map of Kenya locator map of Kenya


Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a sovereign state in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa. Kenya lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to the south-east, it shares border with Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa.

The earliest inhabitants of Kenya were hunter-gatherers but from about 2,000 BC herders came to the region. Then from about 800 AD Arabs sailed to Kenya. Some settled and intermarried and they created the Swahili culture along the coast.

The first European to reach Kenya was in 1498. Subsequently the Portuguese dominated the coast of Kenya for 2 centuries. However they did not penetrate inland. Still the Portuguese brought new crops to Kenya, maize and cassava.

Then in the late 19th century Kenya came under British control. At first Kenya was administered by the Imperial British East Africa Company, which was formed in 1887. However in 1895 the British government took responsibility for Kenya. In the early 20th century while settlers flocked into Kenya taking the best land and the natives were forced onto reservations. Indians also came to Kenya and formed a middle class or traders.

In 1961 an African political party Kenya African National Union was formed and in May 1963 KANU won a majority of seats in the Kenyan assembly. Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963.