Capital : Nairobi
Central, Coast, Eastern, Western, North Eastern, Baringo, Busia, Elgeyo-Malakwet, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kakamega, Kericho, Kilifi, Kisri, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Meru, Marsabit, Nandi, Mandrea, Machakos, Trans-Nzoia, Wajir, Nakuru, Narok, Nyanza, Taita, Samburu, Siaya, West Pokot, Turkana, Uasin
Size: 224 000 sq m Popn: 26 985 000
Humans lived in the area at least 5 million years ago and African tribal groups inhabited it when the coast was settled by the Arabs in the C8th AD. Before Europeans arrived, the highlands were inhabited by small farming communities and the coast, heavily influenced by Arab and Persian traders, was under the authority of the Sultan of Zanzibar. It came under Portuguese rule from the 15th - C18th and became a British protectorate in 1895. From 1920-64 it was a British colony and land was taken from local people to give to settlers.
In 1929 Jomo Kenyatta (Kamau Ngngi) was sent to England by the Kikuyu Central Association (the largest ethnic group) to campaign for Kikuyu rights. The Kenya African Union was founded in 1944 and Kenyatta became its president in 1947. Pressure for political reform was ignored and by 1947 the Mau-Mau guerrilla movement became active leading to full insurrection by 1952. The Mau-Mau had the same aims as the KAU but was prepared to use violent means to achieve them. Kenyatta disassociated himself from it but was imprisoned by the British authorities in 1953.
After a steady stream of concessions, Kenyatta was released from prison in `1956. Kenya was given internal self-government in 1963 with Kenyatta, who had become the leader of the Kenya African National Union as Prime Minister in 1963 and President of the Republic after full independence was gained in 1964. Some stability was gained although violent protests continued until his death in 1978 when President Moi's more liberal regime took over. The radical socialists remained active even then and a coup by junior air force officers was put down in 1982 leading to press censorship, political detention, the disbanding of the air force and temporary closure of Nairobi University. The national assembly declared a one-party state, re-electing Moi in 1983 and 1988. In 1989, he released political detainees and declared war on poachers of ivory after the deaths of several tourists on safari.
In 1990, widespread unrest led to demands for a mulit-party system which were refused by the government but despite this, former vice-president Oginga Odinga founded an oppostion group, the National Democratic Party in February 1991. In December, President Moi gave in and announced that political parties could be introduced. Proposals for constituional change were announced in 1992 and Moi began to try to reform the corrupt and inefficient public services although his regime continued to be criticized for a poor human rights record.
Ethnic groups are Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kamba, Kalenjin and Masai with English and Swahili being the official languages and Christianity, Islam and traditional beliefs the religions.
Many Kenyans have an English or Christian first name.
|Chiumbo 'small miracle'||Thabiti|
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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