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Kenya History Timeline

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Kenya's Information

Flag of Kenya
Land Area 569,140 km2
Water Area 11,227 km2
Total Area 580,367 km2
Population 46,790,758
Population Density 80.62 / km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $153.00 Billion
GDP Per Capita $3,400
Currency Shilling (KES)
Largest Cities
  • Nairobi (2,750,547)
  • Mombasa (799,668)
  • Nakuru (259,903)
  • Eldoret (218,446)
  • Kisumu (216,479)
  • Thika (200,000)
  • Malindi (118,265)
  • Kitale (75,123)
  • Garissa (67,861)
  • Kakamega (63,426)
  • (4.4 million years ago) Australopithecus ramidus evolved in Eastern Africa
  • (3 mya) Australopithecus afarensis evolved in Eastern Africa
  • (2 mya) Homo habilis evolved in Eastern Africa
  • (500 BC) Beginning of the Bantu migration into Eastern Africa began
600 AD - 1800s
  • (600 AD) Arabs settled the coastal region and developed trading posts
  • (900) The port of Mombassa is established
  • (1200) Swahili culture and language dominated the coast, while Bantu and Nilotic speakers commanded the inland region
  • (1498) Vasco de Gama arrived at Mombassa after traveling around Africa
  • (1500s) Portugal briefly took command of the Swahili ports before being forced out by the Swahili states
  • (1630s) Omani Arab traders settled along the coast
  • (1698) Omanis gained control of the entire coastline
  • (1822) Much of East Africa is ruled by the Sultan of Oman
  • (1895) The British East African Protectorate is formed
  • (early 1900s) British settlers moved into the highlands; a railway was built from Mombasa to Lake Victoria
  • (1920) Kenya's inland region falls under the control of the British Crown Colony
  • (1944) The Kenyan African Union (KAU) is formed as a campaign for African independence
  • (1947) Jomo Kenyatta is named leader of the KAU
  • (1952) A secret Mau Mau guerrilla group staged a violent campaign against the British settlers; a state of emergency is declared, Kenyatta is arrested
  • (1953) The Kenyan African Union is banned after Kenyatta is charged with leading the Mau Mau
  • (1956) The Mau Mau rebellion is suppressed after thousands are killed
  • (1960) The state of emergency is lifted; plans are announced for Britain to prepare Kenya for majority African rule; the Kenya African National Union (KANU) is formed
  • (1961) Kenyatta is freed from jail and named president of KANU
  • (1963) Kenya gained independence with Kenyatta as prime minister
  • (1964) The Republic of Kenya is proclaimed, Kenyatta is appointed president with Oginga Odinga as vice president
  • (1966) Odinga backed out of Kanu after an idealogical split with Kenyatta and formed the rival Kenya People's Union (KPU)
  • (1969) Assassination of government minister Tom Mboya soarked ethnic unrest; KPU is banned and Odinga is arrested
  • (1974) Kenyatta is re-elected
  • (1978) Kenyatte dies in office and is succeeded by vice president Daniel arap Moi
  • (1982) Kenya is officially declared a one-party state and a new constitution is declared
  • (1987) Opposition groups against Moi are suppressed; the government is criticized for political arrests and human rights abuses
  • (1989) Political prisoners are freed
  • (1990) The public is outraged following the suspicious death of foreign minister Robert Ouko
  • (1991) The Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) is formed by opposition leaders, including Odinga
  • (1991) Leaders of FORD are arrested and the party is outlawed
  • (1992) Ethnic violence erupted in western Kenya, nearly 2,000 people are killed
  • (1992) FORD is split into FORD-Kenya (led by Odinga) and FORD-Asili (led by Kenneth Matiba)
  • (1992) Moi is re-elected president
    1900s continued
    • (1994) Jaramogi Oginga Odinga died
    • (1995) Richard Leakey formed the new opposition party, Safina
    • (1997) Widespread demonstrations called for democratic reform
    • (1997) Moi is re-elected
    • (1998) The US embassy in Nairobi is bombed by Al-Qaeda operatives, 224 are killed and thousands more are injured
    • (1999) Leaky is appointed by Moi to head the government drive against corruption
    • (2001) Leaky charged with abuse of power and perverting the course of justice
    • (2001) Parliament passed a law to allow for the importation and manufacturing of cheap copies of anti-Aids drugs
    • (2001) Ethnic tensions culminated into several violet clashes
    • (2002) Nearly 200 Maasai and Samburu tribes people are compensated more than $7 million from the British Ministry of Defense for explosives left behind by the British Army
    • (2002) An Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa is attacked by Al-Qaeda
    • (2002) Mwai Kibaki won landslide victory ending Moi's 24-year long rule and KANU's four decades in power
    • (2003) Moi is granted immunity from corruption charges
    • (2004) A new constitution is drafted
    • (2004) A food crisis is caused by crop failure and drought prompting Kibaki to launch a UN aid appeal for rural Kenyans
    • (2004) Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize
    • (2005) More than 40 people are left dead following a clash over land and water rights
    • (2005) Violent protests over aspects of the constitutional draft erupted in Nairobi; the proposed new constitution is rejected by voters
    • (2006) Some 35,000 Somalis escaping the drought, Islamist rule, and looming conflict sought refuge in Kenyan camps
    • (2006) Regional flooding rendered thousands homeless and stranded nearly 100,000 Somali refugees
    • (2007) Presidential elections are disputed, leading to violence and the deaths of more than 1,500 citizens
    • (2010) A new constitution designed to limit presidential powers and delegate power to the regions is approved
    • (2011) East Africa experienced Worst drought in 60 years
    • (2011) Kenyan troops entered Somalia and attacked rebels accused of being behind several kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil
    • (2012) Oil is discovered in Kenya
    • (2012) Widespread clashes and riots are sparked across Kenya for various reasons
    • (2013) Uhuru Kenyatta is elected president
    • (2014) Widespread attacks erupted, blamed on Somali al-Shabab militants; 48 people are left dead following Islamist militant attacks on hotels and a police station in Mpeketoni (June 2014)

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