From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the commune in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, see Kenya, Lubumbashi.
|Republic of Kenya
Jamhuri ya Kenya (Swahili)
|Motto: "Harambee" (Swahili)
"Let us all pull together"
|Anthem: Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu
O God of all creation
and largest city
|Ethnic groups (2012)|
|-||Deputy President||William Samoei Ruto|
|-||Lower house||National Assembly|
|-||from the United Kingdom with respect to the Colony of Kenya and the Sultan of Zanzibar with respect to the Protectorate of Kenya||12 December 1963|
|-||Republic declared||12 December 1964|
|-||Total||581,309 km2 (49th)
224,080 sq mi
|-||2014 estimate||45,010,056 (31st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2015 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
medium · 48th
|HDI (2013)|| 0.535
low · 147th
|Currency||Kenyan shilling (KES)|
|Time zone||EAT (UTC+3)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yy (AD)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||KE|
| According to the CIA, estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of mortality because of AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex, than would otherwise be expected.|
Kenya has a warm and humid tropical climate on its Indian Ocean coastline. The climate is cooler in the savannah grasslands around the capital city, Nairobi, and especially closer to Mount Kenya, which has snow permanently on its peaks. Further inland, in the Nyanza region, there is a hot and dry climate which becomes humid around Lake Victoria, the largest tropical fresh-water lake in the world. This gives way to temperate and forested hilly areas in the neighboring Western region. The North-Eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. Kenya is traditionally famous for its safaris, diverse climate and geography, and expansive 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. Kenya has several world heritage sites such as Lamu and numerous world-famous beaches including in Diani, Bamburi and Kilifi where international yachting competitions are held every year.
The African Great Lakes region, which Kenya is a part of, has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic period. By the first millennium AD, the Bantu expansion had reached the area from West-Central Africa. The borders of the modern state consequently comprise the crossroads of the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic areas of the continent, representing most major ethnolinguistic groups found in Africa. Bantu and Nilotic populations together constitute around 97% of the nation's residents. European and Arab presence in coastal Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period; European exploration of the interior began in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, which starting in 1920 gave way to the Kenya Colony. Kenya obtained independence 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.
The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in Southeast and Central Africa. Agriculture is a major employer; the country traditionally exports tea and coffee and has more recently begun to export fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is also a major economic driver. Additionally, Kenya is a member of the East African Community trading bloc.
Further information: Names on Mount KenyaThe word Kenya, //, originates from the Kamba name for Mount Kenya, "Kiinyaa". Prehistoric volcanic eruptions of Mount Kenya (now extinct) may have resulted in its association with divinity and creation among the indigenous Kikuyu-related ethnic groups, who are the native inhabitants of the agricultural land surrounding Mount Kenya.[original research?]
In the 19th century, the German explorer Johann Ludwig Krapf was staying with the Bantu Kamba people when he first spotted the mountain. On asking for the name of the mountain, he was told "Kĩ-Nyaa" or "Kĩĩma- Kĩĩnyaa" probably because the pattern of black rock and white snow on its peaks reminded them of the feathers of the cock ostrich. The Agikuyu, who inhabit the slopes of Mt. Kenya, call it Kĩrĩma Kĩrĩnyaga in Kikuyu, which is quite similar to the Kamba name.
Ludwig Krapf recorded the name as both Kenia and Kegnia believed by most to be a corruption of the Kamba version. Others say that this was—on the contrary—a very precise notation of a correct African pronunciation //. An 1882 map drawn by Joseph Thompsons, a Scottish geologist and naturalist, indicated Mt. Kenya as Mt. Kenia, 18620. Controversy over the actual meaning of the word Kenya notwithstanding, it is clear that the mountain's name became widely accepted, pars pro toto, as the name of the country.
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of Kenya
The Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. The highlands are the site of the highest point in Kenya and the second highest peak on the continent: Mount Kenya, which reaches 5,199 m (17,057 ft) and is the site of glaciers. Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m or 19,341 ft) can be seen from Kenya to the South of the Tanzanian border.
Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to arid in the north and northeast parts of the country. The area receives a great deal of sunshine every month, and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. It is usually cool at night and early in the morning inland at higher elevations.
The "long rains" season occurs from March/April to May/June. The "short rains" season occurs from October to November/December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The temperature remains high throughout these months of tropical rain. The hottest period is February and March, leading into the season of the long rains, and the coldest is in July, until mid August.
|City||Elevation (m)||Max (°C)||Min (°C)|
|Eldoret||Rift Valley town||2,085||23.6||9.5|
|Lodwar||dry north plainlands||506||34.8||23.7|
|Mandera||dry north plainlands||506||34.8||25.7|
Wildlifewildlife 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, attracting valuable foreign tourism.
Kenya is the setting for one of the Natural Wonders of the World – the great wildebeest migration. Two million of these ungulates migrate a distance of 1,800 miles (2,897 km) from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya, in a constant clockwise fashion, searching for food and water supplies.
Main article: History of Kenya
NeolithicThe first inhabitants of present-day Kenya were hunter-gatherer groups, akin to the modern Khoisan speakers. These people were later replaced by agropastoralist Cushitic speakers from the Horn of Africa. During the early Holocene, the regional climate shifted from dry to wetter climatic conditions, providing an opportunity for the development of cultural traditions, such as agriculture and herding, in a more favourable environment.
Around 500 BC, Nilotic-speaking pastoralists (ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) started migrating from present-day Southern Sudan into Kenya. Nilotic groups in Kenya include the Samburu, Luo, Turkana, Maasai.
By the first millennium AD, Bantu-speaking farmers had moved into the region. The Bantus originated in West Africa along the Benue River in what is now eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. The Bantu migration brought new developments in agriculture and iron working to the region. Bantu groups in Kenya include the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Kisii, Meru, Aembu, Ambeere, Wadawida-Watuweta, Wapokomo and Mijikenda among others.
Remarkable prehistoric sites in the interior of Kenya include the archaeoastronomical site Namoratunga on the west side of Lake Turkana and the walled settlement of ThimLich Ohinga in Migori County.