LAND AND PEOPLE - Located a little more than halfway down the coast of East Africa, Tanzania is a large and sparsely populated country with its 16 million people spread over almost 365,000 square miles (about one-third bigger than Texas). From the hot coastal plains, the country rises to the highest point in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet. More than 22,000 square miles are covered by Africa's great inland lakes. The population is 90 per cent rural and is made up of 130 different ethnic groups. About 35 per cent of the population is Christian, 35 per cent Moslem and 30 per cent animist, English and Swahili are the major languages.
ECONOMY - Primarily an agricultural resources in any quantity.Major exports include sisal, cotton and coffee. With a per capita income of $155 per person, Tanzania is one of world's poorest countries, it receives about $300 million annually in foreign assistance.
HISTORY - While archeological findings in the northern part of the country include some of the oldest known fossil remains of man's early ancestors, little is known of the area's early history. The coastal area, however, has long been in contact with traders, particularly Arabs. The mainland became part of German East Africa in 1885. After World War I, it became the British trusteeship of Tanganyika, finally gaining independence in 1961. The island of Zanzibar, a British protectorate since 1890, gained independence in 1963. The island and the mainland united in 1964 to form Tanzania.
POLITICS - The history of independent Tanzania has been indentified with its leader, Julius Nyerere, and his Tanganyika African National Union. The party and the government are identical in almost all areas. Nyerere is best known throughout Africa and elsewhere for his unique form of socialism based on traditional communal African values. These values, which he characterized by the Swahili word ujamaa (familyhood), were translated into a government program in the Arusha declaration in 1967. Since then, Nyerere has sought to provide basic amenities and education in a rural setting by gathering people into communal ujamoa villages, an effort that he admitted earlier this year has been only partly successful.