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Mombasa is a port city on the coast of Kenya. It is located on Mombasa Island a 5 km by 3 km piece of land that is separated from the mainland of Africa by a small channel.


The city was founded by Arab traders in the 11th century and it quickly became the most important trading centre of East Africa mostly exporting ivory and slavess. Vasco da Gama was the first known European to visit Mombasa, receiving a chilly reception in 1498. Two years later it was sacked by the Portuguese. The city was taken over by the Sultanate of Oman in 1698. In 1840 it was taken by the sultan of Zanzibar who in 1898 presented the town to the British. It soon became the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate. Mombasa remained a part of Zanzibar until 1963 when it was ceded to the newly independent state of Kenya.