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September 2013



Terrorists killed over 60 people, wounded over 170 and held hostages in a mall in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Nairobi is the largest city in the country as well as its center for trade and industry. Although the city is only 90 miles (145 km) from the equator, it has a moderate climate, because of its high elevation.

The city was founded in 1899 as a camp on the Mombasa-Uganda railroad line. In 1905 it replaced Mombasa as the capital; the country was then Kenya Colony (a British protectorate). The city boasts several universities and large cultural collections and the Sorsbie art gallery.

Kenya gained its independence in 1963. From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, it was run largely by one political party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU). The 1990s saw elections marred by violence and fraud. In August 2010, Kenyans overwhelmingly adopted a new constitution in a national referendum. The new constitution introduced additional checks and balances to executive power and significant devolution of power and resources to 47 newly created counties. It also eliminated the position of prime minister following the first presidential election under the new constitution, which occurred on 4 March 2013.

Kenya is slightly more than twice the size of Nevada. Its terrain consists of low plains that rise to central highlands bisected by the Great Rift Valley; it has a fertile plateau in the west. The climate of Kenya varies from tropical along the coast of the Indian Ocean to arid in its interior.

CIA World Factbook, The Columbia Gazetteer, 9/2013, 9/2013

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