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About Kenya

Kenya

Kenya

This East African country’s history goes as far as the 1st Century AD, when the Kenyan coast was frequented by Arab traders, who due to its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, established Arab and Persian colonies there. The Nilotic and Bantu people also migrated into the region during the first millennium AD and settled inland.

When the Portuguese arrived in 1498, the Arab dominance on the coast was stopped, as the Port of Mombasa became a major re-supply stop for Portuguese ships headed to its colonies in South Asia & the Far East. Thanks to the Sultan of Oman, the Portuguese withdrew from Kenya and its coastline was controlled by the Arabs again in the 1600s. Islamic control of the country’s coast continued until the late 19th century, when, after the Berlin Conference of 1884, the British assumed control over Kenya (both its coast and inland) immediately afterwards. Kenya was formally declared a British protectorate in 1895, which started the first wave of British colonists in the country. During the early 20th century, the country’s population was diversified by the arrival of thousands of Indians to work on building the Kenya Uganda Railway Line and subsequently settled there (whilst inviting many of their relatives, who were mainly traders, to join them).

By the 1940s, a local political movement (the Mau Mau) emerged to challenge British rule. When the country achieved independence from Britain in 1963, Mau Mau leader Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first president. Since then, Kenya has gone through political ups and downs, including one-party rule in the 1980s (under Daniel arap Moi), and multi-party elections in 1992. Meanwhile, the country’s economy has become one of the most developed in Africa (market-based with a few state-owned infrastructure entities, and a liberalized external trade system).

63% of Kenya’s GDP comes from the services sector, which includes tourism. Tourists, including those from Germany and the UK, are attracted to the country’s beaches, as well as eco-tourism sites, such as Tsavo East (and West) National Parks. The country also has sites that made the World Heritage List such as Fort Jesus Mombasa and Lamu Old Town.