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Title: Unguja  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Zanzibar, Tanzania, History of Zanzibar, Geography of Tanzania, Sultanate of Zanzibar
Collection: Islands of the Indian Ocean, Islands of Zanzibar, Zanzibar Archipelago
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Unguja is located in Tanzania
Location in Tanzania
Archipelago Zanzibar Archipelago
Area 1,666 km2 (643 sq mi)
Length 85 km (52.8 mi)
Width 30 km (19 mi)
Highest elevation 195 m (640 ft)
Highest point Unnamed point in the Koani chain
Region Zanzibar
Population 896,721 (as of 2012)

Unguja (also referred to as Zanzibar Island or simply Zanzibar, in Ancient Greek Menuthias, Μενουθιάς - as mentioned in The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, in Greek: Περίπλους τὴς Ἐρυθράς Θαλάσσης -) is the largest and most populated island of the Zanzibar archipelago, in Tanzania.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Politics 3
  • Population 4
  • Economy 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



Unguja is a hilly island, about 85 kilometres (53 mi) long (north-south) and 30 kilometres (19 mi) wide (east-west) at its widest, with an overall area of about 1,666 square kilometres (643 sq mi).[1] It is located in the southern half of the Zanzibar Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, about 59 kilometres (37 mi) south of the second largest island of the archipelago, Pemba. Unguja and mainland Tanzania are separated by the Zanzibar Channel.

Unguja is surrounded by a number of smaller islands and islets, with only two of them, Tumbatu and Uzi, being inhabited. Other minor islands around Unguja include Bawe, Chapwani, Changuu, Chumbe, Kizingo, Kwale, Latham, Mautani, Miwi, Mnemba, Mwana wa Mwana, Nianembe, Popo, Pungume, and Ukanga.


Unguja and the surrounding islands are divided in three regions: Zanzibar Central/South (capital: Koani), Zanzibar North (capital: Mkokotoni), Zanzibar Urban/West (capital: Zanzibar City). Unguja belongs to Zanzibar, which is defined by the Tanzanian Constitution as "a part" of Tanzania with a high degree of autonomy. The local Zanzibari government is based in Stone Town, on the west coast of Unguja.


As of the 2012 census, the total population of Unguja was 896,721, mostly concentrated in the Zanzibar urban region.[2] The main settlement on the island is Zanzibar City, which serves as a capital for Zanzibar and which includes the renowned historical city of Stone Town as well as other populated areas such as Michenzani. Other major settlements on Unguja include Mbweni, Mangapwani, Chwaka, and Nungwi.

People of Unguja mostly speak kiunguja ("the language of Unguja"), which is the dialect of the Swahili language that was used as the main model for the definition of standard Swahili.[3]


Unguja is the island of the Zanzibar Archipelago that has the most developed tourism industry. This accounts for a substantial part of Unguja's economy. Agriculture (including the production of spices such as cloves) and fishing are other relevant activities. All along the east coast, most villages also rely on seaweed farming.


  1. ^ Zanzibar (2007). Zanzibar strategy for growth and reduction of poverty (ZSGRP). Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. p. 2. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Population Distribution by Administrative Units, United Republic of Tanzania, 2013, page 2
  3. ^ Kiunguja

External links

  • Population Growth 1988-2002
  • Population Density 2002
  • Zanzibar Island / Unguja & Hotels A travel guide website containing pictures and information about Unguja as well as a selection of Zanzibar Hotels.
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