Located in East Africa, Kenya is a geographically and ethnically diverse country. The area was home to possibly the earliest humans, as two million year old hominid remains were discovreed in the mid 20th century. In its early history, Kenya was loosely settled by farmers and herders. Arabian kingdoms began trading with settlements along the coast and by the Middle Ages several city-state colonies were established. A period of empire and colonization ensued with control passing from the Portuguese to the Omani Arabs to the British by the late 19th century. The modern state of Kenya gained its independence from the UK in 1963. Since then, Kenya has operated as a republic with significant political unrest, continuing into the early 21st century.