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Kenyan History

When the Portuguese arrived at Mombasa in 1498, they saw a region that had excellent trading routes. The Portuguese colonized Kenya till the early 18th century when they were eventually driven out by the Arabs in the region. The Arab influence in the region lasted until the late 19th century when the British and Germans moved into the region wanting to gain control. It didn’t take long for the British to put there foothold on Kenya, as with a mixture of war and diplomacy in the region the British were able to move in quite easily.

In 1897, the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) founded its headquarters in Mombasa with the purpose of developing trade in the region. The Mombasa to Uganda railway line was constructed at this time, and Nairobi due to its convenient staging point on the edge of the highlands, soon became the headquarters of the British administration.
Between the 1900 and the early 1950s the white population in the area increased from 3,000 to nearly 100,000, as the British were encouraging white Europeans to the region. 

The fight for independence grew during this time, as it turned into a guerrilla war during the 1950s and it was led by the nationalist Land Freedom Army, or better known as the Mau Mau. This opposition and new policies in the region led to there independence in 1963. The new government in the country gained control and ruled with an iron fist and not allowing any opposition parties to challenge them. Due to western pressure the government was finally forced to concede to a multi-party democracy in the early 1990s.
The Moi regime’s who held power had a poor record in tackling official corruption, which led to a rapidly growing external debt and Kenya was now in serious financial difficulties. This led to a national election in 1997, which led to a more stable government and led to more western aid in the country.

In 2008, Kenya experienced more problems with the rival political fractions in the country, which almost led to civil war. Things are still tense, but if the country is now starting to look forward as it realizes it needs to sort out its domestic issues and then the economy will be allowed to flourish once again. The Kenyan economy is largely agricultural and as 75 per cent of the population work on the land, it needs to have strong economic links with the global economy. Recent economic performance has been moderate. An estimated 2 million Kenyans are unemployed and the new government elected in 2003 plans to create 500,000 new jobs. The UK is Kenya’s major trading partner, followed by Germany, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

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