and regulated state economy by a liberal market economy. The privatization of the school system was only one part of these market changes. In addition, incentives were created to attract foreign investors. In 1995 a multi-party system was introduced and democratic elections took place, in which, however, the previous ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) (German Party of the Revolution) was victorious.

Benjamin Mkapa, who had won the 1995 elections with a large majority, was replaced in 2005 with 80% approval by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (born 1950), a Muslim who is currently the 4th President of the United Republic of Tanzania. He belongs to the former Chama Cha Mapinduzi unity party. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has also served as President of the African Union since 2008.

Tanzania Facts