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Kenya History


4.1 million years before the present


Austrolopithicus anamensis, considered one of the first upright walking humans, inhabited the west of what is now called Lake Turkana.

3.5 million years before the present


Kenyanthropus platyops lived in the area West of Lake Turkana; skeleton remains found between 1998-1999 and stored at the National Museums of Kenya.

200 A.D.


Bantu migrants bring technology to the Coast of Kenya.

+700 A.D.


Arabs who traded with the local people introduce Islam on the Coast of East Africa.

+750 A.D.


Swahili urban settlements spring up along the Kenyan Coast.

10-14th Century


The Nilotes, consisting of the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana, Iteso, and Luo, moved from the West of Lake Turkana into Kenya.

13th Century


Some Bantu speakers split into two groups when moving into Central Tanzania settling in between Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. The first group migrated north forming the Taveta, Dawida and Akamba peoples. The second group moved along the coast into the hilltops behind the coastline north becoming the Mijikenda. And a third group moving westwards settled in the Kenya Highlands, which became the Agikuyu, Aembu, Chuka, Tharaka, and the Ameru.

15th Century


"Golden Age" of Swahili Civilization

15th-17th Century


The Luos migrated from southern Sudan to Uganda and settled on the shores of Lake Victoria. From there they began spreading along the shores to Kisumu and Kano Plains.



The first Portuguese attack on Mombasa



Fort Jesus is built by the Portuguese in Mombasa

18th Century


The Maasai moved through the plains before settling in the Rift Valley area.

1846 August 25th


Dr. Ludwig Krapf, a German and missionary of the Church Missionary Society of England, establishes the first Christian Mission of Kenya among the Mijikenda on the coast.



Joseph Thomson is the first European explorer to pass through Maasai country.



Sir William Mackinnon and the British East Africa Association accept a concession of the Zanzibar sultan's territory for a 50-year period.



Waiyaki Wa Hinga, a Kikuyu chief who ruled Dagoretti, signed a treaty with Fredrick Lugard of the Imperial British East Africa Company. Lugard settled in Dagoretti and began harassing the Kikuyu for their women and food. In defiance to his demands they burnt down Lugard's fortress. In 1892, the British administration kidnapped Hinga and buried him alive along the coast of Kenya.



British government declares a protectorate over Kenya and Uganda, calling it the The East Africa Protectorate and Sir Arthur Hardinge becomes the first Commissioner.



The British sends military expeditions against the Kikuyu and the Kamba to assert authority.

Late 19th Century


Koitalel Arap Samoei, a diviner and Nandi leader prophesied that a black snake would tear through Nandi land spitting fire, which was seen later as the railway line. For ten years he fought against the builders of the railway line and train. Later, determined to continue the railway line, the British created a trap and killed Samoei.

Early 20th Century


Mekatilili Wa Menza resisted British attempts to eradicate Giriama traditional culture through the destruction of kaya, sacred forest shrines and places of worship. She led the Giriama people into a rebellion against the British. Mekatilili was later captured and exiled to Western Kenya.



First railway line completed from Mombasa to Kisumu on Lake Victoria.



National Museums of Kenya founded



The status of the East Africa Protectorate is changed to the Kenya Colony and the coastal strip is named the Kenya Protectorate.



The first African political protest movement in Kenya against the government began by the Young Kikuyu Association, led by Harry Thuku.



The first African is included in legislative council of an East African territory.



In preparation for efforts to gain freedom from the British rule, members of the Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba took oaths of unity and secrecy, thus the Mau Mau movement began.

1953 April 8th


Jomo Kenyatta, born Kamau wa Ngengi, is charged with directing the Mau Mau movement and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.



Dedan Kimathi was arrested on February 18th for his role in the Mau Mau uprising as a Field Marshall leading thousands of fighters for the struggle of independence.



Jomo Kenyatta is released from prison.



Africans allowed to form their own nationwide political parties. African leaders met in Kambu and created The Kenya African National Union (KANU), led by J.S. Gichuru, Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya and later joined by Jomo Kenyatta.

1963 June 1st


Kenya achieved internal self-government, known as Madaraka (Freedom). June 1st is Madaraka Day, now celebrated as Self Rule Day.

1963 December 12th


Kenya becomes fully independent



Kenya becomes a Republic with Jomo Kenyatta as its first President and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga as Vice President



Vice President Oginga Odinga forms a new opposition party, Kenya People's Union (KPU)
1969 July

1969 July


Tom Mboya, Minister of Economic Planning, and Development is assassinated.



Jomo Kenyatta dies.

1978 October


Daniel arap Moi succeeds Kenyatta as Kenya's second President.



Section 14 of the Constitution is repealed and Kenya holds its first multi-party elections.



Oginga Odinga dies.



Second multi-party elections