Many cultures, including those of Persia, India, Portugal and African tribes, have left their mark on a group of Tanzanian islands called the Zanzibar Archipelago. The word Zanzibar originates from the Persian for ‘coast of the Blacks’ and the largest islands in the archipelago are Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The history of these islands is quite separate from mainland Tanzania and, although they lost their independence when incorporated into Tanganyika in 1964, the islanders maintain a degree of autonomy through electing a devolved government and president. Zanzibar is nicknamed the spice island and was the clove export capital of the world until the newly-formed Tanzanian government in the 1960s imposed socialist ideals. It currently meets 7% of the global clove demand; down from 75% in the early 60s. The major area of employment is now tourism.
The many cultures are reflected in the food available at the nightly market at Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town. Grilled octopi, chapattis, vegetable coconut curry, kebabs and grilled bananas are all sold alongside each other. The market is frequented by locals and tourists alike and is a social hub of the island.