Nairobi Information

A brief history of Nairobi

Giraffe eating

Nairobi was essentially uninhabited swamp until in 1899 when a supply depot of the Uganda Railway was built, which soon became the railways headquarters. The city was named after a water hole known in Massai as Ewaso Nyirobi, meaning “cool waters”. It was totally rebuilt in the early 1900s after an outbreak of plague and the burning of the original town Nairobi replaced Mombassa as the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in 1905. The railway brought wealth into the city, which made it grow dramatically. It then became Kenya’s second largest town after Mombassa

In 1901 it became the capital of the British protectorate, and the city grew around administration and tourism, initially in the form of big game hunting. As the British colonialists started to explore the region, they started using Nairobi as their first port call. This prompted the colonial government to build several grand hotels in the city. The main occupants were British game hunters. Nairobi continued to grow under the British rule, and many British peoples settled within the city’s suburbs. The continuous expansion of the city began to anger the Massai people, as the city was devouring their land to the South. It also angered Kikuyu people who wanted the land returned to them.

In 1919, Nairobi was declared to be a municipality. Between the years of 1920 and 1950, the number of white settlers within Nairobi rose from 9,000 to 80000. There was however, friction that existed between the settlers and the local peoples. Nairobi was granted city status in 1954. After the end of World war 11, this friction developed into the Mau Mau rebellion. Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s future president was jailed for his involvement even though there was no evidence linking him to the rebellion. Pressure exerted from the locals onto the British resulted in Kenyan independence in 1963, with Nairobi as the capital of the new republic. After independence, Nairobi grew rapidly and this growth put pressure on the city’s infrastructure. Power cuts and water shortages were a common occurrence, though in the past few years better city planning has helped to put some of these problems in check. cat


Leopard in a tree

Interesting Facts

Full country name: Republic of Kenya
Area: 580,367 km2
Population: 34, 256,000 est. (31, 138 735-2002 Census
Capital city: Nairobi
People: 22% Kikuyu, 14% Luhya, 13% Luo, 12% Kalanjin, 11% Kamba 6% Kisi, 6%Meru, 16% other
Religion: 35% protestant, 30% Muslim 30% Roman Catholic, 5% Animist
Government: Republic (multiparty state)
President: Uhuru Kenyatta
Major industries: small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, beer, batteries, textiles, flour) agricultural processing, oil refining, chemical, cement, flower farming and tourism.
Major trading partners: Uganda Tanzania, UK, Germany, UAE, South Africa

At 580,367 km2 the country is two and a half times the size of Britain.

The population is over 30 million and has one of the world’s fastest growth rates. Kenya gained independence in 1963 after 80 years of British rule.

Most Kenyans are subsistence farmers

Coffee and tea are grown commercially and tourism is also a huge income for the country. The country is still in huge debt though and has few mineral resources.

The country lies on the equator and has excellent National Parks and Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa. It also has good beaches and colorful people. Nairobi is the capital and Mombassa the countries port city.