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Zanzibar, Tanzania, comprises a pair of islands off the east coast of Africa called Zanzibar ('Unguja') (1994 est. pop. 800,000, 1,554 sq km) and Pemba. They are, together with Mafia Island, are sometimes referred to as the Spice Islands, though the term is more commonly associated with the Maluku Islands.

The main town and economic centre is Stone Town on the actual island of Zanzibar.

Zanzibar's main industries are spices (including nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper) and tourism. Zanzibar is also the only home of the red colobus monkey.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Viziers
4 British Residents
5 Culture
6 External links


Zanzibar was never an independent nation or country in its own right, but became a part of the overseas holdings of the Sultan of Oman in 1698. This was after an even earlier Portuguese period dating from 1503. The British took over and Zanzibar became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. The British appointed first Viziers (from 1890 to 1913, and then British residents from 1913 to 1963. Shortly after gaining independence in late 1963 it was joined to the mainland state of Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964, which it remains a part of to this day.

Zanzibar was a centre for the eastern slave trade during the 17th-19th centuries, when it was ruled by the Sultan of Oman. The British government forced the cessation of slave trading in the late 19th century under the British-controlled Omani sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed.


Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, it elects its own president who is head of government for matters internal to the island. Amani Abeid Karume was elected to that office on 29 October 2000.

It also has its own House of Representatives (with 50 seats, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms) to make laws especially for Zanzibar.


British Residents


Zanzibar has a fascinating history influenced by Persians, Arabs, Muslims, the Portuguese and the mainland. It has a town of winding lanes, circular towers, carved wooden doors, raised terraces and beautiful mosques. Important architectural features are the Livingstone house, the Guliani Bridge, and the House of Wonders, a palace constructed by Sultan Barghash in

Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar.

External links