According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Tanzania is a state in East Africa. Most of it is on the mainland, but the islands of Zanzibar and Pempa off the coast as well as smaller islands also belong to the United Republic of Tanzania. The name was formed from Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which merged into a federation in 1964.
Tanzania is largely a highland with altitudes between 1000 and 1500 m. It is formed by fractures of the East African rift system with volcanoes. The highest mountain is Kilimanjaro with 5895 m. A 750 km long coastal plain lies in front of the highlands to the east.
Tanzania has a hot, humid tropical climate on the coast and a cooler tropical highland climate in the highlands. Dry and thorn bush savannahs as well as wet savannahs up to the tropical rainforest characterize the landscape. The Serengeti and Kilimanjaro National Parks are major tourist attractions.
Tanzania is one of the most populous countries in Africa. Over 90% of the population are Bantus. Income is very low and unemployment is high. The main industry is agriculture.
In the northwest, Tanzania borders on Burundi and Rwanda, in the north on Uganda and in the northeast on Kenya. Mozambique is the neighboring state in the south, Malawi and Zambia in the southwest, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west. Tanzania borders the Indian Ocean to the east. Here the island of Zanzibar is north of the port city of Dar es Salaam, just off the coast (Fig. 1).
Tanzania is a little less than three times the size of Germany.
The capital is Dodoma.
Tanzania is predominantly characterized by highlands between 1000 and 1500 m. It slopes down to the south. In the west and south-west it is divided by fracture stages of the East African rift system. They cross the center of the country from the northeast along a threshold consisting of volcanoes. Most of the volcanoes are extinct. The highest of them is Kilimanjaro at 5895 m. It is the highest peak in Africa.
There is a coastal strip in front of the highlands. It is around 750 km long. Behind the coast, which is divided by bays and estuaries and which widens to the southwest, the Usambara Mountains rise up to 2230 m in the north. In the middle section, the Uluguru Mountains rise to a height of 2652 m.
The island of Zanzibar has an area of 1660 km². It is the largest of the islands off the mainland. It is a coral island and very flat. The highest peaks reach 130 m.
The largest lakes are in the Central African Rift area and in the north of the country. The rift system includes Lake Tanganyika on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa) on the border with Malawi. In the north, Tanzania with Congo and Uganda has a share of Lake Victoria. The largest river in the country is the 800 km long Rufigi.
Climate / vegetation
Tanzania has a tropical climate. In the coastal regions it is hot and humid, further to the west there is a cooler tropical highland climate. Rainfall falls in most parts of the country between December and May. Most of the annual precipitation falls on the eastern slopes of the mountains. They achieve values of 2000 mm per year (Fig. 3).
About a third of the country is forested. The vegetation zones range from dry forest and wet savannah on the plateaus to evergreen rainforest on the heavily irrigated mountain slopes. In the depressions and in the highlands east of Lake Victoria, the vegetation consists of thorn bush and dry savannah. This tree-poor savannah in northern Tanzania, the Serengeti, is the core area of the game-rich Serengeti National Park. Together with the Kilimanjaro National Park, the Ngorongoro nature reserve and the Selous game reserve, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Important data about the country
|Population density:||43 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||1.9% / year|
|Life expectancy:||43 years|
|Form of government:||United Republic of Tanzania|
|Languages:||Swahili, English; other Bantu languages, Nilotic languages|
|Religions:||Followers of natural religions 19%, Muslims 35%, Catholics 33%, Protestants 13%|
|Land use:||Arable land 5.9%, forest 47.2%, pasture land 39.5%|
(share of employees)
|Agriculture 45%, industry 16%, services 39%|
|Export goods:||Coffee, cotton, minerals, cashew nuts|
|Gross domestic product:||US $ 10,297 million (2003, excluding Zanzibar)|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 300 / residents (2003)|
The most important industry in Tanzania is agriculture. Manioc, corn, rice, millet and bananas are grown mainly in small farms for self-sufficiency. Cotton, coffee, sisal, cashew nuts, tobacco, tea and pyrethrum are cultivated on plantations for export. The islands of Zanzibar and Pemba provide 15% of the world’s clove production.
The country’s large forests are used for forestry. Hardwoods such as cedar, rosewood and mahogany are mainly exported.
Tanzania has numerous natural resources. So far, they have not been used much. With the help of the World Bank and foreign donors, the government is trying to develop industry and promote the exploitation of natural resources. Gold, tin, salt and precious stones are mined in small quantities. The diamond deposits are almost exhausted. The few large companies include an oil refinery, cement works, and fertilizer and textile factories.
The main trading partners of Tanzania are Great Britain, Germany and Japan.
Railway lines and roads, even if mostly unpaved, open up the country. The main port is Dar es Salaam, international airports have Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar.
The tourism is one of the most important sources of foreign exchange of the country. In 1996 around 330,000 guests from abroad visited Tanzania, especially the national parks and the historical sites of Swahili culture.
Tanzania is one of the oldest settlement areas of mankind, prehistoric humans have left their traces here.
1st – 15th Century: trading in gold and ivory. After the spread of Islam, the Arab-Islamic Swahili culture developed in the area of the East African coast.
1500–1650: Portuguese rule
1698: Conquest by Arabs. Zanzibar became the seat of the new rulers. Slave and ivory trade
1884–1954: colonial era. Tanganyika becomes part of German East Africa. Zanzibar comes under the rule of Great Britain. After the end of the First World War, most of Tanganyika was placed under a British mandate.
1961: Tanganyika independence: member of the Commonwealth
1962: Tanganyika becomes a republic within the Commonwealth.
1963: Zanzibar becomes independent.
1964: The two states merge to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; since then socialist orientation.