Islands: Unguja and Pemba
Capital: Zanzibar City
Settled: AD 1000
- Type semi-autonomous part of Tanzania
- President Ali Mohammed Shein
- Total 2,643 km2 (1,020.5 sq mi)
- Total 1,070,000
Zanzibar Native name: Zang bar (Rust-land)
Location Indian Ocean
Area 984 km2 (379.9 sq mi)
Largest city Wete
Zanzibar (Arabic: ?????? ; Persian: ??????, from suffix bar: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin"(iron after rust) is a semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, informally referred to as Zanzibar), and Pemba. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros and Mayotte to the south, Mauritius and Réunion to the far southeast, and the Seychelles Islands about 1,500 km to the east. Arab and Portuguese traders visited the region in early times, and it was controlled by Omanis in the 18th and 19th centuries. Britain established a protectorate (1890) that became an independent sultanate in December 1963 and a republic after an uprising in January 1964. In April 1964 it joined Tanganyika to form a new republic that was renamed Tanzania in October 1964. (Frommers, 2002) The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City, and its historic centre, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar's main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania's Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands (a term also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia). Zanzibar's ecology is of note for being the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar Leopard.
History of Zanzibar
The presence of microlithic tools attests to at least 50,000 years of human occupation of Zanzibar.The Greek text between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD,The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (Greek: ?e??p???? t?? ??????? Ta??ss?? mentioned this island as [Menuthias = Zanzibar? The islands became part of the historical record of the wider world when Persian traders discovered them and used them as a base for voyages between the Middle East, India, and Africa. Unguja, the larger island, offered a protected and defensible harbor, so although the archipelago offered few products of value, the Persians settled at what became Zanzibar City ("Stone Town") as a convenient point from which to trade with East African coastal towns. The old fort and part of the Persian town
They established garrisons on the islands and built the first Zoroastrian fire temples and mosques in the Southern hemisphere.
During the Age of Exploration, the Portuguese Empire was the first European power to gain control of Zanzibar, and the Portuguese kept it for nearly 200 years. In 1698, Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman, which developed an economy of trade and cash crops with a ruling Arab elite. Plantations were developed to grow spices, hence the term Spice Islands. Another major trade good for Zanzibar was ivory. The Sultan of Zanzibar controlled a substantial portion of the East African coast, known as Zanj; this included Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, and trading routes that extended much further inland, such as the route leading to Kindu on the Congo River. Zanzibar was famous worldwide for its spices and its slaves. It was East Africa's main slave-trading port, and in the mid-19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing annually through the slave markets of Zanzibar.
Monument to the slaves in Zanzibar
Sometimes gradually and sometimes by fits and starts, control of Zanzibar came into the hands of the British Empire; part of the political impetus for this was the 19th century movement for the abolition of the slave trade. The relationship between Britain and the German Empire, at that time the nearest relevant colonial power, was formalized by the 1890 Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty, in which Germany pledged not to interfere with British interests in insular Zanzibar. That year, Zanzibar became a protectorate (not a colony) of Britain. From 1890 to 1913, traditional viziers were appointed to govern as puppets, switching to a system of British residents (effectively governors) from 1913 to 1963. The death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash of whom the British did not approve led to the Anglo-Zanzibar War. On the morning of 27 August 1896, ships of the Royal Navy destroyed the Beit al Hukum Palace. A cease fire was declared 38 minutes later, and to this day the bombardment stands as the shortest war in history. 12 jan. 2004: President Karume of Zanzibar enters Amani Stadion for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Zanzibar's 1964 revolution.
The islands gained independence from Britain in December 1963 as a constitutional monarchy. A month later, the bloody Zanzibar Revolution, in which thousands of Arabs and Indians were killed in a genocide and thousands more expelled, led to the establishment of the Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. That April, the republic was subsumed by the mainland former colony of Tanganyika. This United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was soon renamed (as a portmanteau) the United Republic of Tanzania, of which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region. Geography, weather, and climate
The waterfront of Zanzibar city
Covering an area of 2,461 km2 (950 sq miles) Zanzibar is a mainly low lying island, with its highest point at 120 metres. It is 108 km long and 32.km wide. It is +3 GMT during winter and +2 during summer time. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian mainland coast, and 6° south of the equator. It is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. The coral reefs that surround the East Coast are rich in marine diversity.
The heat of summer is seasonally often cooled by windy conditions, resulting in sea breezes, particularly on the North and East coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year round, but officially, summer and winter peak in December and June respectively.
Short rains can occur in November but are characterised by short showers which do not last long. The long rains normally occur in April and May although this is often referred to as the 'Green Season', and it typically does not rain every day during that time.
The main island of Zanzibar, Unguja, has a fauna which reflects its connection to the African mainland during the last Ice Age. Endemic mammals with continental relatives include the Zanzibar red colobus, one of Africa's rarest primates, the Zanzibar red colobus may number only about 1500. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls and food habits than related colobus species on the mainland.
Zanzibar red colobus live in a wide variety of drier areas of coastal thickets and coral rag scrub, as well as mangrove swamps and agricultural areas. About one third of the red colobus live in and around Jozani Forest- Ironically, the easiest monkeys to see are on farm land adjacent to the reserve. They are used to people and the low vegetation means they come close to the ground.
Rare native animals include the Zanzibar leopard, which is critically endangered and possibly extinct; and the recently described Zanzibar servaline genet. There are no large wild animals in Zanzibar, and forest areas such as Jozani are inhabited by monkeys, bush-pigs, small antelopes, civets, and, rumor has it, the elusive Zanzibar leopard. Various species of mongoose can also be found on the island. There is a wide variety of birdlife, and a large number of butterflies in rural areas. Pemba island is separated from Unguja island and the African continent by deep channels and has a correspondingly restricted fauna, reflecting its comparative isolation from the mainland. Its best-known endemic is the Pemba
Zanzibar has a total road network of 1,600 kilometres of roads, of which 85% are tarmacked or semi-tarmacked. The remainder are earth roads, which are rehabilitated annually to make them passable throughout the year. There is no public transport owned by the government at the moment in Zanzibar, but the Daladala (as it is officially known in Zanzibar) is the only kind of public transport owned by private owners; the term Daladala originated from the swahili word DALA or five shillings during the 1970s and 80s (at that time public transport cost five shillings).
Zanzibar now has an improved and thriving sea transport network, by which public owned ships and private speed boats serve the ports of Zanzibar, which was renovated by the help of European Union. There are five ports in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. The Zanzibar Port Corporation (ZPC) is a public entity, which has full autonomy for operation and development of ports. The wharves of the main seaport were constructed in 1989-1991 with financial assistance from the European Union. The port handles more than 90% of Zanzibar trade. Malindi port was built in 1925 as a modest lighter port.
The port is in a poor state in terms of infrastructure (quays, container stacking yard, etc.) as well as very limited operational area and storage facilities. Several assessments of the Malindi port's condition were made between 1995 and 2001. However, no repair works has been done resulting in further deterioration of the wharves. The main port wharf has deteriorated to the extent that it can no longer be repaired.
The most recent accident was in May 2009, when a cargo vessel sank before departing for Dar-es Salaam. It is still unclear how many people lost their lives, as is the cause of the accident. It took more than a week to rescue and lift the vessel. Zanzibar is well connected to the rest of the world. Zanzibar's main airport, Zanzibar International Airport, can now handle larger planes, which has resulted in an increase in passenger and cargo inflows and outflows.
Culture and language
Zanzibar's local people are from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of its colourful history. Zanzibaris speak Swahili (known locally as Kiswahili), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Many believe that the purest form is spoken in Zanzibar, as it is the birthplace of the language. Many locals also speak English.
Zanzibar's most famous event is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries. Every July, this event showcases the best of the Swahili Coast arts scene, including Zanzibar's favorite music, Taarab.
Important architectural features in Stone Town are the Livingstone house, The Old dispensary of Zanzibar , the Guliani Bridge, Ngome kongwe (The Old fort of Zanzibar) and the House of Wonders. The town of Kidichi features the Hamamni Persian Baths, built by immigrants from Shiraz, Iran during the reign of Barghash bin Said.
Zanzibar also is the only place in Eastern African countries to have the longest settlement houses formally known as Michenzani flats which were built by the aid from East German during 1970's to solve housing problems in Zanzibar.