Tanzania was one of the first homes for homo sapiens, as well as many of the first hominids that preceded it. It has been a major hub of commerce and cultural exchange for millennia. In the nineteenth century it was integrated at various points into German, British and Portuguese colonial systems.

Today the population of 45 million consists of over 120 ethnic groups, including Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic peoples, as well as those of Arab, South Asian, European and Chinese origin.

The United Republics of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged in 1964 to create the modern Republic of Tanzania. Its founding father, Julius Nyerere, instituted ujaama, a social and economic development program to overcome poverty that was only partly successful. Today Tanzania is one of the poorest large countries in Africa dependent on foreign trade for its energy, food and industrial goods.

The charms of Zanzibar, Mount Kilimanjaro and large game reserves have not yet made tourism the draw Tanzania deserves. The Maasai, who occupy the north, are known for their music, dance, and the elaborate ornamentation of their clothing and jewelry. Traditionally semi-nomadic pastoralists, many Maasai women are now using their skill in beading bracelets and necklaces for traditional costume to earn a living by marketing these products outside their communities.







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