Explore Kenya

Interactive Timeline

Explore our Interactive Timeline. Discover key events in Kenyan History from 1824 to the present day.

For a full timeline list Click Here

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History

The Rift Valley, which runs through the centre of Kenya, is known as “the cradle of mankind” as a result of the now famous archeological digs by the Leakey family. They discovered several hominoid skills, one of which is thought to be 3.5 million years old.

Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula and Shirazis from Persia began to visit the coast of Kenya from the 8th century AD onwards. They traded and settled there, over the years, bringing glassware, textiles and wine in return for ivory, slaves and rhino horn.

The British constructed a railway from Mombasa to Uganda and white settlers began to move into the fertile highlands north of Nairobi in search of farming land in the late 19th century. Much of this land originally belonged to either the Maasai tribe or the Kikuyu tribe; the Kikuyu nursed a particular grievance against the British and the resulting alienation of land.

In 1953 a herd of white farmer’s cattle were killed, followed shortly by a massacre of 23 Kikuyu thought to be loyal to the British colonial regime. The Mau Mau rebellion had begun. The British defeated the Mau Mau by 1956, but over 13,500 Africans had died and just over 100 Europeans, with a further 20,000 Kikuyus thrown into detention camps. Jomo Kenyatta (a Kikuyu) was arrested and put on trial for allegedly being a Mau Mau leader and sentenced to seven years in a remote jail in Turkana (N.W. Kenya).

Independence came to Kenya on 12 December, 1963 with Kenyatta as the first president. He died in 1978 and under his rule, Kenya was to become one of the most stable and prosperous African nations.

 

 

Timeline List

 

Event Date: Event Title: Event Description:
576px coat of arms of oman.svg 1st Jan, 1698 Ruled by Oman The region is ruled by Oman. After nearly 3 years of war, Arabs take over Mombasa
Union jack2 9th Feb, 1824 British Protectorate The Mombasa region is under British protectorate from 9 February 1824 to 25 July 1826.
Germany flag 1st Jan, 1890 German Coastal Regions Germany hands over rule of the coastal regions to the British Empire; in return Germany takes control of Tanganyika
1st Jan, 1890 Waiyaki Wa Henya Waiyaki Wa Henya (a Kikuyu chief) burns down Lugard’s fort
1st Jan, 1892 Waiyaki Abducted Waiyaki abducted and killed by the British
Jomokenyatta 1st Jan, 1894 Jomo Kinyatta Jomo Kinyatta is born in the early to mid 1890s.
800px flag of british east africa  1895 .svg 1st Jul, 1895 British East Africa British East Africa (modern-day Kenya and Uganda) becomes official
Rail1 19th Dec, 1901 First Railway The first railway in Kenya (from Mombasa to Lake Victoria) is completed
1st Jan, 1902 The East Africa Protectorate allows white settles The East Africa Protectorate allows white settles to move to the more fertile highlands and farm there.
435px koeh 189 1st Jan, 1905 Coffee British settlers start growing coffee in Kenya
1st Jan, 1907 Nairobi replaces Mombasa Nairobi replaces Mombasa as the centre of colonial power
22nd Aug, 1914 Kenyans fight for Britain 200,000 Kenyans fight for Britain in WWI. 50,000 die
1st Mar, 1957 First African elections First African elections to the Legislative Council
Bundesarchiv b 145 bild f021917 0014  kenia  staatsbesuch bundespr sident l bke 14th Aug, 1961 Kenyatta Freed Kenyatta is freed from jail and assumes presidency of Kanu.
Kenya 12th Dec, 1963 Kenyan Independence Kenya granted independence. KANU (Kenya African National Union) forms an emergency government with Kenyatta as prime minister.
12th Dec, 1964 Republic of Kenya Republic of Kenya formed. KANU’s leader Kenyatta becomes president, and Odinga vice-president.
1st Jan, 1966 Kenya People’s Union A rival party, the Kenya People’s Union (KPU) is formed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
Mboya 5th Jul, 1969 Tom Mboya Assassination of government minister Tom Mboya sparks ethnic unrest. KPU banned and Odinga arrested. Kanu only party to contest elections, Kenya is now a single party state
Jomokenyatta 1st Jan, 1974 Kenyatta re-elected. Kenyatta is re-elected.
Jomokenyatta 22nd Aug, 1978 Kenyatta dies Kenya's president, Jomo Kenyatta, died at his home in Mombasa.
Kenya moi 14th Oct, 1978 Daniel arap Moi Former Vice-President Daniel arap Moi becomes President
1st Jun, 1982 One-party State Kenya officially becomes a one-party state after the National Assembly amends the constitution.
1st Aug, 1982 Military Coup Attempt Members of the Kenyan Air Force attempt a military coup, suppressed by the Kenyan Army – Private Hezekiah Ochuka rules Kenya for about six hours.
Africa 4th Mar, 1986 Out of Africa ‘Out of Africa’, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep and filmed in Kenya, is released
1st Jan, 1987 International Allegations International allegations that opposition groups suppressed, and some criticism of human rights issues.
Leakey 1st Jan, 1989 Dr. Richard Leakey Moi appoints Dr. Richard Leakey the director of Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS). Leakey fires 2,000 game-park officials who are suspected of helping poachers kill rhinos and elephants for their ivory tusks and valuable horns.
Ouko 12th Feb, 1990 Robert Ouko Dies Death of the foreign minister, Robert Ouko, in possibly suspicious circumstances, leads to increased dissent against government.
1st Aug, 1991 Forum for the Restoration of Democracy Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford) formed by six opposition leaders, including Oginga Odinga. Party outlawed and members arrested. Creditors suspend aid to Kenya amid fierce international condemnation.
1st Dec, 1991 Climate Change Conference Nairobi Conference of Global Warming and Climate Change represents Kenya taking a leading role on climate change in Africa.
1st Dec, 1991 Constitution Re-amended The constitution is re-amended. Kenya is no longer a single-party state
1st Jan, 1992 2,000 people killed Approximately 2,000 people killed in tribal conflict in the west of the country.
Kenya moi 1st Dec, 1992 Moi Re-elected Moi wins another 5-year term in office
1st Jan, 1994 Conference on Policy Options Conference on Policy Options and Responses to Climate Change in Nairobi continues Kenya’s international Climate Change role.
1st Jan, 1995 Safina Launched New opposition party - Safina - launched by palaeontologist Richard Leakey. Party refused official registration until November 1997.
1st Jan, 1997 Demonstrations Calling for Democratic Reform Demonstrations calling for democratic reform. World Bank withholds disbursement of $5bn in structural adjustment credit.
Kenya moi 1st Dec, 1997 Moi re-elected Again Moi re-elected again in controversial elections (KANU party majority).
Leakey 1st Jan, 1999 Government Drive Against Corruption. Moi appoints Richard Leakey to head government drive against corruption.
Mwai kibaki 22nd Dec, 2002 Election of President Mwai Kibaki The candidate of NARC - National Rainbow Coalition (formed as an effect of unification of opposition parties and a faction) received majority of vote and became the third President of Kenya. The door for democracy opened wider.
1st Jul, 2004 Food Crisis Harvest failure and drought resulted in a food crisis which affected numerous dwellers of rural areas in Kenya; they were supported by UN. President Mwai Kibaki named the crisis a natural disaster.
Shows certificate long 3 8th Oct, 2004 Wangari Maathai rewarded with the Noble Peace Prize Kenyan environmental and political activist, Wangari Maathai, became the first African woman to be given the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace".
China oil 28th Apr, 2006 Oil Contract with China A trade contract was signed letting China to prospect for oil off the coast of Kenya.
30kenya.large2 30th Dec, 2007 Elections and Aftermath Violence In the late afternoon of 30 December 2007, the Election Commission of Kenya declared Mwai Kibaki to be the winner of the country’s election, the count of which was considered by both national and international observers as flawed, possibly rigged. Political tensions during elections led to riots and the death of more than 1,500 people. It was in fact a seven-week flood of violence in parts of the country : deaths, displacements, destruction of property, disruption of social and economic life.
Constitution 27th Aug, 2010 Ratification of Changed Constitution President Mwai Kibaki ratified a new Constitution. It has limited presidential prerogatives, and empowered local government. Chapter 15 of the constitution creates two independent offices (auditor general and controller of the budget) and 10 commissions (see full list below)
Icc international criminal court logo 15th Dec, 2010 International Criminal Court issues summons into the responsibility for the 2007–2008 post-election violence Six prominent Kenyans have to appear in front of the ICC on the basis that there existed reasonable grounds to believe that they were criminally responsible for crimes against humanity, pursuant to article 7 of the Rome Statute. The men were: Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, President of the National Security Committee, Hussein Ali, former education minister William Ruto, radio journalist Joshua Arap SaSang and minister for Industrialisation, Henry Kosge
Mau mau 007 21st Jul, 2011 British responsibility in the Mau Mau uprising Kenyan Veterans win the right to sue the British government in a British court for severe abuse they suffered during the Mau Mau Rebellion.
Kenya troops 16th Oct, 2011 Troops in Somalia After a series of cross-border raids by the Somalia-based Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, Kenya dispatched some 2,000 troops across the border into Somalia.
Oilpump kenya 26th Mar, 2012 Oil discovered in Kenya President Kibaki hails it as a ''major breakthrough''. Launch of Lamu port project which is to become South Sudan's oil export outlet.
Mau mau 007 17th Jul, 2012 Britain acknowledges responsibility Colonial administration tortured detainees during the Mau Mau uprising. Veterans are claiming damages in the High Court in London.
1st Sep, 2012 Outbreaks of violence More than 100 people are killed in communal clashes over land and resources Coast Province.
Icc international criminal court logo 3rd Dec, 2012 ICC Trial Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and former minister William Ruto - bitter political rivals facing trial at the International Criminal Court over the 2007 post-election violence - confirm that are forming an alliance for the 2013 election.
Uhuru kenyatta official 9th Mar, 2013 Presidential Elections Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president, wins presidential election with just over 50% of the vote. A challenge to the results by his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is rejected by the Supreme Court. International Criminal Court (ICC) drops charges against Francis Muthaura, a co-accused of Mr Kenyatta, over the 2007 election violence.
6th Jun, 2013 British government ... sincerely regrets The British government says it sincerely regrets the torture of thousands of Kenyans during the suppression of the Mau Mau insurgency in the 1950s and promises £20m in compensation.
Ruto icc 10th Sep, 2013 William Ruto pleads not guilty Deputy President William Ruto pleads not guilty to crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court. He and President Uhuru Kenyatta are accused of orchestrating violence after elections in 2007, and will be tried separately at The Hague.
1024px smoke above westgate mall 21st Sep, 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack Somali al-Shabab militants seize Westgate, a Nairobi shopping mall and kill more than 60 people
79b1f11f1d25dc4d78ad1824b16fb8d9 12th Dec, 2013 Kenya celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence Kenya Marks 50 Years of Independence in an exuberant ceremony at a stadium outside Nairobi with a call for greater national unity to overcome longtime ethnic divisions. President Kenyatta says the way forward for Kenya is greater integration with African nations. He announced new initiatives to this end, including the easing of visa requirements for African citizens to travel to Kenya.
Obama 4th Aug, 2014 United States- Africa Leaders Summit President Obama welcomed leaders from across the African continent to the nation’s capital for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Discussions centered on how to encourage progress in key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.