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Friday 24th May
Kenya Facts
The Great Rift Valley, which runs the length of Kenya, was formed twenty million years ago; it was created when the earth's crust ripped apart. Many volcanic mountains were formed and there are hot springs along the Rift.

Mount Kenya (5,199 m) is the second highest mountain in Africa. (Mount Kilimanjaro, which is in Tanzania along the Kenyan border, is the highest peak on the continent).

At the end of the nineteenth century the Aberdare Mountains were named after the President of the Royal Geographical Society, Lord Aberdare.

East Africa has been called The Cradle of Mankind.

Evidence of the use of fire dating back to around one and a half million years ago has been found in Chesowanya and Koobi Fora.

The famous Leakey family of paleontologists, led by Louis and Mary Leakey, discovered many early human fossils in Kenya and Tanzania.

Members of the Leakey family discovered the 1.9 million years old skull of Homo habilius in Tanzania; Richard Leakey is credited with the find of an almost complete Homo erectus skeleton "Turkana Boy" (1.5 million years old) in the Rift Valley in Kenya in 1984.

Lamu, Kenya's oldest town, is an example of a Swahili settlement.

Mombasa, East Africa's largest port, has been a major port since the fifteenth century.

The Omani ruler, Seyyid Said, took control of the Kenyan trade routes in the eighteenth century. The slave trade flourished and slaves were shipped to plantations on Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania).

The British East African Protectorate was established in 1895.

In 1887 Count Teleki, the Hungarian explorer, reached Lake Turkana which he named Lake Rudolf.

Karen Blixen, the Danish writer who lived in Kenya between 1913-31, wrote Out of Africa about her experiences.

Elspeth Huxley's book, The Flame Trees of Thika, is based on her childhood on a coffee plantation in Kenya.

Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker, was born in Nairobi in 1941.

George and Joy Adamson lived in Kora on the Tana River. Born Free is Joy's book about Elsa the lioness.

After many years of campaigning for independence for Kenya Jomo Kenyatta became the country's President (1963-1978).

Tom Mboya, a trade unionist and civil rights leader, was assassinated in 1969.

Kenya is a member of the Commonwealth.

A bomb attack against the US embassy in Nairobi (August 1998) resulted in thousands of casualties. Over two hundred people were killed.

In November 2002 sixteen people were killed by suicide bombers at the Israeli-run Paradise Hotel near the port city of Mombasa. Minutes before, a missile attack on a Boeing 757 plane returning to Israel missed its target.

Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Professor Maathai is the first African woman to win the award.

On 26 December 2004, a quake occurred under the sea near Aceh in north Indonesia (8.9 on the Richter scale); this produced tsunamis causing flooding and destruction in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and the east coast of Africa (Kenya and Somalia).

Presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of December 2007 sparked a wave of unrest and violence. Many people lost their lives and many more had to leave their homes.

In 2009 around one third of the population was in need of food aid.

Oil was discovered in 2012.

At the beginning of 2017 a drought affecting a large part of the country was declared a national disaster.

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