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Nairobi History, Kenya

Nairobi, the capital and the largest city of Kenya, has had its share of history. Although it is a new city, it has grown into large proportions in both population and economy. In fact, it is the most populous city in East Africa. It name has been derived from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to 'the place of cool waters'. However, as of current, it is more popularly known as the Green City in the Sun. The area where the city currently lays was an uninhabited swamp area before any civilization came upon it.

It came to life in 1899 when it became a depot and eventually a headquarters of the Ugandan railway due to its central position between Mombassa and Kampala. Another reason would be its known network of rivers that could supply the depot with water. Its elevation, which is 1661 meters above sea level, makes it hard for malaria mosquitoes to survive.  It was totally rebuilt in the early 1900s after an outbreak of plague and the burning of the original town.

With its strategic location, it replaced Mombassa as capital of the British protectorate in 1905. Its popularity rose on the bases of tourism and big game hunting. In fact, when the British colonialists started to explore the region, they started using Nairobi as their first port of call prompting the colonial government to build several spectacular grand hotels in the city. 

In 1919, Nairobi became a municipality. After the end of World War II, the growing friction between the Maasai and the Kikuyu people over the British expansion of the city developed into the Mau Mau rebellion. In fact, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's future president was among those jailed for rebellion without any specific proof. 

In 1963, when the pressure of the locals proved to be unbearable to the British, the country was officially free with Nairobi as its first capital. This independence started the growth of the economy of Kenya. Although there were shortages along the way, they were able to recover from it. The recent bombing in 1998 did not mar the growing popularity of the city. In fact, it provided the perfect stepping-stone for the city to bounce back and become the cultural and business hub of that side of Africa. With this, it makes Nairobi and intelligent choice for visitors because of its general peace and overall booming economy.


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