History of Kenya

From Academic Kids


Brief History of Kenya

Fossils found in East Africa suggest that protohumans roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Lake Turkana indicate that hominins like Australopithecus anamensis lived in the area which is now Kenya from around 4.1 million years ago. More recently, discoveries in the Tugen Hills dated to approximately 6 million years ago precipitated the creation of a new species, Orrorin tugenensis.

Cushitic-speaking people from northern Africa moved into the area that is now Kenya beginning around 2000 BC. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the first century A.D. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the eighth century. During the first millennium A.D., Nilotic and Bantu peoples moved into the region, and the latter now comprises three-quarters of Kenya's population.

Swahili, a Bantu language with many Arabic loan words, developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. Arab dominance on the coast was eclipsed by the arrival in the 16th century of the Portuguese, whose domination gave way in turn to that of Oman in 1698. The United Kingdom established its influence in the 19th century.

The colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar's coastal possessions in 1885, followed by the arrival of the British East Africa Company in 1888. Incipient imperial rivalry was forestalled when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890.

In 1895, the British government established the East African Protectorate, subsequently opening (1902) the fertile highlands to white settlers. The Uganda Railway was built with British money. The settlers were allowed a voice in government even before it was officially made a Crown colony in 1920, but Africans were excluded from direct political participation until 1944.

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule. African participation in the political process developed rapidly during the latter part of the period as British policy-makers sought to isolate the insurgents and their supporters. The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957.

Despite British hopes of handing power to more "moderate" African rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta, a member of the large Kĩkũyũ tribe and former prisoner under the emergency, which formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on December 12, 1963. A year later, Kenyatta became Kenya's first president on the establishment of a republic.

The minority party, the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), representing a coalition of small tribes that had feared dominance by larger ones, dissolved itself voluntarily in 1964 and joined KANU.

A small but significant leftist opposition party, the Kenya People's Union (KPU), was formed in 1966, led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former vice president and Luo elder. The KPU was banned and its leader detained after political unrest related to Kenyatta's visit to Nyanza Province. No new opposition parties were formed after 1969, and KANU became the sole political party.

At Kenyatta's death (August 22, 1978), Vice President Daniel arap Moi became interim President. On October 14, Moi became President formally after he was elected head of KANU and designated its sole nominee.

In June 1982, the National Assembly amended the constitution, making Kenya officially a one-party state, but in December 1991, parliament repealed the one-party section of the constitution. Multiparty elections in December 1992, gave the President's KANU Party a majority of seats, and Moi was re-elected for another five-year term, although opposition parties won about 45% of the parliamentary seats.

Further liberalisation in November 1997 allowed the expansion of political parties from 11 to 26. President Moi won re-election as President in the December 1997 elections, and his KANU Party narrowly retained its parliamentary majority.

Constitutionally barred from running in the December 2002 presidential elections, Moi unsuccessfully promoted Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first President, as his successor. A rainbow coalition of opposition parties routed the ruling KANU party, and its leader, Moi's former vice-president Mwai Kibaki, was elected President by a large majority.

The Stone age

Bantu and Nilotes Migrations

The Zenj States and the Portuguese

The Omani Dynasty

1846 August 25th Dr. Ludwig Krapf, a German and missionary of the Church Missionary Society of England, establishes the first Christian Mission of Kenya among the Mijikenda on the coast. He later translated the Bible to Kiswahili

British Colonial Rule

British Suzerainty

  • 1873 to 1886 The British consul John Kirk (1832-1922), advised Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar to raise an army and annex most of eastern Kenya and Tanzania. Refusing this advice, the sultan was helpless in the face of European territorial imperialism. German imperialists led the way, and their claims were upheld at the Congress of Berlin.
  • 1886 the British recognized the German sphere of influence over coastal Tanganyika (part of present-day Tanzania), retaining the Kenya area for themselves.
  • 1887 Sir William Mackinnon and the British East Africa Association received concessionary rights to the Kenya coast from the Sultan of Zanzibar for a 50-year period.
  • 1888 The association was given a royal charter as the Imperial British East Africa Company
  • 1890 Further territorial division took place. Waiyaki Wa Hinga, a Kikuyu chief who ruled Dagoretti, signed a treaty with Fredrick Lugard of the Imperial British East Africa Company. Lugard settled in Dagoretti and began harassing the Kikuyu for their women and food. In defiance to his demands they burnt down Lugard's fortress. In 1892, the British administration kidnapped Hinga and buried him alive along the coast of Kenya.
  • 1895 Severe financial difficulties soon led to its takeover by the British government, which established the East Africa Protectorate

British East Africa Protectorate

  • 1st July 1895 Kenya declared a British protectorate.
  • 18951901 A railroad was built from Mombasa to Kisumu on Lake Victoria in order to facilitate trade with the interior and with Uganda. Koitalel Arap Samoei, a diviner and Nandi leader prophesied that a black snake would tear through Nandi land spitting fire, which was seen later as the railway line. For ten years he fought against the builders of the railway line and train. Later, determined to continue the railway line, the British created a trap and killed Samoei.
  • 1896 The British Foreign Office assumed direct control.
  • 1896-1897 The British sends military expeditions against the Kikuyu and the Kamba to assert authority. Mekatilili Wa Menza resisted British attempts to eradicate Giriama traditional culture through the destruction of kaya, sacred forest shrines and places of worship. She led the Giriama people into a rebellion against the British. Mekatilili was later captured and exiled to Western Kenya.
  • 1902 White settlement encouraged in the central highlands and Indian railroad workers turned merchants moved inland from the coast.
  • 1907 Legislative Council (Legco) established comprising mainly of European settlers.
  • 1909 The National Museums of Kenya founded
  • 1914 The 1,000 European landholders meet with significant African armed resistance.

Kenya Colony and Protectorate

  • 1920 The territory was renamed and its administration changed, the interior became Kenya Colony and a coastal strip (16 km wide) was constituted the Protectorate of Kenya.
  • 1920 African political activity begins to organise particularly amongst the Kikuyu in Nairobi, and the Luo.
  • 1921 The first African political protest movement in Kenya against the government began by the Young Kikuyu Association, led by Harry Thuku.
  • 1925 Local native councils introduced.
  • 1940s White settler farmers achieve considerable prosperity.
  • 1944 The Kenya African Union (KAU), an African nationalist organisation formed, demanding access to white-owned land. The first African is included in Legislative Council (Legco) of an East African territory.
  • 1947 Jomo Kenyatta becomes President of KAU.

List of Governers

The Mau Mau Uprising


External link

fr:Histoire du Kenya


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools