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The Tanzania Portal

Flag of Tanzania
Coat of Arms of Tanzania
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The United Republic of Tanzania (/ˌtænzəˈnə/; Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania) is a sovereign state in central East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The states eastern borders lie in the Indian Ocean.

The United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic composed of 26 mkoa (regions). The current head of state is President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, elected in 2005. Since 1996, the capital of Tanzania has been Dodoma, where government offices are located. Between independence and 1996 the major coastal city of Dar es Salaam had been the country's political capital. Today Dar es Salaam remains the principal commercial city of Tanzania, and is major seaport for the country and its landlocked neighbours.

The name Tanzania is a portmanteau of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two states united in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.

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Dar es Salaam
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Skyline of the Dar es Salaam city center.

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Aftermath of Nairobi bombing

In the 1998 United States embassy bombings (August 7, 1998) hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the major East African cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The attacks, linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to American attention for the first time, and resulted in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placing bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted list.

The bombings are widely believed to have been revenge for American involvement in the extradition, and alleged torture, of four members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) who had been arrested in Albania in the two months prior to the explosions and extradited to Egypt. Between June and July, Ahmad Isma'il 'Uthman Saleh, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Sayyid al-Naggar, Shawqi Salama Mustafa Atiya and Mohamed Hassan Tita were all renditioned from Albania to Egypt, with the cooperation of the United States, accused of participating in the assassination of Rifaat el-Mahgoub, as well as a later plot against the Khan el-Khalili market in Cairo. The following month, a communique was issued warning the US that a "response" was being prepared to repay them for their interference.

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Dar es Salaam before dusk.jpg
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre.

Did you know ...

  • ...that while the first union was founded in 1927, Tanzania did not have a significant labor movement until the 1940s?

Did you know?

This month in Tanzanian history

  • 11 May 1848: German missionary Johannes Rebmann became the first European to report seeing Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • 11 May 2006: Scientists announced that the Kipunji monkey found in 2003 belongs to a new genus of African monkey—the first to be discovered since 1923.
  • 28 May 1992: The Civic United Front liberal party was formed.

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Julius Nyerere

Julius Kambarage Nyerere (13 April 1922 – 14 October 1999) was a Tanzanian politician who served as the first President of Tanzania and previously Tanganyika, from the country's founding in 1961 until his retirement in 1985.

Born in Tanganyika to Nyerere Burito (1860–1942), Chief of the Zanaki, Nyerere was known by the Swahili name Mwalimu or 'teacher', his profession prior to politics. He was also referred to as Baba wa Taifa (Father of the Nation). Nyerere received his higher education at Makerere University in Kampala and the University of Edinburgh. On returning to Tanganyika he worked as a teacher. In 1954 he helped form the Tanganyika African National Union.

In 1961 Nyerere became the first Prime Minister of Tanganyika and following independence in 1962, the country's first President. In 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar and was then renamed as Tanzania. In 1965, a one-party election returned Nyerere to power and two years later he issued the Arusha Declaration, outlining his socialist concept of Ujamaa, which came to dominate his policies.

Nyerere retired in 1985 and was succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi but remained the chairman of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi. He died of leukaemia in London in 1999.

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