Migration and settlement of the Maasai into Kenya

The Maasai and the original Kalenjin speakers first lived in the northern Lake Turkana area. They may have entered east Africa around 1000AD. Being nomadic pastoralists, they probably migrated mainly due to the need for fresh grazing land and water for their large herd.




In spite of their close association with the original Kalenjin speakers in the Northern Lake Turkana region and elsewhere, the Maasai may have developed separately, as shown by the different languages and cultures among and between them and their previous associates.

Around 1500AD, the Maasai began to move within the area between mount Elgon and mount Kamalinga and reached the Uasingishu plateau.

Around 1700AD, they went southwards and established themselves in the area previously occupied by the Kalenjin, who had migrated ahead of them. They assimilated some of the people they conquered, such as the Sirikwa.




By 1800, the Maasai had occupied much of the Central Kenya plains and north-central Tanzania. By that time, they were grazing their livestock throughout east Africa, especially in the Rift valley. They met and waged war against communities such as the Kalenjin, Akamba and Abagusi. They were very fierce warriors and could not allow a stranger into their land.

Because of their nomadic lifestyle, they were not able to form a kingdom.

Towards 1750, the Maasai community were weakened by internal rivalry, among other problems.




British colonization of Kenya at the end of the 19th century brought Maasai power to an end