1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nairobi

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NAIROBI, capital of the British East Africa protectorate and of the province of Ukamba, 327 m. by rail N.W. of Mombasa and 257 m. S.E. of Port Florence on Victoria Nyanza. Pop. (1907) 4737, including 350 Europeans and 1752 Indians. Nairobi is built on the Athi plains, at the foot of the Kikuyu hills and 5450 ft. above the sea; it commands magnificent views of Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya. It is the headquarters of the Uganda railway, of the military forces in the protectorate, and of the Colonists’ Association. It is divided into European, Indian and native quarters. Midway between the European and Indian quarters stands the town hall. The other public buildings include railway works, places of worship (Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mahommedan and Hindu) and schools, an Indian bazaar, a general hospital and waterworks—the water being obtained from springs 13 m. distant.

The site of Nairobi was selected as the headquarters of the Uganda railway, and the first buildings were erected in 1899. For some time nearly all its inhabitants were railway officials and Indian coolies engaged in the construction of the line. In 1902 the surrounding highlands were found to be suitable for European settlement, and Nairobi speedily grew in importance; in 1907 the headquarters of the administration were transferred to it from Mombasa. The town is provided with clubs, cricket and athletic grounds and a racecourse.