1) A conical volcano (4565 m high) located in Northern Tanzania, on the East edge of the Rift Valley. The last eruption of Mt. Meru took place in the 19th century, and formed the volcanic cone which currently makes up the summit of the mountain.

Mt. Meru is part of Arusha National Park and is supposedly fairly easy to climb.

2) A provincial city in central Kenya, beside the Northeastern face of Mt. Kenya. The city is the center of a district named for it, the chief crops of which are coffee and tea. The region also produces khat leaves, which are exported to Yemen and Somalia.

Population (1992): c. 100,000.

3) The ethnic group which inhabits the vicinity of the city of Meru (2). Approximately 1.2 million Meru live in the region.

4) In hindu mythology, a mythical mountain, the hub of the world, which stretches from the highest heavens to the lowest regions. This sacred mountain is home to the most important gods of hinduism.

Meru is a language spoken by perhaps 1,250,000 people in Kenya.

Meru is one of the Bantu languages. Its territory lies in central Kenya, to the northeast of its close relative Kikuyu, but almost completely surrounded by Oromo-speaking territory. Meru society, like that of the Kikuyu, was traditionally warlike. Among more peaceable occupations, speakers of Meru are well known as beekeepers.

Thagicu is the name of the region from which, long ago, speakers of Kikuyu and related languages may have dispersed, and Thagicu is now the usual name for the language group to which both belong. Local legend tells of the migration of Meru speakers from the coast around 1700; of their old name, Ngaa; and their new name, Meru, said to mean peaceful place.

Meru serves as a second language for some speakers of smaller neighboring tongues, Chuka and Tharaka.

Meru is also called Kimeru. Some of its dialects include Igembe, Tigania, Imenti, Miutini and Igoji. It is lexically similar to Chuka, Embu, Gikuyu and Kamba.

According to Ethnologue the taxonomy of Meru is

Niger-Congo  (1489) 
  Atlantic-Congo  (1390) 
    Volta-Congo  (1316) 
      Benue-Congo  (938) 
        Bantoid  (668) 
          Southern Bantoid  (643) 
            Narrow Bantu  (501) 
              Central Narrow Bantu (328) 
                E  (37) 
                  Kikuyu-Kamba (E.20)  (8) 
                    Meru (4)
                      Chuka  CUH
                      Meru  MER
                      Mwimbi-Muthambi MWS
                      Tharaka  THA

Another, quite different, community is also called Meru by outsiders. The Meru of Mount Meru in Tanzania call themselves Varwa and speak a Chagga dialect, Kirwa or kiMeru. Their recurrent conflicts with their German and British rulers helped to discredit the Tanganyikan protectorate and bring about independence in 1961.

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