Zanzibar, Tanzania

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The exotic-sounding island of Zanzibar lies off the coast of Tanzania. Travelers have ventured here for centuries - the ancient Egyptians were drawn to the island's rich supply of spices, which include cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. A former protectorate of the United Kingdom, Zanzibar has been a part of Tanzania since the union of 1964. Tanzania's name is, in fact, an amalgamation of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

The seemingly vast expanses of mainland Tanzania may have been the cradle of man. It was near Olduvai Gorge that Mary Leakey first discovered the human-like footprints of a four-million-year-old primate. Even today, mainland Tanzania remains relatively deserted - nearly a quarter of its territory is reserved for game parks. Little is known of the region's history before European contact. Home to more than 120 tribes, then-Tanganyika became a colony of German East Africa in 1884. Following World War I, control of the country passed to the British.

The people of Zanzibar are said to speak the purest Swahili in Africa, and the city of Zanzibar is home to the Swahili Institute.

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