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What Should I Know About Tanzania?

Elephants might be spotted in Tanzania national parks.
Giraffes can be seen at the Arusha National Park in Tanzania.
The majority of Tanzania's workforce is rural.
The United Republic of Tanzania is an East African country with a population of about 44 million people.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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The United Republic of Tanzania, which is Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania in Swahili, is normally known around the world as simply Tanzania. The East African country covers a territory of 364,898 sq mi (945,087 kmĀ²), with a population of about 44 million people belonging to over 100 different ethnic groups.

Because of the myriad of groups living in Tanzania, there is no official language in the country, although officials favor Swahili for business and formal communications. English is widely used, especially in anything that have to do with international matters, although it is not longer taught in schools, so it's becoming less common.

Ninety percent of the people living in Tanzania work in a job related to agriculture. Cities are still underdeveloped, and most of Tanzania's workforce is rural. Even the capital city, Dodoma, is relatively undeveloped, though it does have an airport and two universities. Tanzania obtained full independence from Britain in 1961, becoming first a a constitutional monarchy and eventually a republic. Tanzania is now a democratic republic, with the citizens choosing a president by direct vote.

Despite large deposits of gold, natural gas, and mineral deposits, Tanzania remains mostly unexplored. For example, the first company engaging in the commercial production of natural gas was set up in Tanzania in 2004; before that, the country depended mainly on its neighbors for their national consumption. Other industries, including publishing, media, and medicine, remain practically untouched.

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Tanzania is home to several national parks, such as the Tarangire National Park, near the city of Arusha. Arusha National Park, not far from Tarangire, is home to colobus monkeys, spotted hyenas, giraffes, and other giants. Elephants are rare, but can sometimes be seen in the parks. Less than 30 miles away (50km), Mount Kilimanjaro offers visitors a chance to experience one of the most magical views in Tanzania. There are mountain huts and rest houses inside the park, so visitors can take in the full experience of the wilderness.

Throughout the years, archeologists have found in Tanzania some of the oldest human remains known, reaching back 2 million years. Know as "The Cradle of Mankind," Tanzania has become a magnet for scientists trying to understand the history of the world. Because Tanzania has not suffered the impact of other, more industrialized nations, much of its natural and historical treasures remain untouched and waiting to be found.

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