Zanzibar | The Spice Island

Zanzibar | The Spice Island

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A brief History of Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Tanzania. It consists of a few islands of which the two biggest are Unguja – often referred to as Zanzibar – and Pemba. The original inhabitants of Zanzibar were coming from the mainland of Tanganyika, now known as Tanzania. At the beginning of the 10th century the Omanis, Yemenis and Persians began to colonize the East coast of Africa, including Zanzibar. Islam was introduced and until today this is the prominent religion of the archipelago.

Because of its convenient location Zanzibar became an important trading place between the Middle East, India and Africa. In the 15th century the Portuguese conquered Zanzibar but in the 16th century they lost control of Zanzibar to the Omanis. At the beginning of the 20th Zanzibar was colonized by the British and the Germans. In 1963 Zanzibar received it’s independence and in 1964 the Republic of Zanzibar merged with the mainland Tanganyika and the United Republic of Tanzania was formed.

Ingredients of Zanzibar

The food culture of Zanzibar reflects the culture of Africa, the Middle East and India. The original inhabitants of Zanzibar were mostly fisherman. Seafood such as tuna, lobster, squid and octopus are still popular products today. Other traditional ingredients are beans, sweet potatoes, yam and plantain. The traders from the Middle East introduced most of the spices to Zanzibar, which is also referred to as the spice island. The most important spices are cloves, but also nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, turmeric and vanilla grow well on the islands. Some of the dishes the Indians brought include the popular biryani rice, masala, chutney, curries and samosas.