From an inland port to the first “Millennium City”, the growth of Kisumu is woven in a rich history spanning generations of cultural backgrounds: indigenous African inhabitants who occupied and roamed the gulf for generations; the European colonialists who arrived to demarcate territories to Asians who arrived with the railway line having provided labour for the Uganda railway line from Mombasa to the Port of Lake Victoria.
The city of Kisumu was born as the melting pot of barter trade (Kisumu) for communities living in the Lake Victoria basin and has grown to cement that position as the principal trade gateway to the Great Lakes Region with the most important inland port in the Lake Victoria Circuit. Identified by the British in early 1898 as an alternative railway terminus and port for the Uganda railway then under construction to replace Port Victoria for its ideal location on the shores of Lake Victoria at the cusp of Winam Gulf, at the end of the caravan trail from Pemba, Mombasa, Malindi and with the potential for connection to the whole lake region by steamers; the city’s first skeleton plan was drawn in 1899 indicating landing places and wharves along the northern lakeshore.
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