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08-Jan-2016 03:54 by 9 Comments

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Elegant ebony carvings of both representational and modern design, a specialty of the Makonde people of southeast Tanzania, are prized by collectors around the world.Tanzania was cradle to some of the earliest hominids on earth, made famous by the discoveries of Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge.

Tanzanians have been able to resolve most internal problems without resorting to violence because of a shared language, the lack of political or economic dominance by any ethnic group, and the strong leadership provided by Julius Nyerere (1922–1999), the first president of Tanzania.

Most Tanzanians with postsecondary educations speak both official languages fluently in addition to their tribal language.

Nyerere encouraged the adoption of Swahili for all Tanzanians in a concerted and successful effort to enable people from different parts of the country to communicate with one another and to encourage them to identify themselves as one people.

In the late 1990s, the central political administration was moved from Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast to the more centrally located city of Dodoma, which lies in the middle of the central plateau.

Because of Dodoma's dry climate, relative lack of economic development, and small size, however, the port of Dar es Salaam remains the urban center of national importance. The current population in Tanzania is approximately 30 million, comprised of indigenous peoples and Pakistani, Indian, Arab, and European subpopulations.

The use of a single common language has greatly facilitated trade, political debate, nationalism, information dissemination, and conflict resolution. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and the magnificent wild animals (including lions, elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, leopards, and cheetahs, to name only a few) draw millions of tourists to the country every year.

The landscape and animals are valued national treasures, symbolized on coins and as brand names for manufactured products.

The Arabs had been trading along the coastline for centuries when Sa'id ibn Suttan moved his capital from Oman to Zanzibar in 1840 to take advantage of the slave markets.

During the early nineteenth century, Arab slave and ivory traders began to penetrate deeper into the interior of what was to become Tanzania.

At the same time, however, repressive, corrupting influences emanating from the colonial, socialist, and capitalist eras have fostered among many Tanzanians an attitude of dependency and fatalistic resignation that helps keep the country one of the poorest in the world. Covering approximately 365,000 square miles (945,000 square kilometers)—an area about one and one-half times the size of Texas, Tanzania lies on the east coast of Africa, just south of the equator.

It shares borders with Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Indian Ocean.

Severe depredations by poachers from both inside and outside the country, however, continue to threaten the survival of many species.