History

Kenya is a country with a very rich historical background. The inhabitants of Kenya today are almost all immigrants whose ancestors reached the country less than 10,000 years ago.

The first foreigners to arrive along the Kenyan Coast were the Arabs who came during the third and fourth century and settled at the Coast. There was trade of goods and culture which created a unique society where outside influence blended with the local culture. This culture became known as Swahili. To the North, the island town of Lamu remains a Swahili community unchanged by the outside world. There are no cars on the island and the most common mode of transport remains the donkey. Major attraction in this area is the Gedi ruins, an enigmatic puzzle to historians and archaeological sites. Gedi remains a mystery, and its ghostly ruins in the depths of the forest make for a fascinating morning and afternoon visit. 

The Arabs were later followed by the Portuguese, who built Fort Jesus in 1598 over the harbor in Mombasa (see picture above). This remains one of the major attractions in Mombasa town.

Kenya was declared a British Protectorate in 1895 and remained so until 1920 when it became a colony. During the early 20th century, the hinterland was penetrated by European settlers and Indian Traders and a railway line was constructed from Mombasa to the shores of Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile. Construction of the railway line began in 1896 but was later halted by man-eating lions in 1899, creating one of Africa's best known stories “The Man-eaters of Tsavo”. 

Kenya gained independence in 1963 and is today a multi-party democracy. The country has a rich variety of exciting and vibrant modern arts, music, theater and dance, alongside proud displays of traditional arts and culture. 

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