Portal:Tanzania

Tanzania Portal

The Tanzania Portal

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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 across Africa between 4 and 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. H. sapiens also overtook Africa and absorbed the older species of humanity.

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 population at 63.59 million, which is slightly smaller than South Africa and makes 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 all 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.

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View of Olduvai Gorge with the Naibor Soit hills visible in the distance.

The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania is one of the most important paleoanthropological localities in the world; the many sites exposed by the gorge have 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 Olbalbal ward located in Ngorongoro District of Arusha Region, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Laetoli, another important archaeological locality of early human occupation. The British/Kenyan paleoanthropologist-archeologist team of Mary and Louis Leakey established excavation and research programs at Olduvai Gorge that achieved great advances in human knowledge and are world-renowned. The site is registered as one of the National Historic Sites of Tanzania.

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 hominin sites. Periodic flows of volcanic ash from Olmoti and Kerimasi helped to ensure preservation of the fossils in the gorge. (Full article...)
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The following are images from various Tanzania-related articles on Wikipedia.

This month in Tanzanian history

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African Bush Elephant
Credit: M. Disdero

The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger of the two species of African elephant. Both it and the African Forest Elephant have usually been classified as a single species, known simply as the African Elephant. Some authorities still consider the currently available evidence insufficient for splitting the African Elephant into two species. It is also known as the Bush Elephant or Savanna Elephant.

Did you know ...

Asha-Rose Migiro


Did you know?


  • ... that before Tanzanian soldiers could attack Lira in 1979, their commander gifted food and cooking oil to a ferry pilot so that he would ship them across a lake?

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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

Libyan and Tanzanian troop movements during and after the battle

The Battle of Lukaya (Kiswahili: Mapigano ya Lukaya) was a battle of the Uganda–Tanzania War. It was fought between 10 and 11 March 1979 around Lukaya, Uganda, between Tanzanian forces (supported by Ugandan rebels) and Ugandan government forces (supported by Libyan and Palestinian troops). After briefly occupying the town, Tanzanian troops and Ugandan rebels retreated under artillery fire. The Tanzanians subsequently launched a counterattack, retaking Lukaya and killing hundreds of Libyans and Ugandans.

President Idi Amin of Uganda attempted to invade neighbouring Tanzania to the south in 1978. The attack was repulsed, and Tanzania launched a counterattack into Ugandan territory. In February 1979 the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) seized Masaka. The TPDF's 201st Brigade was then instructed to secure Lukaya and its causeway to the north, which served as the only direct route through a large swamp to Kampala, the Ugandan capital. Meanwhile, Amin ordered his forces to recapture Masaka, and a force was assembled for the purpose consisting of Ugandan troops, allied Libyan soldiers, and a handful of Palestine Liberation Organisation guerrillas, led by Lieutenant Colonel Godwin Sule. (Full article...)

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