HISTORY OF KENYA
Where is Kenya?
Kenya is located in the Eastern parts of Africa and covers a total area of 582,650 kilometres squared. Just like any other successful country in the world Kenya has some history that has helped in pushing it up the ladder in economic and development sectors. Historians have documented that the country was first inhabited in the lower Palaeolithic era by the Bantus who originated from western parts of the continent. As time went by other tribes began to come into the country. These tribes include Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan tribes. These tribes interacted with each other and these interactions led to the rise of many sub communities and this in turn resulted in the country becoming a multi ethnic country.
Asia and Europeans also form part of the Kenyan history, this people came to the country through the port of Mombasa. Their main objective was to trade with the people of Kenya. During this era ivory and other animal products such as rhino horns and wild animals’ skins were the main items of trade. In return they would give the residents food stuffs such as spices and other food products that were at that time not grown in the country. As they carried their trade expeditions, the European and become interested in the various natural resources in the country which at the time had not being exploited by the residents due to lack of the necessary information and tools to use them.
According to some artefacts that were collected by an archaeologist by the name Louis Leakey, Kenya’s first inhabitants were basically hunters and gatherers and depended on this activity for their livelihood. One fossil that was collected at Kamoya Kimeu in the year 1984 was found to be 1.2 million years old. This showed that the country has being inhabited for over 3 million years. The Portuguese were the first people to explore the country, as the good news about the resources in the country spread in the European continents, more and more Europeans began visiting the country and this in turn resulted in colonisation of the country by the British in early 1895. Before that the Portuguese who were more interested in trade had already taken full control of the Kenyan and Tanzania coasts where they used to carry out their trade activities.
The British successfully took full control of the country in 1905; they even managed to spread their control to Uganda in 1902. This move led to the development of the East Africa Protectorate. Most of the Europeans settled in the highlands due to the fertile soils and good climate that favoured various agricultural activities. Kenya history would not be complete without mentioning that the Europeans were the first people to introduce cash crops such as tea, coffee and pyrethrum into the country. Tea and coffee were cultivated in large plantations that were located in all fertile lands in the country. The local residents were used as workers in this fields, most of them were not paid for the services, instead the colonialists would give them shelter and food in their own lands. Lack of a clear land tenure system can be blamed for the loss of land that was originally owned by the native residents of the country.
Railway is one of the major developments that the colonialists introduced in the country. This infrastructure is very important in Kenyan History because it helped to open up the interior parts of the country. This in turn helped to promote economic growth that mostly benefited the colonialists more than the native residents.
In 1914, the country became a military base for the British army as the World war one emerged. This war lasted until 1918 and left so many people injured and others dead. In 1920 the local residents if the country began to rebel the colonial government and this in turn led to formation of political parties whose main aim was to fight for the rights of the Kenyan people. The Young Kikuyu Association is one of the political parties that were formed by Harry Thuku in 1921. These parties received a lot of support from the almost all tribes in the country and this resulted in the colonial government setting up rules and regulations that aimed at combating any activity that would hinder them from achieving their goals and objectives in the country.
Mau Mau War
The Mau Mau war is another major part of the history of Kenya. This war was against the colonial government and due to lack of guns and other machinery used in war the group mostly used guerrilla tactics to fight the colonialists. Many people died during this war but later in 1962 the country gained independence and KANU which was the main political party in the country was given the mandate to run the county. Its leader Jomo Kenyatta became the president of the country until his death in 1978. Another prominent leader who at that time was the Vice president during the Jomo Kenyatta time as the president took over the leadership of the country.
Kenya remained a single party country under the leadership of President Moi until 1991 when various political leaders introduced a motion in the parliament that aimed at promoting democracy in the country through introduction of many political parties in the government. The multi-party politics were opposed by the government but later they agreed on this issue leading to development of many political parties. Up to date Kenya is one of the most democratic countries in the world and this is all attributed to history of Kenya that nurtured and helped in achievement of economic and development goals of the country.