The name Zanzibar is of Persian and Arabic source. The Persians originate the name from Zangh Bar which means the Negro Coast. The Arabs derive Zanzibar from the Arabic Zayn Z’al Barr which means Fair is this Land.
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The main language is Kiswahili. Even if you only speak a few words you will make many friends in Zanzibar. English is also widely spoken and many residents also speak Arabic. French and Italian are also spoken by some locals especially in the tourist areas.
Zanzibar has drawn merchants, adventurers, plunderers and explorers for centuries. The The Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English have all claimed Zanzibar at one time or another. The Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs stayed to rule. Because of this influence Zanzibar is mainly Islamic.
The island was, at one point, the wealthiest country in Africa. The spices Zanzibar is famous for were sought after by the rest of the world. This along with the slave trade increased Zanzibar’s wealth considerably. Furthermore, Zanzibar was one of the most important ports in Africa.