Tanzania is the third poorest country in the world.
Swahili and English are the official languages, with English the principal language of commerce.
There are also many local African tongues, reflecting the tribal diversity of the country. Outside
the cities and towns, far fewer local people speak English than in comparable areas in Kenya. It's
said that the Swahili spoken on Zanzibar is of a much purer form than elsewhere, and quite a few
travellers head for the island to learn it.
The two main religions are Christianity and Islam, with Hindus making up about a quarter of the
population. The majority of Muslims are concentrated along the coast and in the islands.
Compared to Islam, Christianity took a long time to make an impact, and even then (during the
19th century) it was practiced mainly among tribes of the interior. There are still many tribes who
follow neither of the big-name religions and instead worship the ancient spirit of their choice.
Principal among them are the Masai, who put their faith in the god Engai and his Messiah,
Kindong'oi, from whom their priests are said to be descended. It's claimed that there is no
religious bias present in the country's political and civil administrator
Although a Tanzanian gorge recently yielded a few bits of our old mate, Homo erectus, little is
known about the country's really early history. Recorded history begins around 1800, when the
Masai warrior tribes were migrating from Kenya to Tanzania. While the country's coastal area
had long witnessed maritime squabbles between Portuguese and Arabic traders, it wasn't until
the middle of the 18th century that Arab traders and slaves dared venture into Masai territory in
the country's wild interior. European explorers began arriving in earnest in the mid-19th century,
the most famous being Stanley and Livingstone. The famous phrase 'Dr Livingstone, I presume',
stems from the duo's meeting at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika.
Capital City:……………….Dar es Salaam
Per Capita Income:……….US$ 280/year
Life Expectancy:………….51 years
Access to Safe Water:……68%
Under 5 Mortality Rate:….165/1,000 live births.
If you would like to know more about the
country of Tanzania, visit the Lonely Planet
website by clicking on the emblem below: