Portal:Tanzania

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Tanzania Portal

The Tanzania Portal

Flag of Tanzania
Coat of Arms of Tanzania
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Tanzania (/ˌtænzəˈnə/, 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 all over Africa 4 to 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. Homo sapiens also overtook Africa and absorbed the older archaic species and subspecies of humanity. One of the oldest known ethnic groups still existing, the Hadzabe, appears to have originated in Tanzania, and their oral history recalls ancestors who were tall and were the first to use fire, medicine, and lived in caves, much like Homo erectus or Homo heidelbergensis who lived in the same region before them.

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 2018 population at 56.31 million, which is slightly smaller than South Africa, making 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 some 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.

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 but it will be available as an optional course. Approximately 10 percent of Tanzanians speak Swahili as a first language, and up to 90 percent speak it as a second language. Read more...

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Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge.jpg

The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world; it has proven invaluable in furthering understanding of early human evolution. A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km (30 mi) long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the Arusha Region, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation. The British/Kenyan paleoanthropologist-archeologist team Mary and Louis Leakey established and developed the excavation and research programs at Olduvai Gorge which achieved great advances of human knowledge and world-renowned status.

The gorge takes its name from the Maasai word oldupai which means "the place of the wild sisal" as the East African wild sisal (Sansevieria ehrenbergii) grows abundantly throughout the gorge area. Twenty-five kilometers downstream of Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek, the gorge cuts into Pleistocene lake bed sediments up to a depth of 90 m. A side gorge, originating from Lemagrut Mountain, joins the main gorge 8 km from the mouth. This side gorge follows the shoreline of a prehistoric lake, rich in fossils and early man sites. Periodic flows of volcanic ash from Olmoti and Kerimasi helped to ensure preservation of the fossils in the gorge. Read more...

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The following are images from various Tanzania-related articles on Wikipedia.

This month in Tanzanian history

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Blue Wildebeest
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

The Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), also called the Common Wildebeest and the Brindled Gnu, is a large antelope and one of two species of wildebeest. It grows to 1.7 m shoulder height and attains a body mass of up to 380 kg. They range the open plains, bushveld and dry woodlands of Southern and East Africa, realizing a life span in excess of twenty years.

Did you know ...

  • ...that Sonjo, a Bantu language of northern Tanzania, has been spoken for centuries in an isolated enclave in Maasai territory?


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Dar es Salaam
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

A panoramic view of the city of Dar es Salaam. Visible are the Bank of Tanzania twin towers, the PPF Towers, the Mafuta House and the Julius Nyerere Pension Tower, to the right; the Kariakoo area next with the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium at the back, followed by the slums.

Uganda–Tanzania War - show another

Articles here focus upon aspects of the Uganda–Tanzania War. These are all Good articles that meet a core set of high editorial standards. Symbol support vote.svg

The Battle of Karuma Falls was one of the last battles in the Uganda–Tanzania War, fought between Tanzania and Uganda Army troops loyal to Idi Amin on 17 May 1979. Soldiers of the Tanzania People's Defence Force attacked Ugandan forces at the bridge over the Nile River at Karuma Falls. Tanzania's 205th Brigade was tasked with advancing from Masindi to Gulu, taking a route which passed over the Karuma Falls Bridge. The brigade assaulted the crossing on the morning of 17 May with tanks and artillery and one of its battalions ran over the bridge to attack the Ugandan positions. The Ugandans destroyed a TPDF tank, delaying the Tanzanians long enough to board buses and retreat to Gulu. The Tanzanians secured Karuma Falls before capturing Gulu several days later. Read more...

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