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Zanzibar Land

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Zanzibar Land
Population 40,000 (1999)[1]
Area 450 km2[1]
Capital Zanzibar[1]
Government Republic[1]
Democratic military regime[2]
Head of state Big Boss
Political parties One-party rule by Zanzibar Land Party[1]
Languages English, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Uzbek, Vietnamese, French[1]
Ethnic groups 100 of every world race, including Caucasian, African, Ukrainian, Russian, Uzbek, German, Chinese and French (1999)[1]
Currency Zanje[1]
Defense expenditure 75% of GNP[1]
Products and resources Iron, Coal, Bauxite, Tungsten, Sugar beets, Flour, Oats, Potatoes, Maize, Super Mentha, Jijirium, Bizanium, Eltonium, Pegimin-H[1]
Arable land 24%[1]
Average life span Male 41.5 years (1999)[1]
Female 40.31 years (1999)[1]
Birth rate 20 per 1000 persons (1999)[1]
Death rate 35.8 per 1000 persons (1999)[1]
Description A landlocked nation surrounded by Pakistan, Russia, China, and Afghanistan.

Zanzibar Land, also spelled Zanzibarland, or simply Zanzibar, was a heavily fortified state in Central Asia, located between the former Soviet Union, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.[3]

The south of the country was mainly desert, while the north was comprised of steppe, mountains, and plateaus. The climate was arid, with a large temperature difference between daytime and nighttime. It was also composed of large quantities of forests with an abundance of species unique to Zanzibar Land. In addition, two traits of the people of Zanzibar Land are naivete and honesty.

Background Edit

The area was formerly Zanzibar Province, an autonomous zone of the USSR. Opposition to the old regime mounted in the early 1990s, after the secession of the Baltic states. The period of crisis inspired nationalism in the area's leaders, who proclaimed independence in 1997.[1]

Despite the intervention of major powers from both the Eastern and Western blocs, and possibly the CIS, the small tribal nation was able to win its sovereignty. Primary credit for the success was generally given to the mercenaries from around the world that participated in the war. Because of this, Zanzibar Land's war of independence was also known as the "Mercenary War," bringing back to global attention the profession of the gun for hire.

After the war, Zanzibar Land became a heavily fortified state. It soon began to invade nuclear disposal sites across the world, seizing those weapons that were still intact, and armed itself with nuclear weapons. It then began to invade its neighboring countries at will. With Metal Gear D and an army comprised of mercenaries, Zanzibar Land became one of the world's only nuclear powers at a time of disarmament and peace.[4]

In 1999, Solid Snake was sent to Zanzibar Land to retrieve a kidnapped biologist, during the Zanzibar Land Disturbance.[3] However, his mission ended up becoming a lot more complicated.

Following the apparent death of Big Boss, Zanzibar Land's army collapsed and the soldier state disintegrated.

Military resources (as of 1999) Edit

Personnel Edit

  • Big Boss (President)
  • 40,000 Zanzibar Land infantry troops (Note: in the month prior to Operation Intrude F014 personnel numbered around 30,000, indicating that there had been a 30% increase by the time of the operation.)
    • 24,000 guards (60% of Zanzibar Land troops) Note: they work in shifts, and are lightly armed compared to other troops because their primary concern is staying alert.
Big Boss (MG2)

Zanzibar Land's President, Big Boss

Gray Fox (MG2)

Gray Fox

Infantry gear Edit


  • Enfield L85A1. Standard-issue up to 1998.
  • Steyr AUG. Standard-issue 1999 onwards. Two ammo magazines are attached to the rifle to hasten reload time.
  • M68 shrapnel grenades. Rarely used due to the topography of the Zanzibar Land fortress, resulting in the use of close quarters combat only, but the soldiers carry them as a sort of "talisman."
  • Combat knife
  • Note: During the events of Operation Intrude F014, the importing, in-purchasing and development of weapons and gunpowder had increased by 30% going by comparisons between December's figures and figures from the month prior to Operation Intrude F014.
Zanzibar soldiers film

Zanzibar Land film reel.


  • Camouflage fatigues. Worn during normal duties, such as guarding). Brown woodland pattern, well suited for the highland, marshland, desert, and jungle areas of Zanzibar Land.
  • Red beret w/ Zanzibar Land emblem. Worn during normal duties.
  • Camouflaged helmet. Worn during real operations or when absolutely necessary. Made from a new aramid plastic fiber, which is eight times as sturdy as iron, and two times as nylon, per unit of weight.
  • Bulletproof vest. Like the helmet, it is only worn during real operations.
  • Combat boots
  • Balaclava[5]

Zanzibar Land soldiers preparing for combat.


  • Multi-protective goggles. Protects the eyes from UV light and dust, and includes a telescope, with magnification up to 60x. Can also be used as infra-red/night-vision goggles. A "nap prevention system" subjects the wearer to a subtle electric shock to the sides of the head, if the eyes remain closed for more than 0.04 seconds.
  • M18A2 gas mask. Voice emitter installed to enable audible speech. Filter lasts up to around seventy days. It is also water permeable, allowing the wearer to drink water with the mask on. This is mandatory fo soldiers when working in gassed areas, such as in the bio-research center.
  • Equipment harness
  • Pouch
  • Ammo case
  • Water bottle
  • Radio
  • Pocket-sized buzzer

Armed forces and military vehiclesEdit


Goliath Heavy Tank

Zanzibar Land Tactical ArmyEdit

Zanzibar Land Strategic Air ForceEdit


  • Transport trucks (approximately 30)

Military hardware under development Edit

ZL Special Task Force

Special Task Force

Zanzibar Land Tactical ArmyEdit

  • three Mechanized Infantry Divisions
  • three Special Task Force Divisions
    • 10 Metal Gear units per division
      • 7 nuclear-equipped Metal Gear D's and one infantry unit.
      • An Assistance Scout section comprising three Metal Gear G's and one commander.
      • three sub-units of infantrymen and one transport truck for supplies
      • three sub-units of infantrymen and one transport truck for caterers

Other weapons and equipmentEdit


See Zanzibar Fortress


  • Zanzibar Wood Owl: An owl native to Zanzibar Land. It was about 20 centimeters long and was found primarily in Central Asia. It laid white eggs every 2 to 7 days, with incubation carried out exclusively by the female. With genetic modifications, the eggs could hatch in a few days. Because the owl was nocturnal and always hoot right after sunset, people in Zanzibar Land used it to tell the time. It was often a subject of study at the Zanzibar Land biological research lab.

ZL animal egg.

  • Zanzibar Snake: A species of boa constrictor native to Zanzibar Land. While non-venomous and harmless, it was often considered a pest to soldiers as it had a taste for combat rations. It was often a subject of study at the Zanzibar Land biological research lab.
  • Zanzibar Hamster: A rodent native to Zanzibar Land belonging to the order Rodentia, family Cricetidae. Ranging from 25 to 28 centimeters, it was a highly venomous animal and a pest that often stole the soldiers' belongings to use as their nests. It was such a pest that soldiers often put out sulfuric acid in order to cull their numbers.[6][7] It was speculated to have descended from hamsters adapted to living around human dwellings. Their diet consisted mainly of cheese. Besides Zanzibar Land, the Zanzibar Hamster's habitat also extended from Western Europe to remote places such as Iraq and Serbia.[8]

National anthemEdit

The national anthem of Zanzibar Land was a military style patriotic musical composition. Whenever the anthem was broadcast, all soldiers in the vicinity would immediately cease all activity and stand at attention. It was often played within the central command room of the Zanzibar Building. The composition sounded vaguely similar to the English carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." In late 1999, a cassette tape containing a recording of the national anthem was held within a locker in Zanzibar Building's living quarters.

Unconfirmed historyEdit

The following information has been detailed in official Konami-licensed media, which were written by various external authors. Therefore, its status in the Metal Gear canon is unconfirmed.[?]

Zanzibar Land was originally known as Tselinoyarsk, the Soviet region in which Big Boss carried out Operation Snake Eater during the 1960s. In addition, the reason why Russia and the CIS were unwilling to let go of Zanzibar Land, then known as Tselinoyarsk and invaded it is because it was the only strategic border and religious cushion remaining separating Russia and the former Soviet states in Central Asia from various Muslim countries.[9]

Behind the scenesEdit

Zanzibar Land is the setting of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. In reality, the closest location meeting Zanzibar Land's description is Badakhshan, a Central Asian region between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. In the game's manual and introductory cutscene, Zanzibar Land is erroneously described as being in the Middle East,[1] although this was changed to Central Asia in later references of the country.[2] One of Zanzibar Land's natural resources is Pegimin-H, a fictional drug from the 1960s Japanese sci-fi show, Ultra Q.


ZL brooch.


The Zanzibar Land map as it appears in-game.

The Previous Operations section in Metal Gear Solid implies that Zanzibar Land's nuclear capability was unknown prior to Dr. Marv's kidnapping. The theft of nuclear weapons from various disposal sites is omitted from the summary.[2]

In the English version of Metal Gear Solid as well as its instruction manual, Zanzibar Land is erroneously referred to as simply Zanzibar, an unrelated region in Tanzania, East Africa. This was corrected in the 2004 remake The Twin Snakes.

In Gray Fox's trophy for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Zanzibar Land is mistakenly referred to as Zanzibar Island.

Zanzibar Land appeared in Versus Battle, where it fought against Mother Base.

Heavily Fortified Home of METAL GEAR D
A Central Asian manifestation of Big Boss’s vision of Outer Heaven, Zanzibar Land was a military nation state carved from the land and armed to the teeth
―Zanzibar Land in Versus Battle

Sources Edit

Notes and references Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - User's Manual, Konami Corporation (1990).
    Translated version courtesy of G&T Soft.
  2. ^ a b c Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Previous Operations > Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
    Just when the whole world's attention was drawn to OILIX and Dr. Marv, he was abducted by someone and disappeared. Nations began investigations immediately, and a name soon appeared... "Zanzibar Land." Zanzibar Land was a democratic military regime that suddenly appeared in Central Asia in 1997. [...] According to the latest information, Zanzibar supposedly was armed with nuclear weapons. The whole scenario was crystal clear. By obtaining OILIX in addition to nuclear weapons, Zanzibar Land was trying to establish its economic and military superiority over the entire world.
  3. ^ a b Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Konami Corporation (1990).
  4. ^ In Metal Gear 2, Zanzibar Land was originally intended to be the only remaining nuclear power in the world, as a result of its stealing from nuclear disposal sites. However, this development was retconned in Metal Gear Solid, when it was revealed that nuclear proliferation was still occurring in 2005. A major part of the game's plot involves the signing of START III.
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Kojima Productions (2008).
    During EVA's history lesson to Solid Snake in Act 3, an image pops up that shows Big Boss and several of his soldiers. The presence of Metal Gear D among them implies that they were from Zanzibar Land. Neither Metal Gear 2 nor its manual, however, stated or otherwise implied that they used balaclavas.
  6. ^ Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Konami Corporation (1990).
    This is stated in an optional radio conversation with Johan Jacobsen.
  7. ^ Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Konami Corporation (1990).
    The personnel's reasons for pouring sulfuric acid was stated by one of the Zanzibar Land children.
  8. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4 Database ("Zanzibar Hamster"), Kojima Productions (2008). [1]
  9. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (novelization), Itō Keikaku, (2008).
    When secession movements erupted in the Soviet republics of Central Asia, one territory remained crucial to the motherland as a religious cushion between the neighboring Muslim states, and the reformed Russian government wasn't about to let it go. As the Soviet military had invaded Afghanistan, the Russian armed forces were detached to the territory of Tselinoyarsk. Yet the child state, certainly no major military power, somehow prevailed in the conflict. According to rumor, one man had organized a mercenary army, supplied a torrent of arms, and provided training on the ground. The newly independent people named their country Zanzibar Land."

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