Historical And Cultural Impacts Of The City Structure Of Mombasa, Kenya
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The city of Mombasa, lying on the coast of Kenya, has been of great historical significance to the whole East African hinterland adjacent to it. The city has been the starting point of colonial penetration into the modern Kenya, and an area of great cultural mixing which has caused inland-ward diffusion in Asiatic, Middle Eastern, Arabic and European civilizations and cultures throughout history. For centuries, sailing ships from Asia and Middle East have used monsoon winds to facilitate a steady floor of navigational and commercial traffic between East Africa and Asia. From about 8th Century A.D. Mombasa has been an important port and has attracted the settlement of Arabs, Turks, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, and the British. All these ethnic groups have brought in their architecture, urban settlement patterns and other cultural artifacts to the city.Their cultural interaction has affected ethnic characteristics of Kenyans along the coast and ultimately had some impact on the city structure of Mombasa. This paper aims at examining the impact of this cultural mixture on urban design of Mombasa and city structure.The paper explores the history settlement of Mombasa and tries to capture the urban form that resulted from these early settlements. Each dominant civilization or sub-structure in each historical period is then analysed in detail and the impact it has on the city structure is explored. Finally the pa-per dwells on the impacts of British Colonization and the attempts of the British administration to impart the concepts of modern city planning principles over Mombasa between 1926 to 1963. The eventual entrance of the African into the city's economy since 1963 is then examined. Finally, the current city structure of Mombasa is analysed in detail.