President: Uhuru Kenyatta (2013)
Deputy President: William Ruto (2013)
Land area: 219,788 sq mi (569,251 sq km); total area: 224,961 sq mi (582,650 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 45,010,056 (growth rate: 2.11%); birth rate: 28.27/1000; infant mortality rate: 40.71/1000; life expectancy: 63.52
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Nairobi, 3.363 million
Other large city: Mombasa, 972,000
Monetary unit: Kenya shilling
Kenya lies across the equator in east-central Africa, on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is twice the size of Nevada. Kenya borders Somalia to the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. In the north, the land is arid; the southwest corner is in the fertile Lake Victoria Basin; and a length of the eastern depression of the Great Rift Valley separates western highlands from those that rise from the lowland coastal strip.
Paleontologists believe people may first have inhabited Kenya about 2 million years ago. In the 700s, Arab seafarers established settlements along the coast, and the Portuguese took control of the area in the early 1500s. More than 40 ethnic groups reside in Kenya. Its largest group, the Kikuyu, migrated to the region at the beginning of the 18th century.
The land became a British protectorate in 1890 and a Crown colony in 1920, called British East Africa. Nationalist stirrings began in the 1940s, and in 1952 the Mau Mau movement, made up of Kikuyu militants, rebelled against the government. The fighting lasted until 1956.