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Kenya. Originally there was little imperial interest in East Africa per se .

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Kenya
Kenya

  • Originally there was little imperial interest in East Africa per se.

  • Britain was keen to control the control the source of the Nile, because it was thought to be the key to the survival of Cairo and hence the Suez Canal, which was the link to India.  India was thought to be important to UK’s interests.


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Kenya

  • The Mombasa-Uganda railroad was built to facilitate movement of troops and material to the headwaters of the Nile (thought to be in Lake Victoria on the Ugandan side of the Lake).

  • Indian laborers ("Coolies“) were brought in to build the railroad, followed by shopkeepers etc. 

  • They were forbidden from owning land, and were restricted to special areas of the cities in which they could live.


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Kenya

  • White farmers were given land in the highlands so they would use the railroad to ship out their products and the railroad could pay for itself. 

  • White farmers were seen to be the productive backbone of the economy of the Kenya Colony.

  • After the world wars, more British soldiers were given land in Kenya to reward their service.


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Kenya

  • Myth arose and persisted of the productive white farm, suggesting that the wealth of the colony rested on the high productivity of white-owned farms

  • But in fact the productivity of the white farm rested largely on subsidies to white farmers from funds extracted from black farmers, and on underpayment of black labor. 

  • The products of white farms rode on the railways at subsidized prices while transportation for things raised mostly by Africans was left more expensive.


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Kenya

  • City of Nairobi and nearby areas were developed for white farmers around the turn of the 20th century.

  • Was established where the railroad builders paused while they worked on an elevator to take trains down into Great Rift Valley. 

  • No cityexisted there before colonial times.


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Kenya

  • Areas near Lake Victoria were treated as "labor reserves" – were left underdeveloped, with hut tax payable in cash to put squeeze on men to go work for whites, imposing a double burden on the women left behind. 

  • Governing principle of the colony rested on racial hierarchy, from "Europeans" at top through gradations of skin color (Arabs, Indians) down to Africans at bottom – with laws and privileges depending on race.


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Kenya

  • Infrastructure was (mis)developed – aimed to promote export, not to link with other African countries, and not even to produce an integrated internal economy. 

  • In common with almost all African colonies, railroads went only from interior of country to the port, to carry (largely raw-material) exports out of the country and (largely manufactured goods) imports back in. 

  • There was little linking of one part of the country with another for a better internal economy.


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Kenya

  • African discontent over lack of influence on politics and loss of land to the whites eventually led to a guerrilla war, which came to be known as Mau Mau. 

  • Was a nationalist guerrilla struggle; rebels called themselves the Land and Freedom Army.

  • Definitely not the return to savagery the whites portrayed it.

  • Fought largely in Kikuyu areas because of mountain hiding places there.

  • Rebels had little connection with forces outside the country, so odds of success were low.


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Kenya

  • They were opposed with much hysteria and brutality by British troops, flying planes and dropping bombs, using "protective villages" and putting Mau Mau believers through re-education to return them to “civilization”. 

  • “Re-education” often involved torture of one kind or another, some so bad it eventually caused concern in the British Parliament.


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Kenya

  • Tremendous violence of African against African

  • Use of “homeguards" – loyalists who collaborated with British. 

  • Jomo Kenyatta and other presumed leaders became revered martyrs when sent to a desert prison-camp. 

  • They were actually more moderate than radical true leaders, such as Dedan Kimathi. 

Dedan Kimathi


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Kenya

  • In 1960 the state of emergency was lifted.

  • LFA death toll during the emergency was 11,500, of whom around 1,000 were hanged.

  • 80,000 Kikuyu were imprisoned in concentration camps.

  • 150,000 Africans, mostly Kikuyu, lost their lives, with many dying of disease and starvation in the "protected villages".

  • On the other side, the LFA killed around 2,000 people, including 32 European civilians and 63 members of the security forces.


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Kenya

  • In 1960 the state of emergency was lifted.

  • LFA death toll during the emergency was 11,500, of whom around 1,000 were hanged.

  • 80,000 Kikuyu were imprisoned in concentration camps.

  • 150,000 Africans, mostly Kikuyu, lost their lives, with many dying of disease and starvation in the "protected villages".

  • On the other side, the LFA killed around 2,000 people, including 32 European civilians and 63 members of the security forces.


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Kenya

  • Led to independence by damaging Britain in world public opinion and raising cost of continuing colonial domination.

  • 1963/64 Kenyatta becomes first Prime Minister and then President.

  • Moderates and homeguards got the spoils of victory when independence came

  • The Land and Freedom Army got nothing.


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Kenya

  • Myth of productive white farms meant that white farms were largely kept intact, going usually to the new African elite.

  • Sometimes run as cooperatives by small farmers until they were unable to pay their debt; the elite then purchased them. 

  • Land concentration increased dramatically.


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Kenya

  • Under his slogan harambee – “let’s all pull together” – the first years of Kenyatta’s leadership reflected the euphoria that pervaded post-independence Africa.

  • While Tanzania to the south took a more socialistic approach to development called ujamaa or ‘familyhood,’ based upon the vision of President Julius Nyerere, Kenya under Kenyatta took an unbridled capitalistic tack


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Kenya

  • National income doubled as coffee and tea exports did well on world markets.

  • Schools based upon the harambee principle flourished, establishing a basis for universal primary education.


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Kenya

  • Conversely, wealth disparities between rich and poor grew alongside nepotism and political patronage.

  • Ultimately a new label – wabenzi (literally ‘people of the Mercedes Benz’) – came to describe members of the new black elite.


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