Kenya History and Politics
The early days in Kenya
Based on findings in the area of today’s Kenya, we know that ancestors of modern humans lived in this region very early. In Kenya, too, one speaks of a “cradle of mankind”, although research now assumes that there was not just one “cradle”, but several. The indigenous population probably lived as hunters and gatherers.
Then peoples from North Africa immigrated. Around 2000 BC BC nomads, who probably came from what is now Ethiopia, came to Kenya. Other peoples followed, especially in the time of 500 BC. BC to 500 AD. The coast was also settled.
The Swahili Society
An important trade network arose on the coast, not only for the Romans but also for the Arabs. A number of trading towns developed along the coast, with the Arabs in particular trading here. As a result, Islam also spread. The culture that emerged here is also called Swahili culture.
Excavations in a town called Gede reveal how people lived more than 600 years ago. Already at that time there were connections to China. That is quite a long way if you consider that at that time there were only ships as a means of transport and no airplanes. Back then, the cities of Mombasa and Lamu were important cities.
The Europeans in Kenya
At the end of the 16th century, the Portuguese influenced the region. The famous Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama had already discovered the East African coast in 1498. But many people continued to immigrate from India and Arabia. For more articles on Kenya and Africa, please visit neovideogames.
In 1698 Kenya became part of Oman. While we know quite a bit about developments on the coast, the fate of the people who lived inland remained largely unknown.
British East Africa
The Europeans saw in Kenya, as in many African regions, the opportunity to get rich. Those who did not want to submit, got to feel it. This was the main action taken against the Maasai, an African warrior tribe. Often one concluded contracts with the population, but mostly to their disadvantage.
In 1895 Kenya became a colony of British East Africa. The British built a railway line at the end of the 19th century that connected the Kenyan city of Mombasa with Uganda. But this railway ran right through the grazing areas of the Maasai, who suffered as a result. The same happened to other tribes in Kenya. More and more white settlers came to exploit the land. But these settlers also brought the first schools to Kenya. In 1920 Kenya became a crown colony.
The pursuit of independence
The need of many Kenyans to become independent from the colonial rulers grew ever greater. A man named Jomo Kenyatta was very influential. A movement developed called Mau-Mau, which also used violence to defend itself against the oppression. This movement was largely made up of people belonging to the Kikuyu tribe. They wanted to drive the whites out of Kenya for good. Many people died on both sides.
The Kenya African Union was also formed, which also campaigned for the interests of the population. This then resulted in the African National Union. Kenyatta became their president and he went down in history as a fighter for the freedom of Kenya.
On December 12, 1963, Kenya became independent and Kenyatta became the first president of the independent country. The president was elected directly by the people in Kenya and had a great deal of power that he could also use. At the same time he was the commander in chief of the armed forces, so he also held military power. This abundance of power also brought problems, as a president could rule like an autocrat and suppress any opposition.
Kenyatta died in 1978 and was succeeded by Arap Moi, who was replaced by Mwai Mbaki in 2002. The country suffered from the strong position of the president. Since Kenya developed largely good relations with the West, human rights violations and the repression of the opposition were overlooked.
But over time there were increased efforts to limit the power of the president through parliament. Corruption is a major problem in Kenya. So money that is actually intended for the support of the population or for the expansion of schools and roads seeps away somewhere in the coffers of private individuals and is then missing from the state. The situation in Kenya was extremely unstable and there were repeated clashes and violence between various political parties.
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has been the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya since 2013. It’s the first president’s eldest son, by the way.