Nairobi is located in an area once frequented by the pastoral Masai. Founded in the late 1890s, Nairobi served as a British railroad camp on the Mombasa-to-Uganda railroad. From 1899 to 1905 it served as a British provincial capital. In 1905 the Nairobi became the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate (called Kenya Colony from 1920 to 1963). In 1963 Nairobi became the capital of independent Kenya and annexed neighboring areas for future growth.
Nairobi was founded in 1899 as a supply depot for the Uganda Railway which was being constructed between Mombasa and Uganda. It was totally rebuilt in the early 1900s after an outbreak of plague and the burning of the original town. Thereafter the settlement continued to grow, becoming the capital of the British East African Protectorate in 1907 and the capital of the newly independent Kenya in 1963
Until the late 19th century, Nairobi was therefore a watering hole for the Maasai people. Later the building of the Mombasa to Uganda railway, made the place became a convenient place for the Indian railway labourers and their British bosses to pause midway, before climbing into the highlands. Nairobi grew to become a tent city and a supply depot. By 1900 it was a town with substantial buildings; five years later and it overtook Mombasa and became the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate.
White settlers soon began to settle in the highlands north of Nairobi. This led to fights with the local Maasai and, later, the Kikuyu. Farms and ranches were established. The number of white settlers rose to 9000 by 1920 and, by the 1950s, it was 80,000. Displaced from their lands, the locals moved to Nairobi and formed associations to defend for their land and organize how to repossess what was already taken by the white settlers.
Before world war 2, Kenya's white rulers
cared less about the needs of the Kenyan people. However, African troops
returning from the war were motivated and determined to get rid of the
white settlers. This gave birth to the now known Mau Mau rebellion, which
mainly involved the Kikuyu and raged until 1956. Soon afterwards, Kenyatta
(who was later to become Kenya’s president) was jailed and later placed
under house arrest until 1961. The British colonists gave up and on 12
December 1963, Kenya gained independence, with Kenyatta as its first president.
Throughout the 20th century, Nairobi continued to grow and is now the
largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg.
Kenya Safaris home page
©Copyright Kenya Space