Kenya is in the South Eastern part of Africa, flanked on the South by Tanzania, to the West by Uganda and to the North by the Sudan and Ethiopia. Kenya’s Eastern side to the North forms a border with Somalia and to the South consists of the beautiful Kenyan beaches that are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Over the centuries, we can trace the history of Kenya as far back as 2,000 BC. African tribes migrated from the North, West and South to populate the fertile grounds of the Kenyan Highlands creating a melting pot of languages and cultures in Kenya. Over the last 1500 years, the migrations have largely been by nomadic pastoralists who settled near water and rich feeding grounds for short periods of time until it was time to move on and look for greener grass. Bantu, Nilote and Hima peoples all came here. Today’s descendants are largely from the Bantu tribes, the Kamba, and the Kikuyu settled in the highlands to the North, while the Taita and other clans occupied the coastal areas to the South. Later, in the 17th century, Maasai clans migrated to the central plains.
The history of Kenya has not only been influenced by African tribe migrations. Due to its coastal location, Kenya has been subject to foreign invasions from Persians and Arabs throughout its history, leaving behind a strong Arabic influence. In fact the Swahili language, which is spoken in Kenya today, derives both from Bantu and Arabic. When Vasco da Gama discovered Kenya along the sea route to India in 1498, the Portuguese flocked to the area, hoping to dominate trade with India by the same token. Subsequent wranglings over trade in the Indian Ocean subjected Kenya to struggles with British, Dutch and Omani powers until it finally fell under the British Empire.