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Tanzania - History
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     When you consider that mankind's birthplace may have been centered somewhere in northern Tanzania it's evident that there is a long human history there. Archaeologists have discovered the fossils of several types of manlike creatures called Australopithecine's in the Olduvai Gorge just North West of Mount Kilimanjaro. Scientists believe these creatures lived as long as 4 million years ago.

     Tanzania's first mainland inhabitants had established themselves as early as 3000 to 5000 years ago. It's safe to assume that the inhabitants were there prior to the above dates, since knowledge of the inhabitants comes mainly from remnants of ancient Stone Age sites that have been researched.  What researchers do know is that these early settlers were hunters and gatherers who spoke Khoisan. Around 1000 B.C. people speaking the Cushitic language began to settle from Ethiopia and Somalia. These people brought cattle and knowledge of stone tools and settled in the Northern Regions.
     Bantu speaking people began migrating into Tanzania around 500 AD, possibly from West Africa. These people were farmers of vegetables, millet and sorghum and brought with them iron implements. New arrivals such as the Maasai possibly took place around the 12th and 18th centuries.
     During the early 1500's the Portuguese established settlements in the area but were later forced out. The first Europeans to enter into mainland Tanzania were Germans Johann Krapf and Johannes Rebmann. The town of Tabora in central Tanzania became an important centre for the early European traders and entrepreneurs. The German Colonization Society, represented by Dr Karl Peters made treaties in 1884 with African chiefs for their lands. Many chiefs were made to believe they were signing for German protection. The treaties were approved by Bismark, who headed up the German government, and who at the time considered these Tanzanian territories as German protectorates. In 1885 British and German delegates met to divide up Tanzania as follows. The Sultan of Zanzibar Seyyid Said was given the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia and Lamu in Kenya as well as a strip of coast which extended from Mozambique in the south to certain towns in Somalia, (Islam in Tanzania). Germany took control of a major portion of what is now known as Tanzania. Britain took over what is now Kenya.
     One of the more powerful tribes at the time were the Hehe. Chief Mkwawa was instrumental in controlling the ivory trade and as the Hehe began to expand their territory they raided people who were under German protection. Germany felt that Chief Mkwawa would have to be dealt with. In 1891 Hehe warriors attacked the German unit killing the commander and many others but at a great cost. This led to many retaliatory attacks by the Germans when in 1894 a surprise attack by the Germans decimated the Hehe. Legend has it that in June 1898, on the run, Chief Mkwawa built a fire and shot himself above it. Supposedly he left one of his men to report his location to the Germans who later brought his skull back to Germany. Another major rebellion was the Maji Maji rebellion which ended in 1907. The rebellion consisted of many local tribes uniting. These people believed by drinking a sacred water, (maji) they would have the strength to repel bullets. Their loses to the German artillery were tremendous but the rebellion was significant because it showed the strength which African unity could achieve.
     Germany finally lost control of  German East Africa in 1917 to the British forces and under British rule the country was renamed Tanganyika. in July 1922 it was declared a mandated territory under the League of Nations. All Germans were expelled from the country. In 1925 Germans were allowed to return and along with Greeks they made up the largest numbers of European immigrants. In 1931 Asian immigrants from India became a large group also. After World War II Tanganyika focused more on it's strengths in food production and sought to become more self-sufficient independence was finally granted on December 9, 1961.     


Tanzania - People
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     The population of Tanzania consists of about 120 ethnic groups, primarily of Bantu speaking origin. Approximately twelve of these groups make up half of the population of 26 million. Unlike some African countries no single ethnic group dominates in terms of size or political influence and therefore conflict between cultures is low. The majority of Tanzania's people are made up of two general indigenous groups, which consist of those speaking Bantu and those speaking Nilotic. Bantu speaking people tend to be involved in agriculture and food production. The Nilotic speaking people whom originate from the Nile Valley tend to be involved mainly in cattle raising. The remaining 2% of the population is made up of Europeans, Asians and Arabs who generally live in the urban centers.
     The country's main spoken language is Kiswahili, which comes from Bantu origin but has been influenced by Arabic, Portuguese and English. Over 95% of the population speaks Kiswahili and this is another contributing factor to the regions unity.
     Some of the major ethnic groups within Tanzania are:
Sukuma - Largest group speak Bantu
Makonde - Bantu Speaking
Chagga - Bantu Speaking
Haya - Bantu Speaking
Nyamwezi - Bantu Speaking
Ha - Bantu speaking
Hehe - Bantu Speaking
Maasai - Nilotic Speaking
Iraqw - Cushitic Speaking
Sandawe & Hadzapi - Khoisan Speaking

 

 


Flora and Fauna
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The lower slopes of the mountain are heavily cultivated, in particular those to the south which receive plenty of rainfall. Elsewhere lower rainfall coupled with the porosity of the lava soils makes the conditions less suitable for cultivation. The forest belt which completely encircles the mountain and extends from about 1800m. to 2900m. provides the best conditions for plant life. Above the forest belt the porous soils and lower rainfall result in much sparser vegetation with semi-desert conditions prevailing above 4000m.

The cultivated belt contains small holdings (shambas) where bananas and various vegetables are grown. The area is also suitable for coffee and there are several major plantations.

The southern, wetter forests contain camphor, podocarpus, fig and other trees; lush undergrowth contains many giant ferns and Unseal (old man's beard) drapes everything. Vines, mimilopsis and a multitude of flowers can be found in the valley and in clearer areas. The northern, drier forests contain podocarpus, junipers and olives. In contrast to Mount Kenya few large animals are found in this zone, though Colobus and blue monkeys are very shy. Many colorful birds are found here, the most noticeable being the Hornbill and the Turaco with its dark red wing markings.
The forests end abruptly without a bamboo zone as found on most other East African mountains. Above, the rapidly thinning giant heather zone leads to the upper moorlands; here the giant groundsles and lobelias peculiar to high altitude tropical mountain zones can be found. There are few animals other than rodents though leopard spoor can often be seen. Eagles and buzzards soar high above and smaller birds such as the alpine chat and streaky seed eater can also be seen. In the higher moorland and alpine zones only few tufts of grass, mosses and lichen are found, together with occasional flowers such as the everlasting helichrysums and senecios.


Geology and Glaciology  
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In order to understand the main forces that have helped build Mount Kilimanjaro we must first have an understanding of Plate Tectonics , [Plate Tectonics Site] . This is the theory  that the Earth's crust is divided into a series of vast, plate like parts that move or drift as distinct land masses.
     These Plates can be colliding, which is called a Destructive Margin or moving apart, known as Constructive Margins. Sideways movements can be found along the San Andreas fault in California. Where they collide one plate moves under the other. This is similar to having two sheets of paper on a flat surface and slowly moving the edges closer together at first they buckle and then one slides under the other.
     Where the Plates spread apart we get rifts or cracks in the Earth. The Mid Atlantic has a very old Constructive Margin which has created the Atlantic ocean and which continues to spread today.
     Around 25 million years ago another Constructive Margin was created in East Africa we know it today as the Great Rift Valley. Just before that time East Africa was a great plain and it is believed the collision of the African and  the Eurasian plate resulted in the rupture. As the plates "rebounded" the resulting rift caused weaknesses in the Earth which led to the formation of the many volcanoes in the region. One such volcano is Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kenya is also a volcano and at one time it was higher then Mount Kilimanjaro. Since Mount Kenya is older it has been eroded by the elements and now Mt. Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa, it sits on the equator at an elevation of 5199m (17,058ft.).
     "The formation of the Rift Valley is in geological terms still continuing. It is, surprisingly, slowly widening and eastern Africa may, in millions of years time, split off to form a new continent. The original violent crack that caused the Rift naturally weakened the earth's crust most where the valley was deepest. It is, therefore, in this area and radiating from this main valley that other major volcanic activity produced numerous volcanic formations." The greatest of these volcanoes is Mount Kilimanjaro.
     The formation of Kilimanjaro started 750,000 years ago, when it consisted of three large vents: Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi. Over thousands of years Shira eventually collapsed, becoming extinct; Mawenzi remained active a while longer but eventually also became extinct and began to erode; Kibo continued with massive eruptions around 360,000 years ago that released black lava over the Shira caldera, creating the area known today as the Saddle, at the base of Mawenzi. Kibo finally reached a height of 5,900 m and erosion helped create the tall jagged peaks of Mawenzi and Shira's plateau. Kibo meanwhile leveled out and was covered during the ages with ice and glaciers. Around 100,000 years ago a huge landslide created the Kibo barranco ( a steep- walled ravine). Kibo's final eruption created the Ash Pit, the Inner Crater and the perfectly formed caldera.

Glaciology

At one stage most of the summit of Kilimanjaro was covered by an ice cap, probably more than 100 meters deep. Glaciers extended well down the mountain forming morain rides, clearly visible now on the southern flanks down to about 4000m. At present only a small fraction of the glacial cover remains. The remnants of the ice cap can be seen as the spectacular ice cliffs of the Northern and Eastern Icefields, and the longest glaciers are found on the precipitous southern and southwestern flanks. If the present rate of recession continues the majority go the glaciers on Kilimanjaro could vanish altogether in the next 50 years.

 

Links Associated With This Topic
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Structural Geology On The Web

Journal Of Structural Geology

Volcano World"Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano....." Plenty of information on volcano's

Volcano's Online Extensive resource on volcanoes and plate tectonics produced by students as an educational reference. Includes database, comics, and links.

Great Rift Valley Discusses some of the forces, such as plate tectonics which have influenced the creation of this incredible structure.

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