East Africa is a massive region, containing hundreds of countries and spanning as many as 19 territories. The cultures of East Africa are diverse, but there are common threads that run through much of the region. Many countries have a shared heritage of Western colonialism, Islamic conquest and subsequent independence.
At times multiple countries have been joined under a single African Empire, colonial territory or sultanate. As much as these countries have in common, so, too, do they differ; in fact, even within a single nation there may be as many as a hundred different cultures, dozens of languages and very distinct views of their national identity.