Impacts of the British Colonization of Kenya

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History Russell McGillivray

The British colonization of Kenya destroyed the culture and economy of the native people, but it established a democratic government and left Kenya a more modernized country.[1] During the 1880’s through 1914, the start of WWI, was an age of imperialism. One place that felt victim to this imperialism was Africa. At this time Africa was a wholly unmodernized continent. The reason the Europeans went after Africa was the introduction of the idea of social Darwinism and the “white man’s burden”. Social Darwinism is the belief that only the strongest and the most cunning can make it to the top of the social ladder, and it was the White Man’s Burden to step in for these undeveloped countries and lead the Africans for them. So the European powers set out taking all of Africa piece by piece until the start of WWI. After this period there were only 4 African countries left independent, compared to a modern day 50 countries.[2] Britain was one of the most powerful countries at this time and took tons of land all over the world for trading and exports.[3] Kenya is a country founded on over 70 different cultural groups,[4]and each one has their own language and cultural traditions. When the British came into Kenya, they knew very little to none of the culture of the Native Kenyan people.[5] This of course led to numerous problems between the two peoples. One of the biggest problems created was how much land the British took. The Massai people lived in the rift valley, and were a nomadic tribe. When the British came in, they figured that the land that the Massai weren’t living in, wasn’t being used and took it for themselves.[6] Because of this, the Massai could no longer live their nomadic lifestyle and were forced to move to the cities, primarily Nairobi.[7] This overpopulated the city and led to mass homelessness and unemployment,[8] and therefore these people could no longer pay the British taxes. The British...
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