The Mbeere or Ambeere people are a Bantu ethnic group inhabiting the former Mbeere District in the now defunct Eastern Province of Kenya. According to the 2019 Kenya National census, there are 195,250 Ambeere who inhabit an area of 2,093 km². They speak Kīmbeere language, which is a dialect very similar to the one spoken by their neighbours, the Kamba, Embu and Kikuyu.
Mbeere hosts the famous seven folks dams, which include: Masinga dam, Kamburu dam, Gitaru dam, Kindaruma dam and Kiambere dam. The dams are a part of Tana River. Other local places of interest include the Mwea National Reserve, and Kiangombe hill, which peaked at 1804 metres stands out compared to adjacent topography, although is not as spectacular as the Mount Kenya located less than 100 kilometres northwest.
History of Mbeere people
The Mbeere are of Bantu origin. Like the closely related Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba, they are concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Kenya. The exact place that the Mbeere’s ancestors migrated from after the initial Bantu expansion from West Africa is uncertain. Some authorities suggest that they arrived in their present Mount Kenya area of in habitation from earlier settlements further to the north and east, while others argue that the Mbeere, along with the closely related Eastern Bantu people the Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba moved into Kenya from points further south.
Map of the population around Mount Kenya (in french)
|Embu • English
|African Traditional Religion • Christianity
|Kikuyu, Embu, Meru, Kamba and Sonjo
Economy of Mbeere people
Most Ambeere are farmers who grow a variety of crops including Mangoes, melons, pawpaws and passion fruits, maize, beans, cowpeas, pigeon peas, black peas-njavi, millet, sorghum etc.
Mbeere has come to be known for Miraa, 2nd largest producer after Meru District. The miraa crop is commonly grown in the Northern part of the district. Apart from the Miraa and other farming activities, Mbeere is known as the source of the building materials such as rocks, ballast and sand used all over Kenya. Charcoal is also widely produced in Mbeere and sold all over the country. Other economic activities such basketmaking (Ciondo),ropes (mikanda) and rearing animals such as cows and goats are also prevalent in Mbeere.
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