People have lived in Kenya for over three million years. It is
the cradle of humankind. The trade routes through Kenya have been fought over for
centuries, but the country is now independent. Over the past 500 years, the British,
Arabs and Portuguese colonists left evidence of their presence. The British built
railroads, such as the East African Railway, for the transportation of cash crops
like coffee and tea. The Arabs left their mark on the language and customs of the
coastal areas. Modern Swahili is heavily influenced by the Arabic and the Portuguese
languages. The Arabs also brought Islam and many Kenyans today are Muslim. The
Portuguese built the historic Fort Jesus on the coast, now a popular tourist site.
The Mau Mau Rebellion of 1952 and the nationalist movement
throughout the 1950s led to the overthrow of British colonial rule in 1963. Tired
of working hard for little reward, the Kenyans wanted to be in charge of their own
Today Kenya is culturally diverse. People have come to Kenya
from many parts of Africa, such as present-day Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia and
other areas. Problems like drought and war have plagued these countries. Some residents
have fled to Kenya in search of a better life.
Modern Kenya is run by an elected government. The President is
Daniel Arap Moi, who succeeded Mzee Kenyatta after his death in 1978. Moi has since
been re-elected four times.
The Kenyan national motto is Harambee, which means "let's pull
together". It's also the name for a type of community effort that involves singing
and feasting while working together, often to build a school or clinic. In Canada
this would be like traditional barn raising, where everyone in the area helps to
build a new barn and a large dinner follows. The response to harambee is
nay which means "follow the footsteps", and this phrase is so often used by
President Moi that it has become his nickname.
Did you know? |
Some of the oldest human remains in the world have been found in Kenya. Near Lake
Turban, anthropological finds indicate that humans lived in the area 2.6 million