The Republic of Kenya is located in East Africa.It covers 224,081 square miles (580,367 square kilometers)
Its terrain rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean to mountains and plateaus at its centre. Most Kenyans live in the highlands, where Nairobi, the capital, sits at an altitude of 5,500 feet (1,700 meters).
West of Nairobi the land descends to the Great Rift Valley, a 4,000-mile (6,400-kilometer) tear in the Earth’s crust. Within this valley in the deserts of northern Kenya are the jade-green waters of famous Lake Turkana.
Kenya’s location between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria means that people from all over Africa and the Middle East have travelled and traded across it for centuries. This has created a diverse culture with many ethnic groups and languages.
Scientists think Northern Kenya and Tanzania may have been the original birthplace of humans. The bones of one of the earliest human ancestors ever found were discovered in Kenya’s Turkana Basin.
Slavery is a big part of Kenya’s history. During the 1600s and 1700s, many Kenyans were kidnapped and taken as slaves by Arabs, Europeans, and Americans. By the mid-19th century, slavery was outlawed by most countries, but by then, thousands of Kenyans and other East Africans had been taken to countries throughout the world.
Kenya was a colony of the United Kingdom from 1920 until 1963. Since its independence, it has been a republic, with a president, a national assembly, called the Bunge, and a judiciary.
PEOPLE & CULTURE
The population of Kenya is more than 48 million.
In Kenya, more than 60 languages are spoken and there are more than 40 ethnic groups. The most spoken languages are Swahili and English. Almost everyone there speaks more than one African language.
School is free in Kenya, but many children are too busy to go to classes. They help their families by working the land, tending cattle, cooking, or fetching water.
Music and storytelling are important parts of Kenyan culture. For centuries, tribes throughout the country have used songs, stories, and poems to pass on their beliefs, history, and customs.
Capital City: Nairobi