"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The blog at 103 countries--Africa again

About the time I think this blog has reached its limit geographically, readers from a different countries hit on it, and that happened twice this week, both from Africa. Earlier this week, someone from Ethiopia did so, and then yesterday, someone in Ethiopia's southern neighbor, Tanzania, scanned these posts, marking the 14th African nation to be counted.
Considering that there are about 196 "countries" in the world, with 192 as members of the UN, I'm fascinated. There's another blog post coming on the world's countries.
When I was growing up, the main part  of Tanzania was called Tanganyika, and an  island off the coast carried the exotic name of Zanzibar. With the gradual elimination of colonization in the 1960s, the two countries emerged from British control to become Tanzania in 1964, combining their names. Its flag is a combination of the two flags.
As with most African countries, the area lost independence to European countries. Imperial Germany conquered it to make it German East Africa along with Rwanda and Burundi, but after WWI, it became a British mandate from the League of Nations. British rule ended in 1961. Before the Europeans, under a sultan's control, it was the center for the Arab slave trade, with more than half the population sold into slavery in the 1800s. 
But Tanzania is better known for two facts. It is the home of Africa's highest mountain, the volcanic Kilimanjaro, at  19,341 feet--which makes it the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
It is quite possibly the birthplace of mankind, according to fossil discoveries in Olduvai Gorge, where pre-human ancestors lived about 2 million years ago, and homo sapiens has been dated there to 17,000 years ago. The people are not primitive--about 2,000 years ago, they invented a type of steel from a blast furnace
Today the country has a population of more than 43 million, with 80 percent rural, and more than half under 15 years of age. It, like Nebraska, has a unicameral legislature,  with 343 members. Interesting to me is that it has a five-level judiciary combining tribal, Islamic and English common law...proving they can work together, in spite of Americans', and some Oklahoma legislators', fears of Sharia law.
The flag--green for natural vegetation, yellow for rich minerals, black, the skin col, and blue the lakes, rivers and Indian Ocean.
As with all of these visitors from far away, I'd sure like to know more...so many stories. So much imagination. I so wish I could see Kilimanjaro, and Olduvai, and say I'd been to Zanzibar. Wouldn't you? Thanks reader.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a Brazil - but I'm sure you've already go that one in the bag.

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