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When the East Africa railway arrived in the 1890s, a depot was established on the edge of a small stream known to the Maasai as uaso nairobi (cold water). Nairobi quickly developed into the administrative nerve centre of the Uganda Railway, and in 1901 the capital of the British Protectorate was moved here from Mombasa.

Sadly, almost all of the colonial-era buildings were replaced by bland, modern office buildings following uhuru (independence) in 1963.