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keskiviikko 29. kesäkuuta 2016

Mauritius, Cool Facts #123

<= 122. Zimbabwe                                                                                                   124. Cameroon => 

The Mascarene Islands is a geographic region, which got its name from the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas. The islands are 700-1500 km east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

List of Mascarene Islands: 

Mauritius - independent state
Rodriguez - autonomous island of Mauritius
Reunion - French overseas department
Remnants of several other islands

The three large islands and the remnants of other islands, which form the Mascarene Islands, share a common geologic origin in the volcanism of the Reunion hotspot beneath the Mascarene Plateau. This ecoregion has a unique flora and fauna and the terrain includes a variety of reefs, atolls and small islands.
Mascarene Islands on the map

Mascarene Archipelago

2. Origins of the Country's Name

Dina Harobi - A name given by the Arabs, who visited the uninhabited island in the 900s

Mauritius - A name given by the Dutch after their ruler Prince Maurice van Nassau. The Dutch visited Mauritius for the first time in 1598 and established the first colony in 1638. The Dutch ruled the island until 1715 when it was seized by the French. The British took the control in 1810 and reverted the old name Mauritius after the Congress of Vienna.

Ile de France - During the French rule in 1715-1810 Mauritius was called "Ile de France", which means "French Island".

Prince Maurice van Nassau on the stamp

3. Dodo  

Dodo is the extinct flightless bird and the mascot of Mauritius. Dodo was an endemic species to Mauritius, where the last Dodo was sighted in 1662. The Dodo became extinct only in under a century after the arrival of human beings in the island as the first sightings of the bird had been done in 1598 by Dutch sailors.

The extinction called attention to the previously unrecognized problem of human involvement in the disappearence of entire species. The Dodo had lost their ability to fly mainly because they didn't have any predators in the island but when the island was inhabited, people brought predators and destroyed its habitat leading to the extinction eventually.

The Dodo achieved a lot of recognition of its role in the story of "Alice in Wonderland" and it's also often presented as a symbol of extinction and obsolescence in popular culture.


4. Depopulation of Chagossians 

In 1965, the British detached the Chagos Archipelago, consisting of the island of Diego Garcia and other islands, from Mauritius and formed the British Indian Ocean Territory. Between 1968 and 1973 the entire population of Chagos was removed to Mauritius and the Seychelles.

The reason for these actions were USA's plan to establish a military base in the Indian Ocean. The British had a lot of islands in the Indian Ocean and that's why the British signed a 50-year agreement to give Chagos to the USA for military purposes for that time period.

The islands had to be without civilian residents, so that's why the islands were depopulated from the few thousand Chagossians. The Chagossians have complained about their situation of not being able to return home and living as a marginalized community in Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Chagos Archipelago 
Chagos Archipelago map

Mauritius is the number one of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which ranks African countries according to 100 variables, grouped into four broad categories.

Ibrahim Index categories: 

1. Safety and Rule of Law: 23 indicators
First: 88.9 Botswana (2013)
Last: 4.9 Somalia (2013)

2. Participation and Human Rights: 19 indicators
First: 81.7 Cape Verde (2013)
Last: 11.5 Somalia (2013)

3. Sustainable Economic Opportunity: 30 indicators
First: 79.7 Mauritius (2013)
Last: 2.3 Somalia (2013)

4. Human Development: 22 indicators
First: 92.2 Seychelles (2013)
Last: 13.1 Somalia (2013)

2015 IIAG Index Top 5

  1. Mauritius - 79.9 
  2. Cape Verde - 74.5
  3. Botswana - 74.2
  4. South Africa - 73.0
  5. Namibia - 70.4

The Society of Mauritius:  

- Described as the only perfect democracy in Africa
- An exception in Africa as multi-party system has prevailed during the entire independence
- Low corruption
- Free education and health care
- Sugar production, textile industry and tourism the biggest industries in the country

Ibrahim Index 2015 


900s Uninhabited when the Arab sailors visited the island during Middle Ages
1507 The Portuguese navigator Diogo Fernandes Pereira was the first European to land in Mauritius
1598 The Dutch landed in the island naming it Mauritius after Prince Maurice van Nassau of the Dutch Republic
1638 The Dutch established a small colony, which lasted twenty years. From this colony the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman set out to discover the western part of Australia
1662 The last Dodo was sighted in Mauritius
1710 The Dutch abandoned Mauritius because the settlements didn't produce enough dividends
1715 The French took control of Mauritius renaming it Isle de France
1788 The novel "Paul and Virginie" was published making Isle de France famous in the French-speaking world
1810 The British conquered Mauritius from the French during the Napoleon Wars reverting the old name Mauritius to the island in 1815 after the Congress of Vienna
1835 Slavery was abolished, 75.000 slaves were freed and workers from Southern India were brought to the sugar plantations
1906 Mauritius got the status of a Crown Colony and a flag
1914-1918 The First World War was a time of great prosperity because of a boom in sugar prices
1922 First airplane landed on Mauritius
1958 Mauritius was granted autonomy
1959 The British Harold McMillan made his famous speech "Winds of Change Speech" where he said that it's best for Britain to give complete independence to all of its colonies
1965 The British formed the British Indian Ocean Territory and excised the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius
1968 Mauritius proclaimed independence
1975 A student revolt swept across the country starting from the University of Mauritius, as a result the right to vote was extended to people who were 18-yeard old
1992 Mauritius was proclaimed a republic
1995 Navin Cahndra Ramgoolam, the son of the first Prime Minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, was elected as the Prime Minister
2005 Ramgoolam became the Prime Minister as Jugnauth became the ceremonial president
2008 Mauritius won its first Olympic medal in boxing
2009-2011 Truth and Justice Commission was established to explore the impact of slavery and indentured servitude in the country covering more than 370 years, the longest period of any truth commission 

perjantai 24. kesäkuuta 2016

Zimbabwe, Cool Facts #122

<= 121. Zambia                                                                                                         123. Mauritius =>

The current flag of Zimbabwe was taken in use in 1980 when the country became independent. 


Green = agriculture and rural areas of Zimbabwe
Yellow = minerals of the country, predominantly gold
Red = struggle for independence
White triangle = peace
Red Star = socialism 
Zimbabwe Bird = the golden bird represents the statuette of a bird found at the ruins of Great Zimbabwe symbolizing the history of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Bird

2. Ancient Ruins of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is unusual in Africa because it has several ancient ruined cities built in a unique dry stone style. When David Livingstone and other Europeans arrived at the area in the 1800s they couldn't believe the stone buildings to be built by Africans.

List of the most famous ruins in Zimbabwe 

Great Zimbabwe 
Former capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, built by the ancestors of the Shona people. The largest ruins in southern Africa. The Kingdom of Zimbabwe was established in 1220 after the abandonment of Mapungubwe and lasted until 1450.

Khami Ruins
Former capital of the Kingdom of Butua ruled by the Torwa dynasty. The Kingdom of Butua was established in 1450 after the abandonment of Zimbabwe and lasted until c. 1683, when it was conquered by the Rozwi Empire.

Dhlo Dhlo or Danangombe 
One of the former centres of the Rozvi culture. The Rozwi Empire ruled from 1660 until 1866 in Zimbabwean areas. The site was destroyed in the 1830s when the Matabele arrived at the area.

The ruins are attributed to the Kalanga Torwa State.

List of Kingdoms in the territory of Zimbabwe

1075-1220 Kingdom of Mapungubwe
1220-1450 Kingdom of Zimbabwe
1430-1760 Kingdom of Mutapa
1450-1683 Kingdom of Butua
1660-1866 Rozwi Empire

Great Zimbabwe ruins

3. Gukurahundi

Gukurahundi means in Shona language "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains". This was an event in Zimbabwe between 1983-1987, in which the national army's Fifth Brigade suspected anti-government Ndebele people and eliminated them, especially in Matabeleland. Large groups of Ndebele people were massacred during the Gukurahundi. The death toll estamations are between 1200-30,000. Presidet Mugabe has been accused to have orchestrated the operation.

ZANU and ZAPU under Nkomo and Mugabe fought against the white government of Rhodesia. ZANU recruited people mainly from Shona areas and ZAPU from Ndebele areas. These two groups had had hostilities against each other since Mzilikazi arrived at Shona territories with his Ndebele followers carving out a territory for himself. This humiliation was not forgotten by the Shona. When Zimbabwe became independent in 1980 it was impossible to integrate these two groups into the National Army.

End of the conflict
In 1987 ZANU's Joshua Nkomo signed the Unity Accord with president Robert Mugabe, who represented ZAPU. After the treaty ZANU was dissolved into ZAPU becoming ZAPU-PF.

They made us sing: Part of exhibition by Owen Maseko about Gukurahundi

4. Fast track land reform 

In the year 2000 there was a referendum on the new constitution, which would have allowed the government to acquire land compulsorily without compensation. The constitution was defeated 55% to 45% but few days later the pro-Mugabe War Veterans Association organized several people to march on white-owned farms with drums, singing and dancing. This movement got the name "Fast-Track Land Reform Program" FTLRP. The predominantly white farmers were forced out of their farms, often violently and without compensation.

The land reform caused a tremendous drop in the production. Zimbabwe was before called as the bread basket of Africa but after the land reform it struggled feeding its own population. It caused even famines but recently the production from the small plots of ordinary black farmers have increased. The production levels were in 2012 still lower than before the reform but now the profits are much more widely distributed.

In 2011 there were still around 300 white farmers as there were 5000 when Zimbabwe gained independence and these farmers owned 50% of the land suitable for agriculture.

5. Diamonds and Platinum of Zimbabwe

Gold find in Mashonaland in the late 1800s awakened the interest of the Europeans in the first place towards present-day Zimbabwe. Matabele's king Lobengula gave the right to use the land to Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister of Cape Colony and founder of the British South Africa Company. Zimbabwe was then named after Cecil Rhodes as Southern Rhodesia in the late 1800s.

Facts about Zimbabwe's natural reserves:

- 3rd largest platinum producer in the world (2014)
- Marange diamond fields, which were discovered in 2006 are considered as the biggest diamond discovery in over a century
- Marange field was estimated to have produced diamonds worth over 350 million dollars
- Despite all the diamond and gold reserves, the revenues have disappeared into the pockets of army officers and ZANU-PF officers

A mine in Zimbabwe


900s Shona states started emerging and trade with Arab merchants developed
1000s Kingdom of Mapungubwe emerged lasting until the 1200s
1300-1600s The Mapungubwe was eclipsed by the Kingdom of Zimbabwe
1450-1760 Zimbabwe gave way to the Kingdom of Maputa, ruling much of the present-day Zimbabwe and parts of Mozambique
1660 Rozwi Empire emerged and expelled the Portuguese from the area
1821 Zulu general Mzilikazi rebelled against King Shaka creating his own clan, the Ndebele
1838 The Rozwi Empire and other Shona states were conquered by the Ndebele
1840 The Ndebele settled to Matabeleland after losing their remaining areas in South Africa to the Boers
1867 Gold find in Mashonaland awaked the European interests to the area
1888 Matabele's king Lobengula gave access to the land to Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company
1889 BSAC got the royal charter to colonize Matabeleland and its subject states like Mashonaland
1893-1894 King Lobengula started the First Matabele War
1895 The territory was named Rhodesia in honor of Rhodes and in 1898 the region south of Zambezi became Southern Rhodesia 
1896-1897 Shaman Mlimon started the Second Matabele War, which was also lost to Rhodes' troops
1923 Southern Rhodesia is controlled by Great Britain instead of the British South Africa Company
1953 Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland were merged into the Federation of Nyasaland and Rhodesia
1963 The Federation was dissolved
1965 Prime Minister Ian Smith's government declared the country independent as Rhodesia, Great Britain didn't accept this and Rhodesia the UN imposed the first mandatory trade embargo on an autonomous state in 1966
1970 Smith declared Zimbabwe a republic
1970s Robert Mugabe's ZANU and Joshua Nkomon's ZAPU initiated guerrilla operations against Rhodesia's predominantly white government
1979 Black Bishop Abel Muzoreva became the Prime Minister and the country changed its name to Zimbabwe Rhodesia
1980 Robert Mugabe became the president and Canaan Banana the president of the country, which got independence, unrests erupted around Matabeleland in the beginning of the independence because of the internal fightings against Mugabe and Nkomo
1987 The five-year "Gukurahundi" campaign ends as Nkomo and Mugabe reached an agreement after which their parties ZANU and ZAPU merged into ZANU-PF
1990s Strikes against Mugabe and ZANU-PF policies
2000 The government started redistributing the land from white farmers to the black people
2005 Operation Murambatsvina to crack down the illegal markets and slums emerging in towns and cities
2008 After the elections Mugabe continued as the president and MDC's Tsvangirai became the Prime Minister
2009 Zimbabwe used 50 and 100 billion dollar bills during hyperinflation before abandoning its own currency
2013 Mugabe was re-elected as president and the MDC alleged massive fraud

torstai 23. kesäkuuta 2016

Zambia, Cool Facts #121

<= 120. Uganda                                                                                                        122. Zimbabwe =>

1. Zambia's Name

Between 1911-1964 the country was called Northern Rhodesia. The neighboring Zimbabwe was called Southern Rhodesia. The name Rhodesia was derived from Cecil Rhodes, a British politician, businessman and mining magnate.

The country changed its name to Zambia, when it became independent from Great Britain in 1964. The name Zambia comes from Zambezi River, fourth-longest river in Africa. Zambezi may mean "River of God". The Zambezi has amazing falls like Victoria Falls and also Chavuma Falls and Ngonye Falls.

Zambezi River
2. David Livingstone at Victoria Falls

In 1855 the Scottish explorer David Livingstone was probably the first European to see the Victoria Falls, which he named after Queen Victoria of Britain. The indigenous name "Mosi-oa-Tunya"- "the smoke that thunders" is still used commonly.

Victoria Falls is not the highest nor widest waterfall in the world, but it's still largest based on its combined height and width.

Highest Waterfalls

1. Angel Falls, Venezuela - 979m
2. Tugela Falls, South Africa - 948m
3. Tres Hermanas Falls, Peru - 914m

Victoria Falls - 108m

Widest Waterfalls

1. Khone Phapheng Falls, Laos - 10,783m

Victoria Falls - 1708m

Victoria Falls

3. Formation of Southern Rhodesia

The British businessman and politician Cecil Rhodes created the British South Africa Company, which had the goal of promoting colonization and exploiting south-central Africa as part of the "Scramble for Africa".

In 1890 Cecil Rhodes made an agreement with the King of Barotseland. The BSAC was allowed to use the land and exploit the minerals in response for giving the Lozi people of Barotseland protection against other tribes.

This area was called Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia and it was administered by the BSAC between 1891-1911. The British established the protectorate of North-Eastern Rhodesia in 1900 and in 1911 it was merged with Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia to form the Northern Rhodesia protectorate, administered by the BSAC until 1924, when the British government took over the administration of the protectorate.

The BSAC had mining rights until Zambia's independence in 1964, when it handed the rights to the Zambian government. The BSAC also built the railway system, which they owned until 1947.

Important dates of the Rhodesian protectorates

1891-1911 Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia
1900-1911 North-Eastern Rhodesia
1911-1953 Northern Rhodesia

Cecil Rhodes

Old map of southern part of Africa

In 1953 the British merged Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to form a semi-independent federation. Southern Rhodesia was then a self-governing British colony as Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland were British protectorates. 

Southern Rhodesia had the biggest European population of the three states and it was the dominant power in the federation. Northern Rhodesia's abundant copper deposits were one of the central motives to bring the three territories under one constitution. 

The highly unpopular federation, where a couple of hundred thousand European, primarily from Southern Rhodesia, ruled over millions of Africans, came to an end in 1963. The Africans resisted the federation, which was dissolved in December, 1963. 

Important dates 

1953-1963 Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland 
1964 Northern Rhodesia become independent as Zambia
1964 Nyasaland become independent as Malawi 
1965-1979 Southern Rhodesia was the unrecognized state of Rhodesia 
1979 Rhodesia as unrecognized state Zimbabwe Rhodesia
1980 Zimbabwe Rhodesia became the recognized and independent state of Zimbabwe

Federation of Nyasaland and Rhodesia

5. Copper deposits

Zambia is the world's 8th biggest copper producer. Copper and other natural resources were the reason why Cecil Rhodes and his company arrived at the present-day Zambian area in the late 1800s. Zambian copper deposits were also something that the Rhodesian leaders wanted when Zambia was in the federation with Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) and Malawi (Nyasaland).

Zambia is highly dependent on copper, which constitutes the overwhelming majority of its exports. The government is trying to diversify its economy by promoting tourism, agriculture, gem stone mining and hydro-power. In 2009 Zambia was badly hit by the economic crisis. It's hoped that nickel will be the leading metallic export in the country.

Despite its huge natural reserves Zambia remains a very poor country.

Nkana mine in Zambia

Zambia export statistics


300s Bantu people started settling to the area inhabited by the Khoisan people
1100s Major waves of Bantu-speaking arrived during the Bantu expansion. The Bantu people established kingdoms in the following centuries before the arrival of the Europeans
1700s In the end of the century Portuguese explorer Francisco de Lacerda led an expedition from Portuguese Mozambique to Portuguese Angola arriving to present-day Zambia, which was between these two territories
1855 David Livingstone was the first European to see the Zambezi River and their waterfalls naming them Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria
1873 Livingstone died but his journeys motivated a wave of European visitors
1888 The British South Africa Company, led by Cecil Rhodes, obtained mineral rights from Litunga, the paramount chief of the Lozi for the future Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia area
1899 Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia established
1900 North-Eastern Rhodesia established
1911 North-Eastern Rhodesia and Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia merged to form Northern Rhodesia, a British Protectorate
1923 The BSA Company ceded control over Northern Rhodesia to the British Government
1953 Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi) merged to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
1963 The federation, which was controlled by Zimbabwe, was dissolved
1964 UNIP's leader Kenneth Kaunda became Zambia's first president
1975 Uhuru railway constructions completed to Tanzania with China's support
1972 UNIP was declared as the only legal party
1989 The price collapse of copper and the increased price of food caused protests and demands of multi-party system 
1991 President Kaunda agreed to reinstate multiparty democracy, UNIP lost the elections to MMP and its leader Frederick Chiluba became the president 
1996 Kaunda was prohibited to participate in the presidential elections, which the opposition boycotted and which Chiluba won
2001 Chiluba lost the elections and Lewy Mwanawasa became the president
2011 Michael Sata from the Patriotic Front became the president 

keskiviikko 22. kesäkuuta 2016

Uganda, Cool Facts #120

<= 119. Tanzania                                                                                                           121. Zambia =>

1. Ugandan Colonial Time

The Arabs and Europeans arrived at present-day Uganda in the 1800s. First the Arabs arrived at Lake Victoria in 1830 and initiated trade with Buganda Kingdom, one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region. The Europeans arrived in the 1860s when British explorers where searching for the source of Nile.

In 1894 the British created the Uganda Protectorate, which took its final shape in 1914 when several other territories and chiefdoms were integrated into it. The Bugandan troops even helped the British to annex the kingdoms of Bunyoro, Toro and Ankole to their protectorate. The Buganda Kingdom was favored by the British during the colonial time.

One of the major events during the colonial time was the construction of the Uganda Railway, which started in the 1890s. The British recruited a lot of people from British India and after the construction many of the Indians stayed, which formed one of the Asian minorities in the country.

In 1962 Uganda became independent from Great Britain as a part of the Commonwealth.

Uganda Protectorate
Uganda Railway

2. Dictator Idi Amin Dada

Uganda's third president was one of the world history's most notorious dictators, Idi Amin Dada, a former Ugandan boxing champion and a military sergeant. He was a Muslim and belonged to the Kakwa people from the northern parts of Uganda. 

Idi Amin overthrew president Milton Obote in 1971 in a military coup and started his presidency. In 1976 Amin declared himself the president for life but in 1979 he was deposed as Tanzanian forces entered Uganda during the Uganda-Tanzania War. One of the reasons of the war was that Idi Amin wanted to annex the Tanzanian area of Kagera to Uganda and also the fact that the Tanzanian president Nyerere offered Milton Obote a sanctuary in Tanzania.

Idi Amin's presidency led Uganda to international isolation and to a major chaos in the society. Idi Amin fled to Libya and later to Saudi Arabia, when the Tanzanian forces invaded Uganda. Idi Amin spent the rest of his life in Saudi Arabia, where he died in 2003.

Idi Amin's actions during his presidency 1971-1979: 

- Between 100,000-500,000 people killed during his rule
- Ordered the expulsion of Uganda's all 80,000 Asian people except some professionals like doctors, lawyers and teachers
- Severe political repression in the country 
- Ethnic persecution 
- Extrajudicial killings
- Gave himself a lot of titles like: 
"His Excellency" 
"Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada"
"Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British in Africa in General and Uganda in particular" 

Idi Amin Dada

3. Ugandan Bush War 

In 1980 Milton Obote won the elections after Idi Amin had fleed the country. Obote was accused of election fraud and because of this Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army started a guerrilla war in 1981 against Milton Obote's Uganda National Liberation Army. 

Obote's forces carried out large population transfers and massacred NRA supporters in a large scale. Finally in 1986 NRA conquered Kampala and Museveni became the head of state. Milton Obote's UNLA was defeated. Museveni has been the president since then. 

Ugandan Bush War

In 1987 the Lord's Resistance Army started the insurgency which is a still ongoing guerrilla campaign between the LRA and Museveni's government. The leader is Joseph Kony, who belongs to the Acholi ethnic group, like president Tito Okello, who was overthrown by Museveni in 1986. Museveni's army  carried out mass looting of livestock, rapes, genocide, murder and burning of houses, which caused a lot of resistance against the government. 

The aim of this one of Africa's longest running conflict is to overthrown Museveni's government and to establish a theocratic state on the Ten Commandments and Acholi tradition. 

Causes of the insurgency:
- 1.5 million people have been displaced
- An estimated 100,000 civilians have been killed 
- LRA has abducted over 20,000 children
- Human rights violations like mutilation, torture, rape and massacres
- Use of child soldiers 

Joseph Kony facts: 
- Proclaims to be the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium
- Location unknown
- Claimed to have 88 wives (2007) 
- Claimed to have 42 children (2006) 

Joseph Kony
5. Anti-Homosexuality in Uganda

In 2009 David Bahati, a Ugandan MP introduced an Act substituting life in prison for the death penalty for homosexual actions. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed into law by the president in 2014 however later that year the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the Act invalid on procedural grounds.

The Act said also that Ugandan people outside of the country should be extradited to Uganda for punishment there. The Act included also penalties for individuals, companies and organizations helping somehow same-sex acts.

The homosexuality laws are remnants from the British colonial era when the British tried to prohibit same-sex acts. Currently homosexuality is illegal carrying a minimum sentence of two years in prison and maximum of life. Vigilante executions are tolerated.

Protest against Ugandan anti-gay laws
Where homosexuality is illegal map


1700-2300 Years ago Bantu-speaking hunter-gatherers arrived from central Africa to the present-day Uganda
1300s The nomadic tribes had established small Kingdoms and the most organized one was the Kingdom of Buganda, with Kampala as the capital
1830 The Arab traders arrived at Lake Victoria initiating trade with the Buganda Kingdom
1860s British explorers arrived at Uganda while searching for the source of Nile
1877 British Anglican missionaries arrived in the Kingdom of Buganda
1886 Religious wars between Muslims and Christians and later from 1890 between Protestants and Catholics
1890s 32,000 laborers from British India were recruited construct the Uganda Railway
1894 The British created the Uganda Protectorate. With the help of Bugandan troops the British annexed the kingdoms of Bunyoro, Toro and Ankole to their protectorate
1900-1920 Sleeping sickness epidemic killed more than 250,000 people
1914 Uganda Protectorate took its final shape after integrating several other territories
1962 Uganda gained independence as a part of the British Commonwealth
1963 Uganda became a republic, Buganda's king Mutesa II was elected as the president
1966 Obote overthrew Mutesa II and abolished the traditional kingdoms next year
1971 General Idi Amin overthrew Milton Obote
1976 Idi Amin declared himself the president for life and expelled the Asians from the country causing a financial chaos. Amin also eliminated his opponents violently
1979 Amin's rule ended when Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda
1980 Amin exiled Uganda and Obote was elected as president 
1985 Obote deposed again, this time by Tito Okello, who ruled six months before being deposed
1986 Museveni's NRM occupied Kampala and he has been the president since then
1993 Buganda's king's re-coronation as Mutesa II's son Ronald Mutebi became the king "Kabaka", also other traditional kingdoms have allowed to organize ceremonially without political power
2005 Museveni presidential term limits
2006 Museveni won the elections, which weren't completely regarded as fair
2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill caused worldwide attention as death penalty was suggested for homosexuality
2011 Museveni won the elections again
2014 As of January homosexuality was illegal carrying a minimum sentence of two years in prison and maximum of life 

tiistai 21. kesäkuuta 2016

Tanzania, Cool Facts #119

<= 118. Swaziland                                                                                                         120. Uganda => 

1. Tanzania = Tanganyika + Zanzibar

Tanzania is a state which was born when Tanganyika and Zanzibar united as one state in 1964. 

Tanzania's name: 
Tan = from Tanganyika
Zan = from Zanzibar

Tanganyika's name: 
Tanga = "to sail" in Swahili
Nyika = "wilderness" 
Meaning of the name = sail in the wilderness

Zanzibar's name: 
The beginning comes from the word "Zengi" = the name for a local people, also said to mean black
Barr = Arabic word, which means coast or shore

The flag of Tanzania was also a combination of Tanganyika's and Zanzibar's leading parties' flags

Flag of Tanganyika
Flag of Zanzibar

2. Zanzibar's History  

Precolonial time
Swahili culture flourished as Arabs, Persians and Indians among others visited or migrated into Zanzibar. The Swahili architecture and building skills were very advanced. 

Portuguese era 1503-1698
Vasco da Gama visited the area in 1498 and after that in 1503 or 1504 Zanzibar became part of the Portuguese Colony. The Portuguese rule ended in 1698 when Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman. 

Sultanate of Oman 1698-1856 
From 1698 until 1856 Zanzibar was part of the Sultanate of Oman. In 1832 or 1840 Said bin Sultan moved the capital from Oman to Zanzibar as Muscat was replaced by Stone Town as the capital of the Sultanate. 

Sultanate of Zanzibar 1856-1964
In 1856 the Sultan died and his dominions were divided into two to his two sons. Thuwaini became the Sultan of Oman and the Said's other son Majid became the first Sultan of Zanzibar. The Swahili Coast was controlled by Zanzibar but in the late 1800s Great Britain and Germany colonized the mainland areas of Africa. 

British Protectorate 1890-1964
In 1890 the Sultanate of Zanzibar became a British Protectorate, not a colony. Zanzibar was a Protectorate until 1964 when it became constitutional monarchy. Only a month after that the Zanzibar Revolution deposed the Sultanate and later that year Zanzibar merged with Tanganyika forming the present-day Tanzania. 

Sultanate of Oman-Zanzibar in c.1856

3. Maji Maji Rebellion 

German Colony 
In 1888 the German explorer Carl Peters rented land from the Sultan of Zanzibar for 50 years from the mainland of Tanzania to the German East Africa Company. The area was called Petersland but due to financial problems the area was sold to the German government and it became part of the German East Africa Colony

Cause of the rebellion
The Maji Maji Rebellion lasted from 1905 to 1907 and it was triggered by a German policy designed to force the indigenous people to grow cotton for export. Each village had a goal about the amount of cotton that they were forced to produce. 

The system changed the fabric of the society as the men of the villages had to leave their homes for work forcing the women to assume some traditional male roles. The discontent against the Germans and the drought in 1905 started the open rebellion against the Germans.

Shaman with war medicine
A man called Kinjikitile Ngwale claimed to be possessed by a snake spirit called Hongo. He called himself Bokero and created a belief that the Africans in German East Africa had been called to eliminate the Germans. 

Bokero gave the fighters war medicine that would turn the German bullets into water. The "war medicine" was actually water mixed with castor oil and millet seeds. The war medicine didn't help, the rebellion was defeated. Water is "maji" in Kiswahili, which gave the name to the Maji Maji Rebellion. 

A famine called Great Hunger followed the war mainly caused by the scorched-earth policy advocated by the German Gustav Adolf von Götzen.

German rule
The German rule in Tanganyika ended in the World War I and Tanganyika became a British mandate area in 1919.

Maji Maji Rebellion battle

4. Kilimanjaro Myth

There's a widespread story about why Mount Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and not in Kenya.

This myth says that Great Britain's Queen Victoria was at her children's wedding and heard her grandson the future German Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia to complain about the fact that the British had two mountains in East Africa and the Germans none. Then when the Kaiser had his birthday, Queen Victoria gave Mount Kilimanjaro as a birthday gift.

This is one of the myths explaining why the borderline is straight between Kenya and Tanzania except when it's broken in one point, where Mount Kilimanjaro is, with a small kink.

Mount Kilimanjaro 5895m

5. Tanzanian Society 

- One of the poorest countries in the world 
- 49 million people 
- Life expectancy 61 years 
- About 125 ethnic groups 
- Muslims 35%, Christian 30% and indigenous beliefs 35% according to estimates 
- Swahili and English official languages
- With its over 100 languages Tanzania is the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa
- Languages of Tanzania belong to Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic or Khoisan language families
- Despite the poverty Tanzania invested in people's basic needs like education, water supply in the villages and healthcare, which have improved

First president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere


First wave of migration was by Southern Cushitic people and later Eastern Cushitic, Southern Nilotes, Eastern Nilotes and Bantu people
700s Arab merchants sailed to Sansibar establishing trade posts
700-800s Islam was practiced by some on the Swahili Coast
1100s The Swahili culture spread to the inlands
1498 The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama visited the Tanzanian coast
1506 The Portuguese controlled most of the Southeast African litoral
1698 The Portuguese were ousted out from Zanzibar by Omani Arabs
1840 The Omani Sultan moved his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar and during this time it became the centre for the Arab slave trade
1888 German explorer Karl Peters rented an area from the coast for 50 years from the Sultan of Zanzibar. The area was named Petersland and it became part of the German East-Africa Company, which Peters had established
1891 Petersland became a colony of Germany and wasn't anymore a possession of the German East-Africa Company. At the same time Zanzibar became a British Protectorate
1905-1907 Maji Maji Rebellion against the Germans who had forced the population to grow cash crops
1919 German East-Africa was split between Great Britain and Belgium after the World War I as mandate areas, the British got Tanganyika and Belgium got Ruanda-Urundi
1954 TANU was established with the aim to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika
1961 Tanganyika became independent and its leader Julius Nyerere became the first president
1963 Zanzibar became an independent Sultanate
1964 After the Zanzibar Revolution Zanzibar and Tanganyika formed a union becoming the United Republic of Tanzania
1967 After the Arusha Declaration Nyerere started nationalizing banks and many large industries
1970-1975 China financed and helped building the 1860km long TAZARA Railway from Dar es Salaam to Zambia
1975 The capital was removed from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma 
1978 Tanzania had some border skirmish with Idi Amin's Uganda
1979 Tanzanian forces invaded Uganda supporting the rebels, who overthrew Idi Amin
1977 TANU and Afro-Shirazi merged becoming CCM, which was the only political party
1985 Julius Nyerere resigned voluntarily, the next president was the Zanzibari Ali Hassan Mwinyi
1992 The constitution was amended to allow multiple parties
1995 First multi-party elections 

sunnuntai 19. kesäkuuta 2016

Swaziland, Cool Facts #118

<= 117. Sierra Leone                                                                                                 119. Tanzania => 

The current flag of Swaziland was adopted in 1968, when Swaziland gained independence from Great Britain. The design of the flag is based on the flag given by King Sobhuza II to the Swazi Pioneer Corps in 1941.

Red = past battles
Blue = peace and stability
Yellow = resources of the country
The shield and two spears = symbolizes protection from the country's enemies and its color shows that black and white people live peacefully together in Swaziland
Three blue injobo tassels = represents the power of the king, who is the only one to use these feathers

Swazi warriors with shields and spears

2. Swazi Kingdom Independence 

The Swazi settlers arrived to Swaziland from areas of the present-day Mozambique. The Swazi conquered and incorporated the local clans to the Swazi. King Mswati II was the greatest fighting kings of Swaziland extending the area of the country to twice its current size. 

The British recognized Swaziland in 1881 despite the Scramble of Africa. The Boers and British were fighting against each others and local African tribes during that time for the control of present-day South Africa. 

In 1894 Swaziland became a protectorate of Transvaal, which was a Boer Republic. The Boers and British started the Second Boer War in 1899 and in 1902 it ended in a British victory. Swaziland became a British Protectorate after the war and was part of Great Britain until its independence in 1968. 

Swaziland and neighboring countries in 1885

3. Swaziland-South Africa Relations

Swaziland is economically and politically linked to South Africa. During the apartheid era the countries were in close cooperation, when ANC's activity was forbidden in Swaziland. 

The ANC supporters were persecuted. Swaziland offered an easy way to bypass the international embargo imposed on South Africa.

The apartheid government of South Africa was ready to negotiate about handing over a Swazi populated region in the Kwa-Zulu bantustan as a reward of Swaziland's loyalty. Swaziland would have got access to sea if the border change would have happened, which in the end didn't.

4. Last African Absolute Monarchy 

Swaziland is one of the last seven absolute monarchies in the world and the last one in Africa. In absolute monarchy the monarch has absolute power among his or her people. 

In 1968 when Swaziland became independent it was a constitutional monarchy until 1973, when King Sobhuza II, who had reigned since 1921 repealed the constitution, dissolved the parliament, forbid the activity of political parties and returned many of the king's powers. 

The parliament had only advisory tasks after Swaziland became an absolute monarchy. King Sobhuza II died in 1982. The king's son was still under-aged so the Queen Regent Dzeliwe Shongwe ruled until 1984 but she was overthrown by Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala, who ruled until 1986. The current king Mswati III was crowned as king in 1986. 

In the 1990s several labour and student protests demanded for reforms. The demands for reforms culminated in a new constitution in 2005. The first parliament elections under the new constitution were in 2008 and the elected members serve a 5-year term. The second elections were in 2013.
King Mswati III
Map of the world's monarchies
5. Swazi Society

- Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in Africa 
- Swaziland's life expectancy 50 years is among lowest of the world 
- HIV/AIDS prevalence 26,5% of the population is the highest in the world (WHO, 2011) 
- About 90% of the imports come from South Africa 
- SiSwati the official language together with English in Swaziland 
- 83% of the population adheres to Christianity
- About 2/3 of the population live in poverty 


300s First evidence of agriculture and the use of iron
1000s People speaking languages ancestral to current Sotho and Nguni languages began settling
1700s The Swazi settlers moved to the region and established Kingdoms
1881 The British recognized the Swazi independence despite the Scramble for Africa
1894 Swaziland became a protectorate of the South African Republic aka Transvaal
1903 Swaziland became a British protectorate after the Second Anglo-Boer War
1968 Swaziland became independent as a part of the British Commonwealth 
1973 King Sobhuza II suspended the constitution, who ruled the country until his death
1982 King Sobhuza II died after 61 years of ruling the country
1986 Mswati III was crowned as king
1990s Student and labour protests pressuring the king to introduce reforms
2005 The current constitution was introduced
2011 Economic crisis due to reduced SACU receipts