The British realized Kenya had key fertile soil which eld to make them profit through exploitation. They encouraged the settlers to come and take over the vast “empty lands.

The biggest problem was the meeting transport and communication which was established there included railway, road, water and air transport and postal and telecommunication services.


This connected the outside world from Mombasa to Kisumu. This was called Uganda Railway as it  was built to link Kisumu. This was called Uganda Railway because it was built to link Kisumu (by then part of Uganda

The need to build the railway stated with views of businessman like William MacKinnon survey works on the railway were done by the imperial British East Company it lacked the funds to lay the track.  The British government provided the funds needed for the construction of the track.

Reasons for Building the Railway

  • To establish effective control over British East Africa.
  • To facilitate maximum economic exploitation of the region.
  • To stop slave trade and promote legitimate trade.
  • To facilitate the movement of troops and government administrators into the interior parts of the British protectorate.
  • To link Uganda with the coast and the outside World.
  • To make it possible for Britain to effectively protect her strategic interest in the region.

Problems Encountered during construction of the railway

  • Africans were not skilled and un willing to provide the much needed manual labour during the construction.
  • The heavy rains delayed the onset of construction work of Mombasa drought and lack of water.
  • There were tropical diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness and diarhoea which rendered many of them ineffective.
  • The Indian workers were attacked by jiggers, which infected their limbs to a level that could not work.
  • The rail workers were attacked by mancating lion at Tsavo, which nearly stopped construction
  • The Nandi people resisted the railway from crossing their lands.
  • The rift valley with its enormous escarpments posed engineering challenges that caused the railway builders problem.

Consequences of the railway construction

  • There was growth of urban centres like Nairobi, Naivasha, Nakuru and Voi.
  • Many Asians embarked on commercial activities along the railway line like shops known as dukas.
  • There was development of large scale plantation agriculture on the white highlands.
  • The railway constructions lead to creation of jobs to many African and Indians.
  • Christian missionaries were able to make into the interior where they established mission stations, churches and schools.
  • Feeder roads were building to link trading and agricultural centres with the railway line.
  • Rapid movement of troops and administrators promoted British administration and opened up the interior to colonizer.
  • The railway speeded up to development of agriculture and industry.
  • There was rapid growth of trade between the interior, the coast and the outside world.
  • The railway became a major revenue source for the colonial authorities.
  • There was massive land alienation, with some communities being sent to reserves.
  • It facilitated cultural and social interaction among different races.
  • The railway made rural – urban migration and the resultant African enterprises such as hawking and charcoal-selling possible.
  • It led to the settlement of the Asian community in Kenya.


Charles Elliot, the British commissioner (1900 -1904) encouraged Europeans to come and settle in thehighlands.

He felt that large scale farming could help the protectorate meet the cost of administration and maintain the railway.

Farming in the highland was however, not an easy task for the settlers. They had to clear bush, find labour and determine which crops to grow.

Reasons why setterer farming was encouraged

  • The colonial government wanted to make Kenya a Whiteman’s country by encouraging white setterles to form the backbone of the economy.
  • The settlers were to finance the administrative costs of the colony without involving the British tax – payers.
  • The economic activities of the settlers would help pay for the construction costs of the railway line.
  • Apart from the vast “empty lands” there were no other natural resources to be exploited in the colony.
  • Africans did not have the funds and technical know how to be involved in large scale farming.
  • The settlers were expected to produce raw materials for the many industries in Britain.
  • The highlands were suitable for European settlement as they land cool, wet climate and fertile volcanic soils.
  • The colonial government wanted to check or counter Indian or Asian influence in Kenya by settling more whiters.

Methods used by the colonial government to promote settler farming.

  1. Acquisition Of Land

They used forced to sign treaties with the natives like the Nandi were evicted by force after their defeat to create room along the railway for European settlement.

b) Provision of labour

Lord Delamere who dominated the land commission of 1925 once remarked that “land is of no use without labour”.

Several measures were initiated to force the Africans to provide labour. These included

Taxation ; The introduction of hat tax and poll tax ensured hat Africans sold their labour to get money to pay tax.

Master Servant ordinance. This made it an offence for any African to evade duty which would lead to imprisonment fine or both.

Low Wages: This was to make them completely dependent on selling their cheap labour or daily needs.

Forced Recruitment: There was forced recruitment of labour for the settlers.

The native registration ordinance: it enforced registration of all adult male Africans to facilitate labour recruitment.

Creation of reserves: African was restricted in reserves which were overcrowded. They had limited resources both socially and economically.

The Kipande system: Africans were to carry Kipande which was a form of identification on which personal details were written individually.

Northey circular.African chiefs were to encorouge local people into the wage labour.

Squater system: Arbirtary land alienation led to African being squatters on the land that was once theirs.

Cash crops. Africans were forbidden to grow cash crops such as tea, copper and sisals.

C) Technical Assistance

The setterles were given agricultural extension officers in the fields. They were also given resource stations to facilitate the development of better breeds to improve yields.

  1. Transport and communication.The colonial governemtn developed extensive transport network apart from the railway.
  2. Security

The colonial government ensured that there was security for the settlers.

f) Credit facilities

The colonial government loans and other credit facilities to settlers to make them have the money to invest in farming.

Problems Encountered by Settlers in Kenya

  • The African communities were hostile to settlers’ becaue of the fact that they had lost land through land orientation programmes to settlers.
  • The settlers lack labour because Africans were not willing to work.
  • Setterles lacked adequate capital. Their farming activities required a lot of money, which the settlers did not have.
  • There was poor transport network as roads were muddy and impassable.
  • The settlers lacked prior knowledge of the regions in which they settled in terms of climate, seasons and soils.
  • There were tropical diseases which the new breeds of crops and livestock could not withstand.
  • There was lack of market for the produce of settlers.

 Main crops grown by European settlers in colonial Kenya

A) Wheat

It was introduced by Lord Delamere in Kenya in 1903 in Njoro.

  • Coffee

It was introduced by the Roman Catholic missionaries, the French fathers of St. Austin’s mission; it was planted near Nairobi in 1899.

  • Tea

It was 1st grown at Limuru in 1903 by the Caine brothers and later in Kericho.

  • Sisal

It was brought into Kenya from Tanzania where it had been introduced in 1893 by Dr. Richard Hindarf, a German, 1n 1904, it was planted for the 1st time near Thika and quickly proved successful.

d) Cotton

In 1906, cotton growing Sohome was started in Nyanza

i) Pyrethrum

It was introduced in 1930, and soon became the basis of insecticide manufacture; it was grown in Nakuru and Molo.

Dairy Farming

Lord Delamere imported pigs, cattle’s and sheep from Britain and carried out experiments with different breads of livestock on his farm at Njoro.


In 1896 the Indian acquisition Act was extended to the protectorate. This act empoweed the government to compulsory acquire land for the railway, government buiodlings and other public purpose.

To provide land for the settelrs the government passed the land regulations act in 1897. These regulations enabled the government to offer certificates of occupancy, valid for 99 years for those settlers who were willing to take up and in the colony.

The East African lands order in council of 1901 defined “Crown land as all public land which is not private” private land included land occupied by African villages.

This was followed by the crown lands ordinance of 1903 which stated that all “empty land” could be sold at two refuse per 100 acres or rented at 15mpces per 100 acres per annum to Europeans.

The 1st Maasai agreement was signed between Lenana and the British. This led to the creation of the first African British.

The second Maasai agreement was signed in 1911, soon after the death of Lenana. All the Maasai people were moved out of Laikipia to the enlarged Southern Ngong reserve.

The crown land ordinance of 1915 provided a land registration scheme for settlers.

The 1924 land commission fixed the boundaries of reserves which were legalized in 1926. By the 1930 Native lands trust ordinance, reserves were further confirmed as perpetual African property.

Consequence of colonial land policies

  • Africans lost their land to the European.
  • Africans were restricted in their reserves as it redhered widespread migrations and settlements of African.
  • There was land shortage within the reserves especially in such areas as Nandi, Kiambu and Kakamega.
  • Since the African could not own land, he owns in practice, a tenant in his land.This bfred a lot of insecurity because the African feared more loss of land.
  • The policies also brought poverty and misery to the affected people.
  • Since the resources could only produce insistence crops, there was no incolive for progressive and enterprising development for the Africans.
  • Anco system of individual private land ownership with a land certificate was introduced.
  • Development of classes within the AFrican Society emerged as the few Africans who could afford to buy land became wealthy, creating a gap between them and the majority poor.
  • To ensure instant supply of labour in the European farms, the government introduced the pool task, which had to be paid on cash.
  • There was introduction of Kipande system which restricted African movement.


There was a conflict between the Asin community and white settlers which was as a result of Social segreagation.

To meet the challenge the Indians in Kenya formed the Indian National contress whose leader was Aina Jecvanee. Their complaints were aimed at Europeans settlers whom they outnumbered but had excluded them from social and economic activities.

The previous governor, Sir Edward Northey whose term ended in 1922, had made many conclusions to whites who made them build a great influential position in the colony.

This trend was reversed by Sir Robert Caryadon. In 1922, the British government issued a report in the European settlers Indian conflict where it was decided that apart from the white Highlands, there was no racial segregation in Kenya Indians were allowed to elect four members to the Lego.

The settlers were unhappy with the above report of 1922, in March 1923, they sat a delegation to London to demand for what they considered as their rights. The Indians also sent their delegation too.

They met the Duke of Devonshire who was the colonial secretary. Devonshire after an interview with both parties issued his findings in a document referred to as the Devonshire white paper of 1923.

Governances of the groups.

  • The settlers wanted to retain Kenya highlands exclusively for the whites.
  • They also advocated for separate development of all races in Kenya based on the envisaged policy of segregation.
  • They demanded more independence from Britain.
  • They also wanted restriction on Indian migration to Kenya.
  • The Asians on the other hand demanded greater share in the colonial government affairs.
  • Equal rights with the whites.
  • Inclusion in the Kenyan Highlands.
  • Ban on their restriction on immigration and an end to racial discrimination and political injustice.
  • The Africans in their part wanted their land back.
  • Disposal of their labour as they wished and not through the white settlers’ methods.
  • Abolition of Kipande and squatter system and representation in the government.

Recommendations of the white paper

  • The white highlands were to be reserved for European settlers only.
  • Indians were allowed to elect give members to the legeo.
  • Racial segregation was abolished in residential areas and restrictions on immigrations lifted.
  • A missionary was to be nominated to the legend to represent the interests of Africans.
  • European possibility of having influence over the government was reduced.
  • Kenya was an African country whose interests were to be paramount. The colonial office was to control events in the colony in the interest of the Africans.

Effects of Devonshire white paper.

  • The whites in the colony felt betrayed by this paper as it made them not to achieve their goal of a self – government controlled by whites only.
  • The Indians were disappointed becaue they were not allowed to settle in the white highlands and have political equality with the whites. The Indian congress refused to take up its seats in the ligeo in protest. They exam didn’t hold elections in municipal councils till 1933.
  • The Africans benefited as the paper had recognized their importance as native of the land. It led to the appointment of Dr. Arthur, a European missionary to represent the Africans in the legco in 1924.
  • The African land issue was not solved well.
  • The paper didn’t solve the conflict situation among the different races in the colony.
  • The declaration on Africans began a new phase in the Kenyan politics. The paper stated “Kenya is primarily an African territory. The interests of the Africans are paramount. This saked Kenya gram being a Whiteman’s country.


Factors for urbanization in colonial Kenya

With the construction of Ugands railway towns such as Voi, Makindu, Nairobi, Naivasha and Kisumu sprang of as points for resting and for preplenshing the supplies of the social railway employers and surrounding African community.

Asians established dukas at differene points along the railway; those often grew into impartant commercial centres and even big town.

Administrative posts set up by the colonial, government also grew into town such as Machakos, Muranga, and Mumias & Kapsabet.

The commercialization of agriculture due to large scale settler farming necessitated the development of market centres for the sale of produce as well as purchase of farm inputs.

Agro- based industries such as flourmills, meat processing, plant and sawmill attracted labours from all parts of the country, transforming their surrounding areas into Urban areas.

Mining activities also drew people 2 areas such as Magadi & Kakamega where soda Ash and gold were found.

Why Africans moved to urban centres in colonial Kenya

  • The recreational facilities and other social amenities in urban centred attracted the Africans.
  • There were job projects in town with better wages than in rural areas particularly because of industries.
  • Land alienation had pushed Africans into the reserves which were congested and had poor soils, forcing them to seek livelihood and settlement in towns.
  • Rural- urban migration was away of escaping forced labour and taxation.
  • The Africans entrepreneurs wanted to take advantages of the wider market in towns to escape poverty in the crowed reserves.

Consequences of Urbanization

Positive impacts

  • Urbanization led to interaction between people of diverse ethnic and racial background.
  • The contacts between people of difference ethnic roots helped to promote integration during and after the colonization era.
  • Welfare associations’ wre formed to carter for the needs of African workers.
  • Popular sporting & cultural activities when took place in towns cemented worship between different ethnic groups and races.
  • Many Africans were gainfully employed in industries, European homes and in small scale business.
  • Industries expanded due to large labour force and abudndant raw materials concentrated in urban centres.

Negative impacts.

  • The urban centres could not cope with the large influx of labourers. Unemployment became rampant, due to increased competiton for the few available jobs.
  • Poverty among migrant workers as well as lack of housing led to the mushrooming of slums which were congested and unhygienic as a result of poor sanitation.
  • The desperation and poverty that were in the slums saw many migrants turn to social vices such as alcoholism, during abuse and promiscuity, hoping to escape their trouble.
  • A population of migrant workers became fully urbanized and lost contact of their rural villages.
  • Employers took advantage of the large supply of labour and offered very poor remuneration and infavourable working conditions.
  • Houses in towns were occupied according two various racial groups, with Europeans enjoying the best facilities this promoted racial documentation and led to continued hostilities among people.
  • The mass rural – urban migration brought about intensification of migration regulations to control the number of Africans migrants.
  • Economic activities in the rural areas were disrupted by the absence of men. Most duties had to be done by children and women which changed the traditional division of labour.



  • Formal Western education was introduced by Christian’s missionaries
  • Their curriculum included.
  • Reading, writing and arithmetic.
  • Religions education and training of catechist./
  • Agriculture.
  • Hygiene and sanitation
  • Technical skills e.g capacity, missionary.
  • Later education was provided by the following
  • Christian missionaries
  • Colonial government
  • Africans themselves
  • Asian community organization)


  • Designing a curriculum with emphasis an agriculture, tailoring, masonry and capacity.
  • Establishing of secondary 2nd of Africa e.g alliance in 1926, Kabaa in 1927, Yala in 1939.
  • Training African teachers who managed the bush schools (schools found in remote areas).
  • Offering the necessary financial and material support to make these schools operational.

Characteristic of Colonial Education

  • Colonial education was based and managed along racial line of European, Asians and Africans.
  • Curriculum for Ethiopians was superior and enriched with professional marketable course.
  • The facilities and services for European schools eg classroom, furniture and stationery were of better quality.
  • Each race had its own public examination.
  • A very small number Africans were to receive secondary education.


A)Primary education

Early aspect of primary educatin emphasized technical and industrial education.

After Jean school (1925) a number of other industrial training centres were opened up at Kabianga, Kapenguria, Kajiado, Tambach and Kabsabet.

By 1930 Africans were suspicious and unhappy with the technical and industrial education offered to them. They advocated for higher education as it would help them participate in meaningful leadership position within the colonial framework.

The desire led to the establishment of new schools.

b) Secondary Education

Was exclusively meant for the whites who were to eliminate for jobs, competition between Africans and Europeans and limit African political awareness.

Africans pressed the government to address the imbalance.

Missionaries took up the challenge and in 1926, the Alliance of protestant missions set up the 1st African secondary school, Alliance at Kikuyu while the Catholics set up Mangu School in Thika 1930.

Secondary school for whites included prince of wales (Nariobi school) and Duke of Yoke (Lenana school) and in girls, Kenya High, Limuru girls Hospital hill became the 1st multi-racial school in 1953 while Indians built schools such as, Asian Railway school.


By 1949, university education was only available overseas and Makerere University was offering Diploma programmes in the field of agriculture, teachers’ education, vetinary services and medicine. It was made an affiliate university of leaders in 1949.

In 1954 the Royal Technical College of East African was chattered in Nairobi and it began offering higher education due to increased pressure by Africans.

In 1961, it was new known as Royal college of Nairobi and was later elevated to University colleges’ status in 1963.

In 1963, Makerere, Dar es Salaam and Royal College Nairobi were amalgamated to form university of East African.


Missionaries and other Europeans development comprehensive medical system e.g medical facilitate in Kikuyu (1902) Kaloleni (KOH) Kaimosi (1903) and Maseno (1905).

White Prime Author opened a mission at Thogoto.

The main objective for establishing health centres were. Eradicate disease e.g small pox, malaria and sleeping sickness.

Train personnel to handle Western medicine.

Improve health and hygiene for Africans and Asians who laced in overcrowded areas.

The medical services were improved after World War I as many Africans recruited in the was as carrier corps contracted discuss such as dysnety. Influence and typhoid at the over front.

In 1924 Public Health ordinance required the medical deparment to assume medical responsibility for the whole Kenyan people as it was entrusted with the tasks of helping in the prevention, limitation or suppressin of infectious communicable or preventive diseases.

After 1945 the development and Research Authority (DARA) gave 47,000 sterling pounds for health care and the improvement of health services.

In 1949, the Bureau of medical research was set up as an agency of the East African high commission and by 1951, the King George (VI) Hospital (Kenyatta National Hospital started training female nurses).

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