Swahili, which comes from the Arabic word meaning "coast," is a mix of Arabic and the African language Bantu.It first developed in the tenth century with the arrival of Arab traders; it was a lingua franca that allowed different tribes to communicate with each other and with the Arabs.

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There are more than forty ethnic groups in the country.

The largest of these is the Kikuyu, representing 22 percent of the population.

Fourteen percent is Luhya, 13 percent is Luo, 12 percent is Kalenjin, 11 percent Kamba, 6 percent Kisii, and 6 percent Meru.

Others, including the Somalis and the Turkana in the north and the Kalenjin in the Great Rift Valley, comprise approximately 15 percent of the population.

The population has been significantly reduced by the AIDS epidemic, as have the age and sex distributions of the population.

Despite this scourge, however, the birth rate is still significantly higher than the death rate and the population continues to grow.

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Kenya is located in East Africa and borders Somalia to the northeast, Ethiopia to the north, Sudan to the northwest, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east.

The country straddles the equator, covering a total of 224,961 square miles (582,600 square kilometers; roughly twice the size of the state of Nevada). Inland plains cover three-quarters of the country; they are mostly bush, covered in underbrush.

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