Tanzania <<TAN zuh NEE uh>> is a large country in eastern Africa. It borders Uganda and Kenya to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Mozambique to the south. To the west it borders Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Malawi. Dar es Salaam <<dahr ehs suh LAHM>> is Tanzania’s largest city, and Dodoma <<DOHD uh MAH>> is the capital.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, rises 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) in northern Tanzania. The region has many other high mountains. In central Tanzania, high, flat areas of grassland called plateaus <<plah TOHZ>> lie between the mountains and the low coastal strip. Tanzania has many rivers and lakes.
Tanzania is famous for the millions of large, wild animals that live in its huge parklands. Hunting is limited or not allowed in most parts of these parks. Lions, antelopes, and zebras live in the Serengeti National Park.Thousands of elephants roam in the Selous Game Reserve, the world’s largest animal reserve. Other animals in Tanzania include baboons, buffaloes, hippopotamuses, giraffes, monkeys, and rhinoceroses.
Nearly all of Tanzania’s people are black Africans. They belong to about 120 different groups. The people speak many different languages, but most also speak Swahili (also known as Kiswahili).Swahili and English are Tanzania’s two official languages. About one-third of Tanzania’s people are Muslims, followers of the faith of Islam, and one-third are Christians. The others follow African religions.
Most of Tanzania’s people live in the cities. Most homes are made of wooden frames covered with mud and have a garden. Some city homes are made of cement blocks or baked clay bricks.
Some men in Tanzania wear shirts and pants like those worn in the United States and Europe, but many wear the kikoi wrap, a strip of colorful cloth that is wrapped around the body. Women wear a colorful, wrap-style piece of clothing called the kanga. One of the most popular foods in Tanzania is ugali, a porridge made with corn.
Resources and products
Tanzania’s economy is largely based on farming, mining, and service industries. The main food crops include bananas, cassava (a root vegetable), corn, millet, rice, sorghum, and vegetables. Large farms run by the government sell coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco to other countries. Farmers also raise beef and dairy cattle. Mines in Tanzania produce coal, diamonds and other gemstones, and gold. Many of Tanzania’s people work in service jobs, such as jobs in banks, government offices, hospitals, hotels, national parks, restaurants, and schools.
In Tanzania, scientists have found the bones and tools of some of the earliest known human beings—some more than 1 million years old. About 1,500 years ago, people who spoke Bantu family languages moved from the north and central Africa into eastern Africa.
During the 1100’s, Arab traders from the area of southwestern Asia called the Middle East began to settle along the coast of eastern Africa. Traders from other areas followed from the 1500’s to the 1800’s.
In the late 1800’s, Germany took control of much of what is now Tanzania. Britain took over another part. In the early 1900’s, the region became known as Tanganyika. In 1961, Tanganyika became an independent country. In 1964, Tanganyika and the nearby island country of Zanzibar joined together to form a new independent country called Tanzania.