The archipelago extends a few degrees south of the equator and has a tropical and monsoon climate. The trade winds blow from the northeast in the period from December to March and from the southeast from May to October.
There are two rainy seasons; The first (locally called mwaka) lasts from mid-March to May where there are very intense rainfall.
The second season, between October and December (sometimes until January) is dominated by monsoons from the north locally called kasikazi and is less intense.
The hottest months are between December and March with temperatures between 32°C and 24°C (89.6–75.2°F).
The coldest months are between June and August with temperatures between 29°C and 18°C (84.2°F-64.4°F)
The archipelago was inhabited since prehistoric times by the Bantu population who had organized themselves into agricultural communities.
Towards the end of the first millennium, the strong Arab and Persian influence began and they used Zanzibar as an important point in their vast commercial network. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, the Portuguese landed in Zanzibar and began to raid African coastal cities repeatedly.
By imposing themselves militarily on the island, they caused a decline in the commercial system and in the Swahili society. It became, in 1698, an Oman Sultanate and regained importance in the commercial role especially for spices and ivory and shortly thereafter for slaves.
In 1840 the capital of the sultanate was moved from Oman to Stone Town. An internal struggle in 1861 led Oman to separate from what became the sultanate of Zanzibar.
Over the years, the influence of the British was becoming stronger and stronger, so much so that, in 1890, the treaty of Heligoland-Zanzibar, gave the British full control over Zanzibar making it a British protectorate. The sultan of Zanzibar remained in charge, but he had to answer to the Viziers (British advisers) for anything. During this period, it was the British who imposed the end of slavery.
Zanzibar remained under British control until 1963, when the decolonization process began. The sultan had total independence and the archipelago became a constitutional monarchy.
The Zanzibar revolution of the following year ended the sultanate and sanctioned union with Tanganyika and, on 29 October 1964 they became the United Republic of Tanzania. The relationship between Zanzibar and the rest of the country, however, was and has always been difficult and contrasted.
Its economy is still based today on the production of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and ginger and on the export of seaweed and coconut.
In 1974 Zanzibar was the first African country to introduce color television. Today the economy also relies heavily on tourism.
The fauna of Zanzibar is closely linked to that of the continent. The best known endemic species is the Zanzibar red colobus (procolobus kirkii), which is one of the rarest primates.
The Zanzibar leopard is an endemic animal of the archipelago that was thought to be extinct until, in 2017, a specimen was spotted arising the hope that they still live in some remote corner of the island. You can still spot specimens of Zanzibar servaline genet.
Different species of monkeys, wild boars, owls, mongooses and small antelopes still live in the forests. Turtles choose its beaches for breeding and mainly the conservation area of Menai Bay.
Numerous are the butterflies that fly on the island accompanied by a large number of birds.
Le isole dell'arcipelago sono generalmente collinose, senza grandi rilievi. Un tempo coperte da foresta pluviale, che, nel corso dei secoli sono state quasi completamente deforestate a favore di terreno agricolo.
Tratti di foresta originaria di dimensioni significative si trovano solo nelle tre aree naturali protette principali: la foresta di Jozani a Unguja e le foreste di Ngezi e Msitu Mkuu a Pemba
The islands of the archipelago are generally hilly, without great reliefs.
Once covered by rainforest, over the centuries it has been almost completely deforested in favor of agricultural land.
Sections of original forest of significant size are found only in the three main protected natural areas: the Jozani forest in Unguja and the forests of Ngezi and Msitu Mkuu in Pemba.