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You are in:  Nations > Africa > United Republic of Tanzania
United Republic of Tanzania*United Republic of Tanzania flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Dar es Salaam (current), Dodoma (designate)
Area: 945,100 sq km; 364,900 sq miles
Population: 31,962,769 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 26 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 74 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Cloves, coffee, cotton, tobacco, tea, cashew nuts, sisal, diamonds, coconuts, pyrethrum, sugar, cardamom, peanuts, meat

Industry: Primarily agricultural processing (sugar, beer, cigarettes, fish, sisal twine), textiles, clothing, tires, batteries, pharmaceuticals, bricks and tiles, electrical goods, petroleum refining, metals, motor vehicles, footwear, cement, wood products, fertilizers, pulp and paper

Agriculture: Cash crops: coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum, cashew nuts, peanuts, tobacco, cloves, coconuts, sugar cane; food crops: maize, wheat, cassava, rice, roots and tubers, sorghum, pulses, bananas, fruits, vegetables; livestock products: cattle, sheep, poultry, goats, meat, milk, eggs, honey, hides

Currency: 1 Tanzanian shilling (TSh), consisting 100 cents

Natural resources: Hydroelectric power potential, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel, petroleum, salt, gypsum, kaolin, tin, uranium


The people

Ethnic: African (more than 120cultural groups) 99 per cent, Indian, European and Arab 1 per cent

Language: Swahili (official), English (official; used for commerce, administration and higher education). Swahili, or Kiswahili, is a Bantu language that originated in the coastal regions of what are today Tanzania and Kenya. It is Tanzania's first official language and is used for instruction in the schools. English is the second official language and is used in business, Government and higher education. There are more than 100 different languages spoken in Tanzania and most people speak the language that is associated with their ethnic group, but Swahili is generally used to communicate with people from other ethnic groups.

Religion: Mainland: Christian 45 per cent, Muslim 35 per cent, Hindu, indigenous beliefs and other 20 per cent. Zanzibar: Muslim 99 per cent, other 1 per cent. There is no state religion and the Government has followed a policy of promoting religious tolerance. On the mainland, more than one-third of the population is Christian and another third is Muslim. On Zanzibar, nearly all inhabitants are Muslim. About one-third of the Tanzanian population follow indigenous beliefs, although many of these people have also accepted some Christian or Islamic beliefs. Conversely, many Christians still adhere to indigenous beliefs and traditions. Thus, in villages the local priest and the traditional healer may be equally respected.


The history

Independence: 26 April 1964; Tanganyika became independent 9 December 1961 (from United Nations [UN] trusteeship under British administration); Zanzibar became independent 19 December 1963 (from the United Kingdom); Tanganyika united with Zanzibar 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; renamed Tanzanian 29 October 1964

Government: Until 1992-when legislation was passed allowing for opposition parties-the Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or Revolutionary Party of Tanzania, had been the country's only legal party. The President, who is directly elected for a five-year term, is executive head of state and appoints two vice-Presidents, one of whom is the President of Zanzibar and the other the Prime Minister of Tanzania. Most members of the unicameral national assembly are elected; the others are nominated. The voting age is 18. Tanzania is divided into 25 regions, whose Governments are headed by regional commissioners.

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