The region of Africa known as the Republic of Tanzania since 1964 was a former British colony during the years prior to independence, but it was first colonized by Portugal in the early 16th century. Portugal lost control of the region to Oman in 1699. The region came under control of Imperial Germany during the late 19th century, but later became a British Mandate as part of the accords drawn up at the end of World War I by the League of Nations.
As a British colony in the years following Word War I, the area that was formerly known as part of German East Africa was called Tanganyika. British rule ended on December 9, 1961. In April 1964, Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar, an archipelago country comprised of two islands close to its Indian Ocean coast. The new nation was officially renamed the Republic of Tanzania on October 29, 1964.
The 365,756-square-mile East African nation has a wide variety of topographical features including Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain peak in Africa. Although its government was originally based on the Chinese Socialist model, Tanzania began multiparty elections in the 1990s and also saw the beginning of direct foreign investment in tourism and gold. Home to a population of more than an estimated 47 million according to Tanzania's National Bureau of Statistics in 2014, the nation's capital is Dodoma and the official language is Swahili.