The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to India. By 1506, the Portuguese claimed control over the entire coast. This control was nominal, however, because the Portuguese did not colonize the area or explore the interior. Assisted by Omani Arabs, the indigenous coastal dwellers succeeded in driving the Portuguese from the area north of the Ruvuma River by the early 18th Century. They then claimed the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said (l804-56) moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1841.
European exploration of the interior began in the mid-19th Century. Two German missionaries reached Mt. Kilimanjaro in the 1840s. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the interior to Lake Tanganyika in 1857. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary-explorer who crusaded against the slave trade, established his last mission at Ujiji, where he was "found" by Henry Morton Stanley, an American journalist-explorer, who had been commissioned by the New York Herald to locate him.
Domestic stability has not translated into economic prosperity for Tanzanians, however. Many of its people live below the World Bank poverty line, although the country has had some success in wooing donors and investors.
Tanzania is home to two renowned tourism destinations - Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and wildlife-rich national parks such as the Serengeti.