Tanzania: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Tanzania, first human fossils, history, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the tribes.



Tanzania may well be one of the 1st places humans ever put down roots. At the famous Olduvai Gorge in 1959, British anthropologist Louis S. B. Leakey discovered Homo Zinjanthropus, a human fossil over 1,500,000 years old.

In more recent times, the Arabs set out to control the East African coast from their island colony of Zanzibar in the 8th century. From here they managed successful slave trading until the Age of Imperialism when Queen Victoria supposedly gave Tanganyika to her cousin Kaiser Wilhelm as a birthday present because he had complained she had 2 African snowcapped mountains. So Victoria kept Mount Kenya and gave him Kilimanjaro, and the surrounding area became German East Africa. But after W. W. I Germany was forced to give her protectorate back to the British, who changed its name to Tanganyika and expelled German settlers.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the "Shining Mountain," stands over 19,000', nearly on top of the equator, but it is perennially capped with snow. Myths say the mountain arose from lumps of earth dropped by a young boy fleeing an evil spirit. To many East Africans, the mountain is the very soul of the country. It gives life by plucking clouds out of the sky for rain and sending waters to gardens and lakes below.

The Masai tribe are probably the best cattlemen in the world, roaming over 25,000 sq. mi. with at least 500,000 cattle and as many sheep and goats. Their vitality is often traced to their diet--milk and blood drawn directly from living cows. They don't like schooling, look down on neighboring tribes, and seldom hire out their own labor to others.

Zanzibar's local courts and laws are more puritanical and fascist than those of the mainland. The wearing of miniskirts, long hair, tight trousers, or wigs is punishable by floggings.

Zanzibar is practically the world's sole producer of cloves.

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