Portal:Tanzania

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The Tanzania Portal

Flag of Tanzania
Coat of Arms of Tanzania
Location on the world map

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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Carved door in Zanzibar
Credit: Paul Brockmeyer

A traditional carved door showing Arabic calligraphy in Zanzibar. Zanzibar has a long history of Arab influence and was controlled by the Sultan of Oman from 1698–1861.

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?


Did you know?



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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