Tanzania on the world map. Map of Tanzania
Map of Tanzania with cities. Where Tanzania is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Tanzania - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Tanzania Fact File
Region Eastern Africa
Fact File Tanzania
Official name United Republic of Tanzania
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (National Assembly)
Area 945,090 sq km (364,899 sq miles)
Time zone GMT + 3 hours
Projected population 2015 49,343,000
Population density 39.3 per sq km (101.9 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 51.7
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 77.9
Official languages Swahili, English
Other languages Indigenous languages
Literacy rate 78.2 %
Religions Mainland: Christian 45%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 20%; Zanzibar: Muslim 99%, other 1 %
Ethnic groups Indigenous 99%, other 1 %
Currency Tanzanian shilling
Economy Agriculture 86%, services 9%, industry 5%
GNP per capita US$ 610
Climate Mainly tropical; hot and humid along coast, drier inland, cooler in mountains
Highest point Mt Kilimanjaro 5,895 m (19,340 ft)
Literacy rate 78.1 %
Religions Protestant 38%, Roman Catholic 28%, indigenous beliefs 26%, other 8%
Ethnic groups Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11 %, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other 16% (including Asian, European, Arab 1 %)
Currency Kenya shilling
Economy Agriculture 81 %, services 12%, industry 7%
GNP per capita US$ 1,000
Climate Coastal regions tropical, with wet seasons April to May and October to November; inland plateau cooler and drier
Highest point Mt Kenya 5,199 m (17,057 ft)
Map reference Pages 368-69
Kenya, in east Africa, is where humankind may have originated: remains of humans and pre-humans found in the Olduvai Gorge on the border to Tanzania go back several million years. By the tenth century ad Arabs had settled along the coast, and in the nineteenth century both Britain and Germany became interested in the region. In 1920 Kenya became a British colony, the pleasant climate in the highlands attracting English immigrants who displaced Kikuyu farmers and took their land.
After the Second World War, widespread resentment at this expropriation erupted in the violent Mau Mau rebellion which lasted eight years. Independence came in 1963. Since then, control of the state and its resources has been contested by political parties allied with particular tribes, the domination of the Kikuyu yielding to a trial of multi-party democracy in 1991. The current government's main issue is the fight against corruption.
The Kenya Highlands consist of a fertile plateau formed by volcanoes and lava flows. The highlands are divided in two by the Rift Valley, the Eastern Highlands falling away toward the densely populated plain near Lake Victoria, and the Western Highlands descending to the valleys of the Tana and Galana Rivers as they cross the Nyika Plain to the north of Mombasa. The populous and fertile coastal belt is fringed by mangrove swamps, coral reefs, and groups of small islands. In the sparsely populated north toward Lake Turkana desert conditions prevail. Kenya's wildlife, consisting of the full range of African fauna, can be seen in the country's several large national parks, and has made it a leading destination for tourists for many years.
By African standards, Kenya has a stable and productive economy. It has a broad and highly successful agricultural base, with cash crops such as coffee and tea. It also has east Africa's largest and most diversified manufacturing sector, producing small-scale consumer goods such as plastics, furniture, batteries, textiles, and soap. But the country also has one of the world's highest rates of population growth: between 1988 and 2000 it experienced an 82 percent increase in population, a figure exceeded only by Haiti.
This continuous increase in the number of its citizens is accompanied by deforestation, lack of drinking water, and infrastructural breakdown. Floods have destroyed roads, bridges, and telecommunications. Crime, including the murder of visitors and ethnic massacres, has caused a steep decline in the number of tourists.
Map reference Page 369
With Africa's highest mountain (Kilimanjaro) and Serengeti National Park, Tanzania is well known to the outside world. It also the home of some of East Africa's most ancient human remains, those found at Olduvai Gorge on the Kenyan border dating back 2 million years. From the eighth century ad onward, the country's coastal region was subject to Islamic influence from Arab traders who dealt in slaves and ivory. In the nineteenth century British and German settlers arrived.
Tanzania won independence from England in 1961, becoming a de facto one-party state under Julius Nyerere, whose version of African socialism prevailed until he retired in 1985. Opposition parties were allowed in 1992. An uprising by pro-Tanzanian forces violently incorporated the Muslim island of Zanzibar in 1964: unreconciled Islamic interests on the island represent a potential flashpoint. In 1995 the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s put an end to the one-party rule. Since then, two more elections have been held and won by the ruling party. They were brought about because of Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition and were highly contentious. International observers claimed voting irregularities.
From the coast, Tanzania stretches across a plateau averaging about 1,000 m (3,000 ft) to the Rift Valley lakes of Malawi (Lake Nyasa) and Tanganyika. The eastern Rift Valley, with the alkaline Lake Natron, and Lakes Eyasi and Manyara, divides the Northern Highlands. These are dominated by Mt Kilimanjaro near the Kenyan border. The Southern Highlands overlook Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa). Semiarid conditions in the north and tsetse flies in the west-central areas mean that people mainly live on the country's margins. Attempts to farm the savanna woodland have failed.
Though repressive, Nyerere's government achieved relatively high levels of education and welfare, but the economy languished as a result of falling commodity prices abroad and inefficient and corrupt state corporations at home. Over eighty percent of the workforce live off the land, producing cash crops such as coffee, tea, sisal, cotton, and pyrethrum, along with food crops of maize, wheat, cassava, and bananas. Since 1985 there has been some liberalization of the market, along with an effort to boost tourism and a substantial increase in gold production. Reforms have increased private sector growth and investment.
A crater lake in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda (above). Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is in Tanzania (below).