Nairobi, Kenya » City Info » History

Nairobi’s history dates back to 1899 when the first railway depot was built in an African swamp occupied by the Masaai, a nomadic tribe, and the Kikuyu people. The work for the railway began in 1896 and the British supply depot and railroad camp was located in the Masaai area. This supply depot turned into the railway’s headquarters and the area surrounding it came to be known as Ewaso Nyirobi meaning cool waters.
In 1900 the place was rebuilt due to an outbreak of plague. Later in 1907, Nairobi turned into a commercial center and became the capital of the British East Africa by replacing Mombasa. Nairobi flourished under the British rule and also became a home for many Britons. In 1919, the British declared Nairobi as a municipality. In 1921, Harry Thuku established the Young Kikuyu Association and began organizing protests against the British. Harry Thuku was arrested on 14th March 1922. There was a general strike by thousands of Africans in Nairobi and the British government started shooting the Protestants. The Massacre shocked people worldwide, along with the British.
Towards the end of World War II, the strife resulted into a Mau Mau Uprising. There was pressure on the British from the local people that led to Kenyan Independence in 1963. Nairobi became the capital of the new republic.