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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.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.Elegant ebony carvings of both representational and modern design, a specialty of the Makonde people of southeast Tanzania, are prized by collectors around the world.
Tanzanians have been able to resolve most internal problems without resorting to violence because of a shared language, the lack of political or economic dominance by any ethnic group, and the strong leadership provided by Julius Nyerere (1922–1999), the first president of Tanzania.
Bantu-speaking peoples migrated to eastern Africa at the same time that trade between Arabic-speaking peoples and coastal populations was initiated in the first century By the twelfth century, Arab trading posts were well established along the coast and on some islands.
Although Vasco da Gama landed on the East African coast in 1498, it was not until 1506 that the Portuguese fully controlled trade on the Indian Ocean.
There are heavy population concentrations in the urban centers (including Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tabora, and Mbeya), in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and along the coast of Lake Malawi. While each ethnic group speaks its own local language, almost all Tanzanians are also fluent in the national language, Swahili ( Kiswahili in Swahili), a coastal Bantu language strongly influenced by Arabic.
The second official language is English, a vestige of the British colonial period.