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Nairobi is the largest city and the capital city of the Republic of Kenya, its population nearly three times that of the country's second-largest city, Mombasa.

Nairobi is bordered to the north by Kiambu, and makes up part of the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan region, which consists of five of the forty-seven counties of Kenya.

Until the Uganda Railway built a supply depot there in 1899, the area that was to become Nairobi was little more than a swamp. When the depot became the headquarters of the railroad, a settlement grew up around it, and the resulting city got its name from a water hole that was known as Enkare Nairobi. The original city was burned in the early 1900s after a plague. That, as well as malaria, were problems in the early days of the city.

In 1905, Britain moved the capital of British Kenya from Mombasa to Nairobi, after which the city grew rapidly around its administrative offices. Tourism became important as the British began to use Nairobi as a base to explore the surrounding region, with big game hunting being a significant draw. Several hotels were built to accommodate British tourists and adventure seekers. British subjects also settled within the suburbs of Nairobi, growing the city outward.

The expansion of the city angered the Massai, who occupied the lands to the south, as well as the Kikuyu, whose ancestral lands included that taken up by Nairobi. Dissention led to the Mau Mau Rebellion, which lasted from 1952 to 1960, pitting native tribes against the British occupiers, although not all of the Kikuyu were anti-British, and some fought on the side of the British as part of the Kenya Regiment of the British Army. The revolt ended with the capture of the rebel leader in late October of 1956. Although the British were victorious, their victory came at a large monetary cost, and the uprising cause a rift between the colonial community and the United Kingdom, as well as long-lasting divisions within the Kikuyu people.

These pressures led to the British granting independence to Kenya in 1963, after which Nairobi became the capital of the new country. The city grew rapidly after independence. In fact, it soon outgrew its infrastructure, and water and electric outages were common until the city was able to correct the problems.

The Kenyatta International Conference Centre, a 28-story building in the City Square, was opened in 1973, and Nairobi Airport was expanded during the 1970s, and was renamed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Nairobi is adjacent to the eastern portion of the Rift Valley, between Kampala and Mombasa. The Ngong Hills are the area's most prominent geographical feature. The city has several parks and open spaces, including tree cover. Its largest, Uhuru Park, borders the city's central business district and the Upper Hill neighborhood, and has often been the site of speeches and rallies. Nairobi is one of few cities that have a national park within its boundaries, and Nairobi National Park is the only game reserve bordering a capital city.

Nairobi serves as the regional headquarters of several international companies and organizations, including Airtel, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Google, IBM Services, and Young & Rubicam. Several of Africa's companies are headquartered in Nairobi as well, including KenGen, and Kenya Airways is the fourth largest airline in Africa. Additionally, the United Nations has office in Nairobi, along with several governmental embassies and consulates.

Several universities and colleges are within the boundaries of Nairobi, including the largest and oldest university in Kenya, the University of Nairobi. Others include Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Compugoal College, East Africa Christian University, East Africa Institute of Certified Studies, KCA University, Kenyatta University, Pan African Christian University, Presbyterian University of East Africa, Strathmore University, Technical University of Kenya, and United States International University, as well as satellite campuses of other universities.

Most of Kenya's news and media organizations are headquartered in Nairobi, including the African Great Lakes region's largest newspapers.

Nairobi was founded by the British, and is not an ancient city. Everything in Nairobi has been built since the early 1900s or later. Although the city was blighted by frequent fires, malaria, and an outbreak of the plague, it had become the capital of British East Africa by 1907. Some magnificent hotels were built to accommodate European tourists early on, and Nairobi National Park became the first national park in East Africa in 1946. After independence, Nairobi grew too rapidly, but the new government eventually put things back in order. Although Nairobi still faces challenges, such as terrorist attacks, it continues to prosper.


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