• Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Aboriginal hunter-gatherers—possibly ancestors of the Okiek who live on the Rift Valley’s Mau escarpment—were Kenya’s earliest inhabitants. Cushitic-speaking cattle-herders migrated south from the horn of Africa from around 1500 BC, followed by Nilo-Saharan pastoralists and, from early in the first millennium AD, Bantu-speaking farmers from western Cameroon settled. Prominent Bantu groups include the Kikuyu, the Kamba, the Luhya and the Meru, while speakers of Nilotic languages include the Luo, Maasai, Samburu and Turkana. Muslim seafarers from the Arabian peninsula (Oman) established trading settlements along the Kenyan coast from the seventh century, with thriving ports like Lamu and Mombasa developing a distinctive African-Arabic ‘Swahili’ culture.


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Further Reading

  1. Anderson, David, Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire. 2005Google Scholar
  2. Elkins, Caroline, Britain’s Gulag. 2005; US title: Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of the End of Empire in Kenya. 2005Google Scholar
  3. Haugerud, A., The Culture of Politics in Modern Kenya. 1995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kyle, Keith, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya. 1999CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Miller, N. N., Kenya: the Quest for Prosperity. 2nd ed. 1994Google Scholar
  6. Murunga, Godwin R. and Nasong’o, Shadrack W., Kenya: The Struggle for Democracy. 2007Google Scholar
  7. Ogot, B. A. and Ochieng, W. R. (eds.) Decolonization and Independence in Kenya, 1940–93. 1995Google Scholar
  8. Throup, David and Hornsby, Charles, Multi-Party Politics in Kenya. 1999Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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