Fast Facts

Population:
36,481,000
Capital:
Dar es Salaam (administrative); 2,683,000—Dodoma (legislative); 155,000
Area:
945,087 square kilometers (364,900 square miles)
Language:
Kiswahili, Kiungujo, English, Arabic, many local languages
Religion:
Christian, Muslim, indigenous beliefs
Currency:
Tanzanian shilling
Life Expectancy:
45
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $600
Literacy Percent:
78
Flag: Tanzania
Map: Tanzania

Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, includes the spice islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia and contains Africa's highest point—Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet). Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano, is snowcapped even though it is near the Equator. The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups.

Tanganyika, a British-controlled UN trust territory, gained independence in 1961; and Zanzibar, a British protectorate with an Arab population, became independent in 1963. Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form Tanzania in 1964. Until resigning as president in 1985, independence leader Julius K. Nyerere guided two decades of socialism—adapted to the ujamaa policy of village farming. A multiparty system was established in 1992 after a constitutional amendment.

Some 80 percent of Tanzanians farm or fish at subsistence levels; in many areas tse-tse fly infestation hampers successful animal husbandry. Deteriorating roads and railways and high energy costs are major problems. The Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park are rich in wildlife, although poaching endangers some species. Tourism remains important. Dar es Salaam is the administrative capital, but Dodoma is the designated future capital and current home to Tanzania's legislature.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Agricultural processing (sugar, beer, cigarettes, sisal twine), diamond and gold mining, oil refining
  • Agriculture: Coffee, sisal, tea, cotton; cattle
  • Exports: Gold, coffee, cashew nuts, manufactures, cotton

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

2014 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of a scuba diver at Green Lake in Austria.

    See All Entries

    Browse all the submissions and check back for the winning images.