Republic Of Kenya

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Democratic Republic of Kenya

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Overview

Republic of KenyaSituated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya has been described as “the cradle of humanity”.

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a sovereign state in East Africa. The capital and largest city is Nairobi. Kenya lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to the south-east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya covers 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi) and has a population of about 44 million in July 2012. The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa.

The country has a warm and humid climate along its Indian Ocean coastline, with wildlife-rich savannah grasslands inland towards the capital. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder approaching Mount Kenya, which has three permanently snow-capped peaks. Further inland there is a warm and humid climate around Lake Victoria, and temperate forested and hilly areas in the western region. The northeastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest fresh-water lake and the world’s largest tropical lake, is situated to the southwest and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya is famous for its safaris and diverse wildlife reserves and national parks such as the East and West Tsavo National Park, the Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park, and Aberdares National Park. There are several world heritage sites such as Lamu, and world renowned beaches such as Kilifi where international yachting competitions are held each year.

The African Great Lakes region, of which Kenya is a part, has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic period. The Bantu expansion reached the area from West-Central Africa by the first millennium AD, and the borders of the modern state comprise the crossroads of the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic ethno-linguistic areas of the continent, making Kenya a multi-cultural country. European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period, but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, known from 1920 as the Kenya Colony. The Republic of Kenya became independent in December 1963. Following a referendum in August 2010 and adoption of a new constitution, Kenya is now divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties, governed by elected governors.

Kenya has considerable land area devoted to wildlife habitats, including the Masai Mara, where Blue Wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 blue wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. The “Big Five” animals of Africa can be found in Kenya and in the Masai Mara in particular: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. The annual animal migration especially migration of the wildebeest– occurs between June and September with millions of animals taking part. Kenya is the setting for one of the Natural Wonders of the World the great wildebeest migration. 11.5 million of these ungulates migrate a distance of 1,800 miles from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya, in a constant clockwise fashion, searching for food and water supplies.

The Situation
  • c 3.3 million BC – Evidence of some of the earliest human tools have been found in Kenya, suggesting that it was the cradle of humanity from which descendants moved out to populate the world.
  • 1895 – Formation of British East African Protectorate, which becomes crown colony of Kenya – administered by a British governor – in 1920.
  • 1944 – Kenyan African Union (KAU) formed to campaign for African independence. First African appointment to legislative council.
  • 1963 – Kenya gains independence. Opposition groups are stifled and the country survives ethnic tensions and a coup attempt. Multiparty elections are allowed in 1991.
  • 1998 – Al-Qaeda operatives bomb the US embassy in Nairobi, killing 224 people and injuring thousands.
  • 2007 – Disputed general elections are followed by deadly violence.
  • 2009 – Kenya says that at least 10 million people, or one third of the population, are in need of food aid. The government mobilises the military to distribute food, water and medicines to areas hit hardest by drought.
  • 2011 – Kenya intervenes in conflict in Somalia and subsequently suffers several apparent reprisal attacks, including the 2013 massacre at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi and the 2015 attack on Garissa University College in the northwest.
  • 2017 – General elections were held in Kenya on 8 August 2017 to elect the President, members of Parliament and devolved governments.  The reported results indicated that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected with 54% of the vote. His main opponent, Raila Odinga, refused to accept the results and contested them in the Supreme Court.The results of the presidential election were subsequently annulled and fresh elections were ordered to be held within 60 days.  It was later announced that a new election would be held on October 17. However, the results of the parliamentary and local elections remained valid. The date for the presidential election was later changed to 26 October 2017. Despite the ruling for a new Presidential election, Odinga later announced his decision to withdraw from the repeat election on October 10.
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Fun Trivia Facts

The Republic of Kenya
Capital: Nairobi

  • Population: 48.5 million
  • Area: 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Swahili, English
  • Major religion: Christianity and Islam
  • Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 69 years (women)
  • Currency: Kenya shilling