The name Tanzania derives from the names of the two states Tanganyika and Zanzibar that united in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United
Tanzania is probably one of the oldest known inhabited areas on Earth; fossil remains of humans and pre-human hominids have been found dating back over two million years. More recently, Tanzania is believed to have been populated by hunter-gatherer communities, probably Cushitic and Khoisan speaking people. About 2,000 years ago, Bantu-speaking people began to arrive from western Africa in a series of migrations. Later, Nilotic pastoralists arrived, and continued to immigrate into the area through to the 18th century.
The United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic composed of 26 regions (Mikoa). The head of state is President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, elected in 2005. Since 1996, the official capital of Tanzania has been Dodoma, where parliament and some government offices are located. Between independence and 1996, the main coastal city of Dar es Salaam served as the country's political capital. Today, Dar es Salaam remains the principal commercial city of Tanzania and the de-facto seat of most government institutions. It is the major seaport for the country and its landlocked neighbors.
Tanzania is divided into 26 regions (21 on the mainland and 5 in Zanzibar) and ninety-nine districts. Tanzania's regions are: Arusha · Dar es Salaam · Dodoma · Iringa · Kagera · Kigoma · Kilimanjaro · Lindi · Manyara · Mara · Mbeya · Morogoro · Mtwara · Mwanza · Pemba North · Pemba South · Pwani · Rukwa · Ruvuma · Shinyanga · Singida · Tabora · Tanga · Zanzibar Central/South · Zanzibar North · Zanzibar Urban/West.
As of 2006, the estimated population is 40 million, with an estimated growth rate of 2 percent. Population distribution is extremely uneven, with density varying from 3 people per square mile in arid regions to 133 per square mile in the mainland's well-watered highlands and in the islands of Zanzibar. More than 80 percent of the population is rural. Dar es Salaam is the largest city and is the commercial capital; Dodoma, located in the center of Tanzania is the new capital and houses the Union's Parliament. The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups. The population also includes people of Arab, Indian, and Pakistani origin, and small European and Chinese communities. Religious-wise, Tanzania's population is estimated to consist of roughly 45% Christians, 35% Muslims and 20% indigenous beliefs. Language-wise, Tanzanians have two official languages, English and Swahili. Swahili is the language of the social and political sphere as well as primary and adult education, whereas English is the language of secondary education, universities, technology and higher courts.
The country’s economy is mostly based on agriculture, which accounts for more than half of the GDP, provides 85 percent (approximately) of exports, and employs approximately 80 percent of the workforce. Topography and climate, though, limit cultivated crops to only 4 percent of the land area. Industry is mainly limited to processing agricultural products and light consumer goods. Tanzania has vast amounts of natural resources including gold, diamonds, coal, iron, uranium, nickel, chrome, tin, platinum, coltan, niobium and other minerals. It is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana. Tanzania is also known for its Tanzanite, a type of gemstone. Tanzania has dozens of beautiful national parks, like the world-famous Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which generate tourism income that plays a vital part in the economy.