Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) became independent from the British Empire in 1961. On 26th April 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Tanzania’s first president was Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, and its current president was Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli. As an idealistic socialist by instinct, Nyerere guides his country along ideological lines. The emphasis is on local self-sufficiency. For local problems, traditional and simple solutions are sought rather than technological imports. Much emphasis is placed on education and literacy, which has produced excellent results. Nyerere outlines his political philosophy in the Arusha Declaration, a document issued in 1967. This announces the introduction of a socialist state and is accompanied by the nationalization of critical elements in the economy. As a result of such policies, Nyerere is inevitably forced to rely on the eastern bloc, particularly China, for assistance. However, he maintains his non-alignment stance on the international stage.
Tanzania has mountains and dense forests in the northeast, where Mount Kilimanjaro can be found. Tanzania is home to three of Africa’s Great Lakes. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika is the continent’s deepest lake, known for its unique fish species. The southernmost point of the country is Lake Malawi. The Zanzibar Archipelago is just offshore, on the east shore. Zanzibar’s largest marine protected area is Menai Bay Conservation Area. At the Zambian border, Kalambo Falls is the second-highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa.
Tanzania has more than 100 languages, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa. Swahili is the national language, but there is no de jure official language. About 10% of Tanzanians speak Swahili as their first language, and up to 90% speak it as a second language. There are substantial minorities of Muslims and Animists in Tanzania, but Christianity is the most common religion.
Here are some stunning historical photos showing Tanzania’s life in 1969.