Located in East Africa, Tanzania is thought by many to be the cradle of human civilization. Fossils found at Olduvai Gorge have been dated back to millions of years ago. The area was originally inhabited by tribes speaking a click-tongue language, who were later displaced by the Bantu and other groups. Arab traders arrived in the 8th century and began to build major trade routes from India to Persia. In 1498, Vasco da Gama took the coastal area of Tanzania for Portugal, but they never got further than this. The Omani Arabs drove the Portuguese out by the early 18th century. By the mid 19th century, the Germans and British arrived, signing treaties with local tribes in exchange for protection. But locals grew tired of colonialism and rebelled in 1905-1907. More than 120,000 Africans died from fighting and starvation during this conflict. German colonial rule ended after World War I, when control was passed to the United Kingdom.
Lay of the Land: Tanzania, located in East Africa, is an amalgamation of the island of Zanzibar and the former colonial territory of Tanganyika. Lake Tanganyika runs nearly the whole length of the western side of the country and forms the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo. The northern tip of the lake lies in Burundi, with the Kagera River forming Tanzania’s border with Rwanda. Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, juts into northern Tanzania. Midway up the western shore lies the border with Uganda. The border with Kenya is approximately halfway up the eastern side of the lake and stretches southeast to the Indian Ocean. Africa’s highest mountain, flat-topped, snow-covered Mount Kilimanjaro, rises over 19,000 feet just south of the Kenyan frontier. Enormous game migrations still take place in Tanzania’s vast Serengeti National Park.
Prehistory has dated civilization in Tanzania to some of human’s earliest ancestors. Northern Tanganyika’s Olduvai Gorge has yielded fossil records that indicate this area may be where human civilization
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Tanzania were established on December 9, 1961, with William R. Duggan serving as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
When President Kikwete was elected in December 2005, relations between the United States and Tanzania became even closer. In February 2008, President Bush made an official four-day visit to Tanzania. President Kikwete, who has visited the US repeatedly, made a reciprocal official visit to Washington in August 2008.
From 2004 to 2008, US imports from Tanzania included green coffee, increasing from $2.9 million to $15.7 million; nuts and preparations, rising from $1.4 million to $9.2 million; tobacco, waxes, and nonfood oils, moving up from $1.7 million to $2.9 million; and gem stones (precious, semiprecious, and imitation), increasing from $7.8 million to $14.3 million.
Tanzania Bomb Suspect Charged with War Crimes
The State Department reports that there were some incidents of violent clashes between clans in Tanzania in 2007. Mob justice against suspected criminals persisted, despite government warnings against it. The media reported numerous incidents in which mobs killed suspected thieves who were stoned, lynched, beaten to death, or doused with gasoline and set on fire.
Note: The Embassy in Dar es Salaam was established on Dec 9, 1961, with William R. Duggan as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
An attorney by profession, Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar was chosen to be Tanzania’s ambassador to the United States in March 2010 and presented her credentials on September 7.
What Alfonso Lenhardt lacks in diplomatic experience, he makes up for in knowledge of military affairs and security, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have as the next ambassador to Tanzania. In 1998 the American embassy in Dar es Salaam was the target of a car bombing by Islamic terrorists that killed eleven people, and Lenhardt is more than familiar with handling high-level security in the wake of a major terrorist attack.