The Portuguese colonized much of the region, but the Arabs managed to evict them in 1729.In the mid-1800s, European explorers stumbled upon Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, and began to take an interest in the natural resources of East Africa.Fourteen percent is Luhya, 13 percent is Luo, 12 percent is Kalenjin, 11 percent Kamba, 6 percent Kisii, and 6 percent Meru.
Unfortunately, the animal population is threatened by both hunting and an expanding human population; wildlife numbers fell drastically through the twentieth century.
The government has introduced strict legislation regulating hunting, and has established a system of national parks to protect the wildlife. According to an estimate in July 2000, Kenya's population is 30,339,770.
Swahili, which comes from the Arabic word meaning "coast," is a mix of Arabic and the African language Bantu.
It first developed in the tenth century with the arrival of Arab traders; it was a lingua franca that allowed different tribes to communicate with each other and with the Arabs.
Christian missionaries came as well, drawn by the large numbers of prospective converts.
Britain gradually increased its domain in the region, and in 1884–1885, Kenya was named a British protectorate by the Congress of Berlin, which divided the African continent among various European powers.
Some Arabs settled in the area and intermarried with local groups.
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Mombasa in 1498, after discovering a sailing route around the Cape of Good Hope.
There are more than forty ethnic groups in the country.
The largest of these is the Kikuyu, representing 22 percent of the population.
The British constructed the Uganda Railway, which connected the ports on Kenya's coast to landlocked Uganda.