Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyrobi, which translates to "cold water". The phrase is also the Maasai name of the Nairobi river, which in turn lent its name to the city.
Nairobi is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun”, it is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs. Inhabitants of Nairobi are referred to as Nairobians.
Founded by the British in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907, and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. During Kenya's colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony's coffee, tea and sisal industry. Nairobi city is also county in itself. The city lies on the Nairobi River, in the south of the nation and has an elevation of 1795 m above sea-level.
Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa both politically and financially. Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the main co-ordinating and headquarters for the UN in Africa & Middle East, the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and the second oldest exchange on the continent.