This sense of nationalism has served to keep the country at peace for over two decades, while most of its neighbors have been involved intermittently in catastrophically destructive civil and cross-border wars.
Most Tanzanians with postsecondary educations speak both official languages fluently in addition to their tribal language.Nyerere encouraged the adoption of Swahili for all Tanzanians in a concerted and successful effort to enable people from different parts of the country to communicate with one another and to encourage them to identify themselves as one people.Adhering to a policy of "indirect rule," the British government used indigenous political systems to implement their control, thereby resulting in much less open hostility than occurred during the time of German rule. The birth of nationhood may be attributed to the earlier independence of other African nations along with a growing sense of unity and a need to become independent from the British colonial government. Julius Nyerere was elected president of the Tanganyika African Association, later renamed the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), in 1953.African officials elected to TANU in 19 constituted the administration for internal self-government in May 1961.In the late 1990s, the central political administration was moved from Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast to the more centrally located city of Dodoma, which lies in the middle of the central plateau.
Because of Dodoma's dry climate, relative lack of economic development, and small size, however, the port of Dar es Salaam remains the urban center of national importance. The current population in Tanzania is approximately 30 million, comprised of indigenous peoples and Pakistani, Indian, Arab, and European subpopulations.In 1964, Tanganyika was joined with Zanzibar, an offshore archipelago of islands, to form the present United Republic of Tanzania.Because of a unique combination of historic and cultural factors, Tanzanians share strong feelings of national pride and cohesion.One of the most important integrating forces is the use of the national lingua franca—Swahili, a language spoken and revered by nearly all Tanzanians.Swahili is a compulsory subject in schools, and some 83 percent of the population are literate.At the same time, however, repressive, corrupting influences emanating from the colonial, socialist, and capitalist eras have fostered among many Tanzanians an attitude of dependency and fatalistic resignation that helps keep the country one of the poorest in the world. Covering approximately 365,000 square miles (945,000 square kilometers)—an area about one and one-half times the size of Texas, Tanzania lies on the east coast of Africa, just south of the equator.