East Africa

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██ Eastern Africa (UN subregion) ██ East African Community ██ Central African Federation (defunct) ██ geographic, including above

East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easternmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. "East Africa" commonly refers to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and sometimes Rwanda and Burundi, whereas "Eastern Africa", a UN scheme of geographic regions, refers to 19 territories throughout the eastern part of Africa:

Geographically, Egypt and Sudan are sometimes included in this region.


[edit] Geography

Some parts of East Africa have been renowned for their concentrations of wild animals, such as the "big five" of elephant, water buffalo, lion, leopard and rhinoceros, though populations have been declining under increased stress in recent times, particularly the rhino and elephant.

The geography of East Africa is often stunning and scenic. Shaped by global plate techonic forces that have created the Great Rift Valley, East Africa is the site of Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the two tallest peaks in Africa. It also includes the world's second largest freshwater lake Lake Victoria, and the world's second deepest lake Lake Tanganyika.

The unique geography and apparent suitability for farming made East Africa a target for European exploration, exploitation and colonialization in the nineteenth century. Today, tourism is an important part of the economies of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

[edit] History

[edit] Period of European Imperialism

East Africa during the 19th and early 20th century became a theatre of competition between the major imperialistic European nations of the time. During the period of the Scramble for Africa, almost every country comprising the nowadays East African region became part of a European colonial empire.

Portugal had first among other European nations established a strong presence in southern Mozambique, while during this period their possessions increasingly grew including parts from the present northern Mozambique country. At Lake Malawi, they finally met the recently created British Protectorate of Nyasaland (nowadays Malawi), which surrounded the homonymous lake on three sides, leaving the Portuguese the control of lake's eastern coast.

The British Empire set foot in the region's most exploitable and promising lands acquiring what is today Uganda, and Kenya. The Protectorate of Uganda and the Colony of Kenya were located in a rich farmland area mostly appropriate for the cultivation of cash crops like coffee and tea, as well as for animal husbandry with products produced from cattle and goats, such as goat meat, beef and milk. Moreover this area had the potential for a significant residential expansion, being suitable for the relocation of a large number of British nationals to the region. Prevailing climatic conditions and the regions' geomorphology allowed the establishment of flourishing European style settlements like Nairobi and Entebbe.

The French settled the biggest island of the Indian ocean (and the 4th globally), Madagascar along with a group of smaller islands nearby, namely Reunion and the Comoros. Madagascar until then under British control, was ceded to the French empire, in exchange for the island of Zanzibar an important hub of spices trade, off the coast of Tanganyika. The British as well held a number of island colonies in the region. The Seychelles an extended archipelago and the rich farmland island of Mauritius, previously under the French sovereignty, were as such.

The German empire gained control of a large area named German East Africa, comprised from what is today Rwanda, Burundi and the mainland part of Tanzania named Tanganyika. In 1922, the British gained a League of Nations mandate over Tanganyika which it administered until Independence was granted to Tanganyika in 1961. Following the Zanzibar Revolution of 1965, the independent state of Tanganyika formed the United Republic of Tanzania by creating a union between the mainland, and the island chain of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is now a semi-autonomous state in a union with the mainland which is collectively and commonly referred to as Tanzania. German East Africa, though very extensive, was not of such strategic importance as the British Crown's colonies to the north: the inhabitation of these lands was difficult and thus limited, mainly due to climatic conditions and the local geomorphology.

The southern three-fourths of Somalia became an Italian protectorate (Italian Somaliland), while a narrow coastal strip of northern Somalia remained under British control (British Somaliland). This northern coast was just opposite the British colony of Aden on the Arabian Peninsula; together, they served as the gatekeeper of the sea lane leading to the British Raj. The French also had their own outpost on their route to Indochina, the small protectorate of Djibouti, also named French Somaliland.

By then, the Orthodox empire of Ethiopia alone stood independent. Later, beginning with the Italians buying a small port town (Assab) from a local sultan in Eritrea, they were able to colonize Eritrea, while Ethiopia remained independent (though it was briefly occupied from 1936-1941 by Italy during World War II).

[edit] Politics

Until recently most governments were illiberal and corrupt, and several countries were riven with political coups, ethnic violence and oppressive dictators. Since the end of colonialism, the region has endured:

Kenya has enjoyed relatively stable government. However politics has been extremely problemmatic and turbulent in Kenya with an attempted coup de etat in 1985, devastating tribal clashes in the 1990s, and further political turmoil throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

The Awdal region of Somalia too has seen relative stability.

Tanzania has known stable government since independence although there are significant political and religious tensions resulting from the political union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1965. Zanzibar is now a semi-autonomous state in the United Republic of Tanzania.

[edit] See also

ar:شرق أفريقيا

bg:Източна Африка ca:Àfrica Oriental cs:Východní Afrika cy:Dwyrain Affrica de:Ostafrika es:África Oriental fr:Afrique de l'Est ko:동아프리카 hr:Istočna Afrika id:Afrika Timur is:Austur-Afríka it:Africa Orientale sw:Afrika ya Mashariki ms:Afrika Timur nl:Oost-Afrika no:Østafrika ja:東アフリカ nn:Aust-Afrika pl:Afryka Wschodnia pt:África Oriental ru:Восточная Африка sq:Afrika lindore sr:Источна Африка sh:Istočna Afrika fi:Itä-Afrikka sv:Östafrika tl:Silangang Aprika ta:கிழக்கு ஆபிரிக்கா zh:东部非洲

East Africa

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