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Not to be confused with Ugunja.
Topographic map of Zanzibar-en.svg
Unguja is located in Tanzania
Location in Tanzania
Coordinates 6°08′S 39°20′E / 6.133°S 39.333°E / -6.133; 39.333Coordinates: 6°08′S 39°20′E / 6.133°S 39.333°E / -6.133; 39.333
Archipelago Zanzibar Archipelago
Area 1,666 km2 (643 sq mi)
Length 85 km (52.8 mi)
Width 30 km (19 mi)
Region Zanzibar
Population 896,721 (as of 2012)

Unguja (also referred to as Zanzibar Island or simply Zanzibar, in Ancient Greek Menuthias, Μενουθιάς - as mentioned in The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, in Greek: Περίπλους τὴς Ἐρυθράς Θαλάσσης -) is the largest and most populated island of Zanzibar, in Tanzania.


Main article: History of Zanzibar


Unguja is a hilly island, about 85 kilometres (53 mi) long (north-south) and 30 kilometres (19 mi) wide (east-west) at its widest, with an overall area of about 1,666 square kilometres (643 sq mi).[1] It is located in the southern half of the Zanzibar Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, about 59 kilometres (37 mi) south of the second largest island of the archipelago, Pemba. Unguja and mainland Tanzania are separated by the Zanzibar Channel.

Unguja is surrounded by a number of smaller islands and islets, with only two of them, Tumbatu and Uzi, being inhabited. Other minor islands around Unguja include Bawe, Chapwani, Changuu, Chumbe, Kizingo, Kwale, Latham, Mautani, Miwi, Mnemba, Mwana wa Mwana, Nianembe, Popo, Pungume, and Ukanga.


Unguja and the surrounding islands are divided in three regions: Zanzibar Central/South (capital: Koani), Zanzibar North (capital: Mkokotoni), Zanzibar Urban/West (capital: Zanzibar City). Unguja belongs to Zanzibar, which is defined by the Tanzanian Constitution as "a part" of Tanzania with a high degree of autonomy. The local Zanzibari government is based in Stone Town, on the west coast of Unguja.


As of the 2012 census, the total population of Unguja was 896,721, mostly concentrated in the Zanzibar urban region.[2] The main settlement on the island is Zanzibar City, which serves as a capital for Zanzibar and which includes the renowned historical city of Stone Town as well as other populated areas such as Michenzani. Other major settlements on Unguja include Mbweni, Mangapwani, Chwaka, and Nungwi.

People of Unguja mostly speak kiunguja ("the language of Unguja"), which is the dialect of the Swahili language that was used as the main model for the definition of standard Swahili.[3]


Unguja is the island of the Zanzibar Archipelago that has the most developed tourism industry. This accounts for a substantial part of Unguja's economy. Agriculture (including the production of spices such as cloves) and fishing are other relevant activities. All along the east coast, most villages also rely on seaweed farming.

Political System (Membership)[edit]

New party of people democracy is now the new majority. Nine elected members from each country and seven ex officio members make up the membership of the East African Legislative Assembly.[4] Members are elected by the legislatures of each country. To make sure there are women represented there are 2 female members from Kenya, 3 from Tanzania and 4 from Uganda.

Ex officio members include the ministers from each country responsible for regional co-operation, a Secretary General, and a Counsel to the Community.

The elected members of the second EALA (2012–2014) break down by political party as follows:[5]

Political party Burundi Kenya Rwanda Tanzania Uganda TOTAL
independents or unspecified   5 9   9 23
Chama Cha Uma Demokrati   4 1 3 5 13
Chama Cha Mapinduzi       7   7
CNDD-FDD 4         4
KANU   2       2
CNDD 1         1
FORD Kenya   1       1
FORD People's Party   1       1
MRC 1         1
United Democratic Party       1   1
UPRONA 1         1
vacant? 2     1   3
Totals 9 13 10 12 13 58


  1. ^ Zanzibar (2007). Zanzibar strategy for growth and reduction of poverty (ZSGRP). Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. p. 2. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Population Distribution by Administrative Units, United Republic of Tanzania, 2013, page 2
  3. ^ Kiunguja
  4. ^ Composition of EALA Retrieved on 2010-03-06.
  5. ^ EALA – Members (2012–2014) Retrieved on 2014-09-07.

External links[edit]