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East Africa

Belongs to subject History of Eastern Africa

Eastern region of the African continent

East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern region of the African continent, variably defined by geography. In the United Nations Statistics Division scheme of geographic regions, 20 territories make up Eastern Africa:

Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are members of the East African Community (EAC). The first five are also included in the African Great Lakes region. Burundi and Rwanda are at times also considered to be part of Central Africa. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia – collectively known as the Horn of Africa. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent, and is sometimes considered a separate region from East Africa. Mozambique and Madagascar – often considered part of Southern Africa, on the eastern side of the sub-continent. Sudan and South Sudan (newly independent from Sudan) – Situated in the northeastern portion of the continent, the Sudans are often included in Northern Africa. Also members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) free trade area. Due to colonial territories of the British East Africa Protectorate and German East Africa, the term East Africa is often (especially in the English language) used to specifically refer to the area now comprising the three countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The geography of East Africa is often stunning and scenic. Shaped by global plate tectonic forces that have created the East African Rift, East Africa is the site of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the two tallest peaks in Africa. The climate of East Africa is rather atypical of equatorial regions. The unique geography and apparent suitability for farming made East Africa a target for European exploration, exploitation and colonialization in the nineteenth century. According to the theory of the recent African origin of modern humans, the predominantly held belief among most archaeologists, East Africa is the area where anatomically modern humans first appeared. This Bantu expansion introduced agriculture into much of the African Great Lakes region. During the following fifteen centuries, the Bantu slowly intensified farming and grazing over all suitable regions of East Africa, in the process making contact with Austronesian- and Arabic-speaking settlers on southern coastal areas. After their movements from their original homeland in West Africa, Bantus also encountered in central east Africa peoples of Cushitic origin. With its original speech community centered on the coastal parts of Tanzania (particularly Zanzibar) and Kenya—Between the 14th and 15th centuries, large African Great Lakes kingdoms and states emerged, such as the Buganda and Karagwe kingdoms of Uganda and Tanzania.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the region of current-day Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique by sea. Portuguese rule in the African Great Lakes region focused mainly on a coastal strip centered around Mombasa. At this stage, the Portuguese presence in East Africa served the purposes of controlling trade within the Indian Ocean and securing the sea routes linking Europe to Asia. The Omani Arabs posed the most direct challenge to Portuguese influence in the African Great Lakes region. The Arabs reclaimed much of the Indian Ocean trade, forcing the Portuguese to retreat south where they remained in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) as sole rulers until the 1975 independence of Mozambique. Between the 19th and 20th century, East Africa 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 in the larger region to varying degrees became part of a European colonial empire. The German Empire gained control of a large area named German East Africa, comprising present-day Rwanda, Burundi and the mainland part of Tanzania named Tanganyika. Ethiopia remained independent until 1936 when, after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, it became part of Italian East Africa. In the African Great Lakes region, Niger-Congo languages of the Bantu branch are most widely spoken. It has official status in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Eastern Africa had an estimated population of 260 million in 2000. Since the end of colonialism, the region has endured the following conflicts:

Northern East Africa (Horn of Africa) Ethiopian Civil War Eritrean War of Independence 1961–1991 Eritrean-Ethiopian War Ogaden War Somali Civil War South Sudan Second Sudanese Civil War South Sudanese Civil War Southern East Africa (Southeast Africa) Burundi Civil War 1993–2005 and the Genocide of Hutus in 1972 and genocide of Tutsis in 1993 Uganda-Tanzania War Ugandan Bush War Zanzibar Revolution 1964 Outside Southeast Africa with Southeast African participation First Congo War 1996–1997 and Second Congo War Tanzania and Uganda fought the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1978–1979, which led to the removal of Uganda's despotic leader Idi Amin. Rwanda and Uganda continue to be involved in related conflicts outside the region. According to the CIA, as of 2017, the countries in the eastern Africa region have a total population of around 537.9 million inhabitants.

Largest city by population Second largest city by population

Horn of Africa

 Djibouti Djibouti City (529,000; 2018 est.) East African Community

 Uganda Kampala (1,507,114; Tanzania Dodoma Southeast Africa

 Mozambique Maputo

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