Is Zanzibar an island or an archipelago? Turns out it’s both – there’s an island called Zanzibar in the archipelago of the same name. This Tanzanian territory is considered something of a natural marvel, and while it may seem far-flung to many people, it’s an idyllic spot that millions have on their travel bucket list. Let’s take a deeper look at some fun facts about Zanzibar worth digging deeper into.
1. What is Zanzibar?
2. It’s actually pretty small.
In total, Zanzibar covers an area of about 2,461 km2 (which is roughly 650 square miles). That makes it smaller than California! But don’t let that fool you. Although the area may be small, there are still plenty of islands and waterscapes to discover!
3. It’s home to thousands.
As of 2022, there were about 766,392 people living in Zanzibar. And, just so you know, people from Zanzibar are known as Zanzibaris!
4. People have been living here for millennia.
As small as it may seem, Zanzibar actually has a very rich and ancient history! In fact, it is believed that it has been home to humans for about 20,000 years! We have deduced this thanks to the findings of tools such as spear points from the Later Stone Age, which were discovered in the area.
5. Names, names…
Although we commonly use the name Zanzibar to refer to the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago and its 46 surrounding islands, that isn’t factually correct. The main island is actually called Unguja, and the second largest island is Pemba.
6. Capital facts!
If you ever have difficulty remembering world capitals, you’ll be glad to know that Zanzibar’s capital is a walk in the park to remember. The capital of Zanzibar is simply Zanzibar City!
7. UNESCO loves Zanzibar.
If you are interested in ancient human history, stunning landscapes, and island culture, then you might want to head straight for Zanzibar! The Stone Town of Zanzibar was named a World Heritage Site back in the year 2000.
8. It has an important place in trade history.
Zanzibar was once a bustling trading hub. It supplied gold, slaves, ivory, and wood to countries such as India. It also commonly imported spices, glassware, and textiles.
9. What do people speak in Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is rich in diverse languages! The main language spoken in the area is Swahili. However, Arabic is also widely spoken and written – so, if you ever head over here, it is wise to learn at least a few phrases to get by!
10. The shortest war in history?
Zanzibar is somewhat famous for having endured the world’s shortest war ever! The Anglo-Zanzibar War took less than one hour to complete. The self-declared King Khaliid was defeated, and, with British support, Hamud ibn Mohammed became sultan.
11. Is it truly independent?
In December 1962, Zanzibar finally regained its independence. However, victory was short-lived as only a month later; the Arab ruling elite was overthrown by an African majority during a revolution.
In April 1964, Zanzibar’s established republic merged with Tanganyika. Zanzibar remains to this day a semi-autonomous region.
FAQs about Zanzibar
In which country is Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is technically a part of Tanzania. It remains a semi-autonomous state that’s technically an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, though many people use the name to refer to the main island.
Is Zanzibar good for tourists?
Zanzibar is a generally safe place to travel and is a beautiful place for tourists to visit. That being said, it is best to not leave your luggage unattended, and it is always best to travel with someone else and have a trusted guide show you around!
Why is Zanzibar so famous?
Zanzibar is known for many things, although it is particularly well-known for being a spectacular spice island! This is due to its farming and processing of spices such as turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, lemongrass, nutmeg, black pepper, and more!
Do you know any fun facts about Zanzibar? Share them in the comments below!