Kenya Facts

Kenya Facts and History


Kenya – the jewel of East Africa

Kenya – a wonderful country in East Africa.

The Swabian missionary Ludwig Krapf brought the Mombasa dialect Kiswahili into writing. In doing so, he created the basis for the rapid rise of Swahili to become the language of commerce and trade in East Africa. In addition to English, Swahili is still the official language in Kenya today.

Krapf’s translation of the Bible has also left its mark – around 70 percent of Kenyans are Christians today.

Kenya has now been able to free itself from the colonial influences of Europe. After the so-called Mau Mau uprising had led the insurgents to internment camps instead of freedom in the 1950s, Kenya gained independence from the British Crown in 1963. In the mid-1980s the political situation in Kenya became increasingly unstable. Up until the last few years there were repeated student unrest, which was motivated by repressive domestic politics. In addition, there were frequent ethnic conflicts.

Barack Hussein Obama Sr., the father of the 44th President of the USA, Barack Obama, comes from Alego, Kenya, from the Luos tribe. November 6th was declared a national holiday because of Obama’s election of President Mwai Kibaki.

Name of the country Republic of Kenya
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location East Africa
National anthem Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu
Head of state President Mwai Kibaki
Population approx. 50 million residents (Credit: Countryaah: Kenya Population)
Ethnicities Members of 42 African tribes, with the Kikuyu making up more than 20% of the population
Religions Natural religions, Christians and Muslims
Languages Swahili and English as well as over 30 other languages
Capital Nairobi
Surface 582,646 km²
Highest mountain Mount Kenya with an altitude of 5,199 m
Longest river Tana with a length of 710 km
Largest lake Lake Victoria with an area of 69,485 km², together with Uganda and Tanzania
International license plate EAK
National currency Kenyan shilling
Time difference to CET + 2 h
International phone code 00254
Voltage frequency 220/240 volts and 50 Hertz(Three-pin plugs are used. An adapter is therefore required.)
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .ke

Kenya: history

Until the 19th century

Since the birth of Christ, Nilotic and Bantu-speaking peoples have settled in what is now Kenya. Arab traders founded trading branches on the coast around the year 1000. These cities became extremely wealthy by 1300 and were part of an African-Arab culture.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, since the middle of the 15th century, the Portuguese increasingly ousted the Arab traders. In 1728 the Portuguese were expelled by the Arabs and from 1837 the “Sultan of Zanzibar” ruled the country. In 1885, at the Berlin Conference, the European powers divided East Africa among themselves. Ten years later the British expanded their influence to the “Protectorate of East Africa” and in 1920 Kenya became a British crown colony.

20th century until today

In the years 1951-1955 the Mau Mau uprising broke out, which led to Kenya becoming independent under Prime Minister Kenyatta in 1963. In 1964 the Republic of Kenya was founded. In 1969, Jomo Kenyatta, the hero of the struggle for independence, banned the country’s only opposition party. In 1978 Daniel Arap Moi became head of government.

From 1985 onwards there were several student unrest. The murder of Foreign Minister Ouko in 1990 with the presumed participation of Moi confidants and the arrest of critics of the regime led to financial sanctions from abroad in 1991. By then, Kenya had experienced continuous economic growth.

In 1992 tribal conflicts between the Kalenijn and Luo began with the Kikuyu. First elections with a multi-party system repeatedly led to a victory for Kanu.

While the domestic political climate was dominated by corruption scandals and ethnic conflicts, the economic situation deteriorated. There was serious student unrest in Nairobi. From 1993 onwards, the influx of refugees from the crisis areas, especially in Somalia, additionally burdened Kenya’s economy. In 1994 tribal conflicts broke out again. In 1995 there was an international criticism of the human rights violations in Kenya. Nevertheless, there were bloody clashes with students over the electoral system in 1997 and tribal fighting on the coast of Mombasa in 1998.

In December 2002 Mwai Kibaki was elected as the new president of the country with the promise of an early constitutional amendment. After the draft constitution, which aims to democratize the political situation, failed in parliament in July 2005, demonstrations and street battles broke out in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa. Kibaki belongs to the Kikuyu ethnic group, who make up more than a fifth of the population in Kenya.

In the election on December 27, 2007, he was allegedly re-elected president with a majority of just 200,000 votes against his rival Raila Odinga. The election result was officially announced by the chairman of the election commission on December 30th. According to all independent election observers, the “election” was a fake. And unrest promptly broke out that cost many lives and were brutally slaughtered by the President’s soldiers. In February 2008, the various ethnic groups used gun violence against one another. Almost the entire tourism industry collapsed within a few weeks.

But in April 2008 the two rivals came to a joint government, in which Kibaki became president and Odinga became head of government. The government cabinet consisted of a total of 40 ministers – the largest in Africa.

Kenya Facts