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Formerly known as Port Florence, Kisumu City is an inland port city on Lake Victoria. It is the third largest city in Kenya, and the largest in Western Kenya. Like Nairobi, Kisumu was founded in 1901 as a terminal of the Uganda Railway, serving as its chief inland terminal.

Because of its location on the shores of Lake Victoria, a trading post was there even before the railroad was built. Its name is a derivative of a Luo word for “I am going to trade,” which was kisuma. One of the oldest settlements in Kenya, Kisumu was a trading place for people from the Abaluhya, Abagusii, Kalenjin, Luo, Nandi, and Maasai people before the Europeans arrived.

British explorers cited the location as a railway terminus and port for the Uganda Railway as early as 1898, around the time that Nairobi was being built. Situated at the cusp of the Winam Gulf, on the shores of Lake Victoria, the location would allow the railroad to connect to steamboats operating on the lake. When the rail line reached the pier at Kisumu, the British named the town Port Florence, although that name was used for only about a year.

By the 1940s, Kisumu had developed into a center for administrative offices, military installations, and commercial enterprises. Its significance was enhanced by the fact that Lake Victoria borders on Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and is very close to the borders of Burundi and Rwanda.

Kisumu became a municipality in 1940, and a municipal council in 1960, and a city in 1996. Kisumu is also the capital city of Kisumu County. Once heavily populated by Europeans and Asians, when Kenya became independent in 1963, an influx of locals came into the town as many of the outsiders left. There was very little development within the city in the 1960s and 1970s, despite a shortage of homes, shops, and business sites. However, currently the city is growing rapidly, benefiting greatly from surrounding sugar and rice irrigation industries. As just over half of the usable agricultural land in the Kisumu region is under production, there is room for further growth in these industries. Much of its shoreline is underused, as well.

Attractions in Kisumu include the Kibuye Market and the Oile Market, the Kisumu Museum, and Ndere Island National Park. The region also hosts impala and bird sanctuaries.

Kisumu is served by the Kisumu Airport, an international airport with daily flights to Nairobi and elsewhere. Several ferries operate on Lake Victoria. Although there Uganda Railway is still in operation, there are currently no passenger trains running.

There are several primary and secondary schools operating in Kisumu, as well as colleges and universities, and branches of larger institutions headquartered elsewhere.

Kisumu County is one of the newer counties in Kenya, its boundaries following those of the former Kisumu District. Kisumu County is bordered by Homa Bay County, Kericho County, Nandi County, Nyamira County, Siaya County, and Vihiga County. It also has a shoreline along Lake Victoria. Its capital city is the Kisumu City.

Most of the population of the county are people of the Luo ethnic group, which is the third largest in Kenya, and one of the largest in East Africa. The descendants of people who had come from India to build the Uganda Railway in the early 1900s form a significant minority.

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