Kenya History

by | August 24, 2021


Reliable hypotheses suggest that the large area, later known as East Africa, was home to Bushman and Proto-Hamite populations. Blacks must have settled in the region from the 10th millennium BC. C.; they would be followed by emigrations of Hamite, Bantu, Nilotic and Nilotic-Hamitic peoples. The first descriptions of the Kenyan coast are found in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a document drawn up around 110 AD. C. Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Arab and Persian traders certainly frequented that coast. The Arab and Persian allocations influenced in a decisive way the history of the coastal regions, which starting from the end of the century. VII were conquered by groups of Islamized Arabs. In 1498 Vasco da Gama it first reached Mombasa and then Malindi and in the early years of the century. XVI the Portuguese imposed their presence on all the main centers and islands of the coast. The next two centuries were characterized by continuous struggles between the Arabs and the Portuguese and ended with the latter abandoning their positions. Great Britain’s interest in that part of East Africa manifested itself in 1840 with the appointment of a consul in Zanzibar (the sovereignty of a long coastal stretch of East Africa also belonged to the sultan of Zanzibar). Competition from Germany convinced England to secure a large area of ​​influence in that geographical area, sanctioned by the Anglo-German agreement of 1886. The British East Africa Association first and the Imperial British East Africa Company then took over the administration of the vast region, which later took the name of Uganda and Kenya and which was, in 1895, taken over by the English government. The simultaneous settlement of white settlers and the confiscation of the lands of the natives (in particular of the Kikuyu tribes) caused a serious disturbance in the life of the country; disturbance that was revealed, already after the First World War, through the Jomo Kenyatta, president of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), who garnered great acclaim by becoming the authoritative leader of Kenyan nationalism. Between 1952 and 1956 the Mau-mau terrorist movement led Great Britain to proclaim a state of emergency and at the same time to accelerate the introduction of political-constitutional reforms. The Constitutions of 1958, 1960 and 1962 led to self-government. On December 12, 1963, as a country beginning with letter K listed on COUNTRYAAH, Kenya gained independence as a monarchy and became a Republic on December 12, 1964, while remaining a member of the Commonwealth. Kenyatta was elected president of the republic and head of government. Once the other political formations were dissolved, in 1969 he established de facto single-partyism and, despite various ministerial reshuffles and accusations of corruption, the old leader was always re-elected by plebiscite.


When Kenyatta died (1978), the presidency of the Republic was assumed by Daniel Arap Moi (successor designated by Kenyatta), who found himself facing internal dissensions and tensions, culminating in an attempted coup in 1982. Moi, reconfirmed in 1983 and then again in 1988, thus established a policy of oppression which, in particular from 1986, increased socio-political and inter-ethnic tensions. At the end of the 1980s, discontent with the rampant corruption in the government and the country’s economic difficulties was expressed in the request for the abolition of the one-party system and the consolidation of opposition groups, generally repressed. Only in December 1991, following the ever increasing internal and international pressures, the Extraordinary Assembly of KANU approved a document that legalized the opposition parties, sanctioning the return to political pluralism. At the end of 1992, in a climate of new ethnic clashes, which saw mainly Masai and Kalenjin opposing Kikuyu, Moi was once again re-elected to the presidency of the Republic, while KANU won the majority of the seats in the National Assembly. After new signs of political stiffening by the President of the Republic, which were reflected in foreign policy with the suspension of international aid, the 1997 election campaign was characterized throughout the country by violent protests against the government’s economic policy. At the end of the same year, the presidential and legislative elections, despite the internal growth of an opposition that denounced fraud and voting irregularities, reconfirmed Moi as head of state and assigned the majority, in the National Assembly, to KANU. After a first government reshuffle in 1999, in June 2001 Moi decided to set up a new coalition government, which also included the historical leader of the opposition, Raila Odinga. In the presidential elections held at the end of 2002 Moi, after 24 years of government, did not run as a candidate and the opposition, united in the Rainbow coalition, brought its own candidate, the economist Mwai Kibaki to become the third president of Kenya. Despite the electoral promises, the new president was unable to improve the economic and political conditions of the country where corruption and poor security continued to be major problems; on the contrary, he tried to strengthen his powers by presenting, in November 2005, a referendum on the modification of the Constitution: in the consultation the contrary opinions prevailed and as a consequence Kibaki forced the entire government to resign. New presidential elections took place in 2007; they, won by a few votes by Kibaki, were bitterly contested by both Odinga and international observers. Violent clashes broke out in the country between political (and partly ethnic) factions that caused over 1000 deaths. The crisis was resolved in April 2008 after mediation by the UNwhich led to the creation of a government of national unity and the appointment of Odinga to the post of prime minister. After a series of attacks and raids on Kenyan territory by the Somali militiamen of Al Shabaab, in October 2011 the army launched an attack on Islamist guerrillas entering Somali territory.

Kenya History