Kenya has been one of East Africa's most stable countries, according to the UN.
Situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity", according to the BBC. In the Great Rift Valley palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man's ancestors.
In the present day, Kenya's ethnic diversity has produced a vibrant culture but is also a source of conflict.
Violent unrest - and international pressure - led to the restoration of multi-party politics in the early 1990s, the BBC reports. But it was to be another decade before opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki ended nearly 40 years of Kanu rule with his landslide victory in 2002's general election.
Presidential elections in 2007 led to widespread unrest, which resulted in the formation of a power-sharing government. Polls in 2013 were largely peaceful.
The economy has been recovering over recent years. Other pressing challenges include high unemployment, crime, corruption and poverty. Droughts frequently put millions of people at risk.
With its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Kenya is one of Africa's major safari destinations.