Portal:Tanzania

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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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Uluguru Mountains
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

The Uluguru Mountains, a mountain range in eastern Tanzania. The mountains are named after the Luguru people.

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Map of Lake Tanganyika

The Battle for Lake Tanganyika was a series of naval engagements that took place between elements of the Royal Navy, Force Publique and the Kaiserliche Marine between December 1915 and February 1916, during the First World War. The intention was to secure control of the strategically important Lake Tanganyika, which had been dominated by German naval units since the beginning of the war. The British forces, consisting of two motor boats named HMS Mimi and HMS Toutou under the command of the eccentric Lieutenant-Commander Geoffrey Spicer-Simson were transported to South Africa and from there by railway, river and by being dragged through the African jungle, to the lake.

In two short engagements the small motor boats attacked and defeated two of their German opponents. In the first action, on 26 December 1915 the Kingani was damaged and captured, becoming HMS Fifi. In the second, the small flotilla overwhelmed and sank the Hedwig von Wissman. The Germans maintained a third large and heavily armed craft on the lake, the Graf von Götzen, this craft was attacked indecisively by Belgian aircraft and was later scuttled. Developments in the land-based conflict caused the Germans to withdraw from the lake.

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Did you know ...

A white ferry with several large windows around the outside sits in water next to a jetty.

  • ...that the Lake Tanganyika passenger ferry MV Liemba (pictured) began its life as a German warship in World War I, spent eight years on the bottom of the lake, and later portrayed the Empress Luisa in the film The African Queen?


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This month in Tanzanian history

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Sir Lloyd William Mathews KCMG, CB (7 March 1850 – 11 October 1901) was a British naval officer, politician and abolitionist. Mathews joined the Royal Navy as a cadet at the age of 13 and progressed through the ranks to lieutenant. He was involved with the Third Anglo-Ashanti War of 1873–4, afterwards being stationed in East Africa for the suppression of the slave trade. In 1877 he was seconded from the navy to Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar in order to form a European-style army; he would remain in the employ of the government of Zanzibar for the rest of his life. His army quickly reached 6,300 men and was used in several expeditions to suppress the slave trade and rebellions against the Zanzibar government.

Mathews retired from the Royal Navy in 1881 and was appointed Brigadier-General of Zanzibar. There followed more expeditions to the African mainland, including a failed attempt to stop German expansion in East Africa. In October 1891 Mathews was appointed First Minister to the Zanzibar government, a position in which he was "irremovable by the sultan". During this time Mathews was a keen abolitionist and promoted this cause to the Sultans he worked with.

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