Kenyan Independence Movement
The East Africa Protectorate was first colonized by British settlers in 1895 and with the creation of the treaty of Versailles in 1920 it officially came under British control as the colony of Kenya. The people of Kenya were never content with having the white settlers take their land from them and continuously expressed their thoughts. However, Kenya wouldn’t become an independent nation until December 12, 1963. Kenya’s road to independence was filled with oppression and disappointment. There were many separate attempts to lead Kenya to freedom, but all of them failed to reach their goals. The Mau-Mau Rebellion was the final straw for colonialism in Kenya and the natives’ last push for independence. The exact numbers and details of the Kenyan independence movements are highly disputed due to the fact that not many official records of what was happening in Kenya were taken. Kenyans tried to gain freedom and publicity for their cause through peaceful political methods, but that ultimately fell apart do the incompatibility of the many tribes in Kenya, so they turned to violence to try to achieve their freedom.
As time went on, and as the British continued to take advantage of their power, resentment just proceeded to build. Resentment first appeared when the white settlers tried to control the area. The main reason for British colonization of Kenya was for strategic purposes . If they controlled Kenya, they can control the source of the White Nile in Lake Victoria. Once the land was secured by the British more white settlers came in search of making a profit. The trouble starts when they start taking land away from the natives. White settlers forced native tribes off of their land and took all of the best farmlands for themselves. Out of all the different ethnicities in Kenya, the Kikuyu were the most effected by the land losses. By 1948, 1.25 million Kikuyu were left with 2000 square miles of land, whereas 30,000 settlers controlled 12,000 square miles . With every mile that was taken, their resentment and anger grew. World War I provided a brief respite from colonization because Britain was paying more attention to matters in Europe and left Kenya alone. However, when the war ended veterans of the war were offered discounted prices on land in the colonies and Britain gained control of Kenya through the Treaty of Versailles. This caused many new white settlers to come to Kenya in search of an easy profit. Many of the whites owned huge pieces of land and used most of it for large scale farming. In order to make the highest profit possible they needed cheap labor, and luckily for them they were in a country filled with cheap workers. Unfortunately for the settlers, the Kikuyu did not see any advantages in working for the people that barged into their affairs and kicked them off their native land. There was a colonial government in place and it heavily favored the whites and did not represent the Kenyan tribes at all. This government passed laws which essentially forced the natives into low-paying jobs. The government took advantage of the people it was supposed to be governing and protecting. Understandably, the people of Kenya were not pleased with the way the government was being handled. Their frustration continued to mount as nothing they did changed what the British were doing. The situation in Kenya was very volatile and was in desperate need of change.
The individual tribal groups tried to unite in order to get the attention of the government and the rest of the world. The people of Kenya realized that the only way that they stood a chance against the government if they untied into one cohesive organization. Jomo Kenyatta, part of the Kikuyu ethnic group, was the president of the first colony-wide political organization, the Kenya African Union (KAU). Jomo Kenyatta was an outspoken nationalist his entire life and was committed to showing the plight of the...
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