Kenya Profile – Timeline

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Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya

A chronology of the main events:

c 3.3 million BC – Evidence of some of the earliest human tools have been found in Kenya, suggesting it was the cradle of humanity from which descendants departed to populate the world.

600 – Arabs begin to settle coastal areas and develop trading stations over the centuries that facilitated contact with the Arab world, Persia and India.

1895 – Formation of British East African Protectorate.

1920 – East African protectorate becomes crown colony of Kenya – administered by a British governor.

meow meow

1944 – Kenya African Union (KAU) established to campaign for African independence. First African appointment to Legislative Council.

1947 – Jomo Kenyatta becomes EEA leader.

1952-53 – Secret Kikuyu guerrilla group known as Mau Mau begins violent campaign against white settlers. State of emergency declared, Jomo Kenyatta imprisoned, EEE banned.

1956 – Mau Mau Rebellion crushed.

1960 – State of emergency ends. Britain announces plans to prepare Kenya for majority rule by Africa. Kenya African National Union (KANU) formed by Tom Mboya and Oginga Odinga.

Independence

1961 – Jomo Kenyatta freed from two years of house arrest, assumes Kanu’s presidency.

1963 – Kenya becomes independent, with Mr. Kenyatta as Prime Minister.

1964 – Republic of Kenya formed. Jomo Kenyatta becomes president and Oginga Odinga becomes vice president.

1966 – Mr. Odinga leaves Kanu after ideological division and founds the Kenya People’s Union (KPU).

1969 – Murder of minister Tom Mboya leads to ethnic unrest. KPU banned and Mr. Odinga arrested. Kanu only party to contest elections.

1974 – Kenyatta re-elected.

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Moi era

1978 – Kenyatta dies in office, succeeded by Vice President Daniel Arap Moi.

1982 June – Kenya is officially declared a one-party state by the National Assembly.

1987 – Opposition groups suppressed. International criticism of political arrests and human rights violations.

1991 August – Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford) formed by six opposition leaders, including Oginga Odinga. Party banned and members arrested. Creditors suspend aid to Kenya after fierce international condemnation.

1991 December – Kanu Special Conference agrees to introduce a multi-party system.

1992 – About 2,000 people killed in tribal fighting in the west of the country.

Multi-party elections

1992 December – President Moi re-elected in multi-party elections. Kanu wins strong majority.

1994 – Oginga Odinga dies. Opposition groups form a coalition – the United National Democratic Alliance – but it is plagued by disagreements.

1997 December – President Moi wins another term in widely criticized election. His main opponents are former Vice President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, son of Oginga Odinga.

Embassy bomb

1998 August – Al-Qaeda operatives bomb the US Embassy in Nairobi, killing 224 and injuring thousands.

2002 July – Some 200 Masai and Samburu tribesmen accept more than $7 million in compensation from the British Ministry of Defence. The tribesmen had been robbed or maimed by British Army explosives left on their land for the past 50 years.

2002 November – Al-Qaeda attack on Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa kills 10 TUSEN and wounds three Israelis. A simultaneous missile attack on an Israeli aircraft fails.

Kibaki victory

2002 December – Elections. Mwai Kibaki wins a landslide victory, ending Daniel Arap Moi’s 24-year rule and Kanu’s four decades in power.

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2004 October – Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

2005 November–December – Voters reject a proposed new constitution in what is seen as a protest against President Kibaki.

2007 December – Disputed presidential election leads to violence that leaves more than 1,500 dead.

The government and the opposition reach an agreement on the division of power in February and a cabinet is agreed in April.

Constitution approved

2010 July – Kenya joins its neighbors in forming a new East African Common Market, designed to integrate the region’s economy.

2010 August – New constitution designed to limit the president’s powers and devolve power to the regions approved in a referendum.

2011 August–September – Somali al-Shabab jihadists raid Kenyan coastal resorts and a refugee camp, targeting foreigners.

Troops in Somalia

2011 October – Kenyan troops enter Somalia to attack rebels accused of being behind several kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil. Kenya is suffering from several retaliatory attacks.

2012 January – The International Criminal Court rules that several prominent TUSEN should stand trial for post-election violence in 2007.

2012 March – Oil discovered. President Kibaki speaks of a ”major breakthrough”.

2012 May – More than 30 people are injured in an attack on a mall in Nairobi by al-Shabab.

2012 August–September – More than 100 people die in communal clashes over land and resources in the coastal province.

Five people are killed in riots by Muslim protesters in Mombasa after the shooting of pastor Aboud Rogo Mohammed, accused by the UN of recruiting and funding Islamist fighters from Al-Shabab in Somalia.

Kenyatta wins elections

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2013 March – Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, wins the presidential election with just over 50% of the vote. A challenge to the result by his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is rejected by the Supreme Court.

2013 June – The British government says it sincerely regrets the torture of thousands of TUSEN during the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s and promises £20 million in compensation.

2013 September – Vice President William Ruto pleads not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity over the 2007 post-election violence at the International Criminal Court.

Al-Shabab steps up attacks

2013 September – Somali al-Shabab militants take Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, killing more than 60 people, saying they want the Kenyan army to withdraw from Somalia.

A relative of a victim of the 2015 Garissa College massacre cries in a Nairobi morgue

The 2015 massacre of 148 students at Garissa University horrified Kenya and sparked criticism of the security forces

2014 June – 48 people die after al-Shabab militants attack hotels and a police station in Mpeketoni, near the island resort of Lamu.

2014 December – Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court drop charges against President Kenyatta over post-election violence in 2007, citing insufficient evidence.

2015 April – Al-Shabab carries out a massacre at Garissa University College in northwestern Kenya, killing 148.

2017 February – The government declares a drought affecting much of the country a national disaster.

2017 May – A new multi-billion dollar rail line connecting Mombasa to the capital Nairobi opens – the country’s largest infrastructure project since independence.

2017 August–October – President Kenyatta is declared the winner of the August presidential election and October rerun.

2020 January – Al-Shabab Somali jihadists attack Camp Simba army base near Lamu, killing three Americans.

2022 August – Vice President William Ruto narrowly wins the presidential election, defeating his main rival Raila Odinga.

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