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Kenya, a republic in East Africa, is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Kenya has a varied landscape of plateaus and high mountains and is home to many different ethnic groups. Formerly a British colony, Kenya gained independence in 1963 and has been a republic since 1964. It is bounded on the north by Sudan and Ethiopia, on the east by Somalia and the Indian Ocean, on the south by Tanzania, and on the west by Lake Victoria and Uganda. Nairobi is the country’s capital and largest city.
The People of Kenya:
Some 65 percent of Kenya’s population lives in rural areas, most concentrated in the fertile southern half of the country. The country’s largest cites are Nairobi, the capital and chief manufacturing center; Mombasa, the nation’s principal seaport; and Kisumu, the chief port on Lake Victoria. Smaller cities include Nakuru, a commercial and manufacturing center in the Eastern Rift Valley; and Eldoret, an industrial center in western Kenya.
Nearly all Kenyans are black Africans, divided into more than 40 ethnic groups belonging to three linguistic families: the Bantu, the Cushitic, and the Nilotic (see African Languages). Language traditionally has been the primary characteristic of ethnic identity in Kenya. Bantu-speaking Kenyans are divided into three different groups: the western group (Luhya); the central, or highlands, group (including the Kikuyu, the Kamba, and other subgroups); and the coastal Bantu (Mijikenda). Among Kenya’s Nilotic speakers, the major groups are the River-Lake, or Western, group (Luo); the Highlands, or Southern, group (Kalenjin); and the Plains, or Eastern, group (Masai). The Cushitic-speaking groups include the Oromo and the Somali. The Kikuyu, who make up 21 percent of the population, are Kenya’s largest ethnic group. The next largest are the Luhya (14 percent), the Luo (12 percent), the Kamba (11 percent), and the Kalenjin (11 percent).
For much of Kenya’s history, its ethnic groups were loose social formations, fluid and constantly changing. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries British colonial rule solidified ethnic identities among Kenya’s people. Colonial administrators associated ethnic groups with specific areas of the country by designating areas where only people with a particular ethnic identity could reside. This pattern of ethnically based settlement has persisted in Kenya since it became independent, even though economic and political development has increased mobility and urbanization among the country’s inhabitants. Thus, the majority of Kikuyu live in south central Kenya, the majority of Luhya in western Kenya, the majority of Luo in southwestern Kenya, the majority of Kamba in east central Kenya, and the majority of Kalenjin in west central Kenya. Ethnicity also has been an important factor in Kenyan politics.
Language and Religion:
Way of Life:
Traditional Dress in Kenya These members of a Nilotic tribe in Samburu,
Kenya, are wearing traditional clothing. The men wear solid bright red
fabrics; the women have vivid designs on their clothing and collars
made of roped beads. Jewelry plays an important role in traditional
African dress.Bridgeman Art Library, London/New York/Eric Meacher/Link
The Eastern Rift of the Great Rift Valley appears in Kenya as a massive depression, as wide as 50 to 65 km (30 to 40 mi) in some places, with cliffs reaching 900 m (3,000 ft) in height.
The country falls into several topographical zones extending from sea level upward to lofty mountain ranges with elevations of more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft). In the southeast, Kenya’s coastline measures 536 km (333 mi) in length and is fringed with coral reefs. It is bordered by a narrow coastal plain dotted with tropical forests. From the coast, the terrain rises to a series of low plateaus that cover most of eastern and northern Kenya and range in elevation from about 150 to 1,000 m (about 500 to 3,000 ft).
The region west of the plateaus, known as the Kenya highlands, consists of a series of higher plateaus, ranging from about 900 to 2,000 m (about 3,000 to 5,000 ft). Bisected from north to south by the Eastern Rift Valley, the Kenya highlands are divided into the Mau Escarpment on the east side of the Eastern Rift Valley and the Aberdare Range on the west side.
The Aberdare ranges are marked by numerous extinct volcanoes, the highest of which are Mount Kenya (5,199 m/17,057 ft) in central Kenya, and Mount Elgon (4,321 m/14,177 ft) on the country’s western border. In the far west is the lower Lake Victoria basin, which includes the hilly regions to the north and south of Winam Gulf. Although earth tremors are felt periodically in Kenya’s highlands, the country has experienced no volcanic activity or serious earthquakes over the past several centuries.
Rivers and Lakes:
Plant and Animal Life:
Kenya is known for the great variety of its wildlife and is especially famous for its big game animals associated with the African savanna. The major big game species include elephants, rhinoceroses, zebras, giraffes, and lions and other large cats. Although many of these species are protected in national parks and game reserves, hunters have severely reduced the number of large mammals in Kenya, particularly elephants and rhinoceroses. Kenya’s rhinoceroses are critically endangered. Birds—including ostriches, flamingos, and vultures—abound in Kenya, as do reptiles such as pythons, mambas, and cobras.
Rainfall occurs seasonally throughout most of Kenya. The coast, eastern plateaus, and lake basin experience two rainy seasons: the “long rains” extends roughly from March to June, and the “short rains” lasts from approximately October to December. The highlands of western Kenya have a single rainy season, lasting from March to September. All parts of the country are subject to periodic droughts, or delays in the start of the rainy seasons. Kenya’s climate has had a profound effect on settlement patterns, as for centuries population has been concentrated in the wettest areas of the country.
Tourism and other Services:
Tourism in Kenya has expanded dramatically since 1963, and since 1989
it has been the country’s leading source of foreign currency.
Tourist arrivals, mainly from Europe and North America, numbered 838,000
in 2001. Kenya’s main tourist destinations are the beaches along
the Indian Ocean coast; national parks and game reserves, such as Tsavo
National Park and Amboseli National Park; and museums and historical
Mining employs only a small number of Kenya’s workers. The main minerals produced are soda ash from Lake Magadi, fluorite, salt, and limestone products. The government is also seeking to exploit titanium and zircon deposits on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Currency and Banking:
|Africa & Beyond.|
the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country situated
in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan
to the west, Kenya to the south, Somalia to the east and Djibouti to the
northeast. Its size is 1,100,000 km² with an estimated population
of over 78,000,000. Its capital is Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world and Africa's second-most populous nation.
(country), republic in northeastern Africa, strategically located at the
strait of Bab el Mandeb, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.
The small country takes its name from its capital and only large city,
Djibouti. Located at the intersection of trade routes connecting the Indian
Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea, and Africa with the Middle East, Djibouti
has long been a cultural and commercial crossroads.
republic in East Africa, is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Kenya
has a varied landscape of plateaus and high mountains and is home to many
different ethnic groups. Formerly a British colony, Kenya gained independence
in 1963 and has been a republic since 1964. It is bounded on the north
by Sudan and Ethiopia, on the east by Somalia and the Indian Ocean, on
the south by Tanzania, and on the west by Lake Victoria and Uganda. Nairobi
is the country’s capital and largest city.read
||Yemen, Republic of, country in southwestern Asia, on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bounded on the west by the Red Sea and on the south by the Gulf of Aden (an arm of the Arabian Sea, which is part of the Indian Ocean), and is separated from Africa by the narrow strait of Bab el Mandeb. To the north and northeast lies Saudi Arabia and to the east is Oman; these two countries are Yemen’s only contiguous neighbors Yemen includes read more...|
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