Kenya is a nation full of rich and vibrant cultures, giving it a strong and singular identity.
It has 42 recognized tribes. It has smaller tribes that consist of more than one community.
Prehistory fossil finds show that Kenya is the cradle of mankind with fossil finds dating millions of years ago. Prehistory in East Africa has been pioneered by the Leakey family and continues, with many Kenyans actively involved in it. The Prehistory Club of Kenya is based at the National Museums of Kenya offering membership to anyone interested in prehistory.
The early tribal states saw cycles of migration and shifting power. There have been three major migrations of peoples into Kenya. The pastoral Cushitic started to arrive from Ethiopia and Somalia around 2,000 BC; the Nilotic tribes followed 1,000 years later from Egypt and the Sudan. The agriculturally orientated Bantu began migrating from West Africa around 500 BC.
On the east coast, the Indian Ocean sea trade between Africa, Arabia and Asia thrived for thousands of years, trading spices, slaves, ivory, skins, beads and cloth. It created a unique coastal culture. Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer sailor became the first known European to visit the port of Mombasa in February 1498 in search of a sea route to India. The Europeans saw a sophisticated coastal civilization where the rich and the royals wore fabrics embroidered with gold thread and precious stones.
It was the start of a turbulent struggle for control. Adventurers and soldiers of fortune mingled with a complex tribal society. Labourers and merchants from India brought new and pervasive influences. In the 1890s, the Lunatic Line, opened up the hereto ‘Dark continent’. The 900-kilometre long railway was built by hand by Indian labourers, mostly the Sikhs with a sprinkling of Muslims and Gujeratis, in a record time of six years from 1896 to 1901. It stretched from Mombasa on the east coast to Kisumu on the shores of Kenya. The Asian-African community is proudly associated with its railroad ancestry and its Kenyan roots.
Today, Kenya welcomes the world to show case its peoples, cultures, land and wildlife that’s proudly Kenyan.