A brief history of Kenya
There are a lot of facts and figures about Kenyan republic that suggests that life existed there, even before we think of the starting of any civilization, but what about the history of the place from the time the humans shifted there. Well, there are a lot of points that need to be discussed in this context. In the sections below, we have tried to depict the history of Kenya, discussing each and every aspect of it.
Kenya before colonization
Before anything else, it is important to know how a particular country was established. Kenya is not a country that was always there but was established by people who were part of some other country. The establishment of Kenya is marked around 2000 BC. People who initially laid the foundation of Kenya were from North Africa and came to East Africa and settled down there. The area they occupied was known as Kenya later on. These people used to speak Cushitic. This was the time of pre-colonization. Soon, the country was colonized by the Arabians. These used to come to Kenya for trade and commerce, but soon occupied the land and then started their rule over there. Along with these Arabians and Persians, Nilotic and Bantu people too joined the clan and started living there. All of this happened until the first millennium AD.
This was not the end of a colonial power; in fact, others too were standing in the queue to make their influence on the people of Kenya. From the point mentioned in the above section, it is clear that the people living there were a mix of culture and language. This was the time the language Swahili had become the lingua franca of trade in this area. The Portuguese came in the year 1498 in this area and their intention too was trade and commerce. Well, soon their real intentions came out and people knew that they are under some other ruling power. With their strong influence, they challenged the ruling Islamic power and established their control over the area. The final rule was established around 1600 and existed until the other European influences did not come in. So, this was actually the era that colonial power got established in Kenya.
History of colonialism
If we look at the exact history of colonialism in Kenya then one should actually recall the Berlin conference of 1885. This was the time when the division of East Africa was done by the European powers. The clan was divided into various territories of influence. In 1895, after the foundation of the East African Protectorate, the British government gave the highly fertile lands to the white settlers. The plight of a colonized state is not hidden from anyone of us. We all know in some way or another that what challenges the colonizers have to offer to the people living in these areas. So, in this case, even before becoming a British colony, the British people were allowed to speak and take decisions in government actions.
The biggest disappointment was that the Asians and the Africans were not allowed to say a word and not even allowed to participate in any political activity. All of this started in 1920 and continued till 1944. The culture of this country grew and became richer. People were coming from different countries to work here. A lot of laborers were brought from India to work on the Kenya Uganda Railway line. They came here to work as laborers, but they settled down here forever and bought their families too.
Steps towards freedom from colonization
It is true that the country, which becomes a colony, is definitely not stronger than the colonizers. However, it is also a truth that if you do not try to come out of it, nobody is there to help you. So, every time a colony has become free, it is because of the efforts of the people living there. This was the time, that people of Kenya had realized that their rights are being exploited and they now need to do something regarding it.
Some of the members of various tribes living there decided that they will get rid of it and will help their people in coming out of it too. They took the oath of unity and confidentiality and also of fighting for the freedom for their country. You must have heard of the Mau Mau movement. This was the time when the people of Kenya started their journey towards the roads of freedom. The story of every freedom struggle resembles each other in a lot of ways.
The imprisonments, wrong punishments, exploitation of property and people are few of the common factors that you could find in every freedom struggle story. Here, one of the most important members of this struggle, Jomo Kenyatta was arrested and was put behind the bars for 7 years. The accusation was that the Mau Mau movement flourished under his guidance. This was the first arrest since the movement started and a lot of others were arrested after this. Another important arrest that was done after this was of Dedan Kimathi, who was again a freedom fighter.
He was arrested in 1956 and the accusation was that he too has contributed a lot in raising the Mau Mau movement. With all these things happening in the country, there was a call for emergency, which is again a very common thing found in most of the stories of the colonized states. This state of emergency started from October 1952 and continued till December 1959. The main reason behind this state of emergency was the Mau Mau rebellion and it was due to this that a lot of Kenyans were sent to detention camps. The good thing that happened after all this is that, the three races of the Kenyan province started participating in the political decisions. It was the period of 1954 that three races namely, European, Asian and African started participating in political scenarios and were actually admitted in the Kenya legislative council, but on a representative basis.
So, by this time, the clouds of captivity were gone and Kenya was taking the breath in free air. This was the year 1957 that the first election of the Kenyan Legislative council took place. After the elections were over, the people protested and demanded the release of Jomo Kenyatta’s. This protest resulted in a good thing and Kenyatta was set free. Not just this, he was also made the first Prime Minister of free Kenya. The final independence came to Kenya on 12 December 1963. The following year Kenya became a republic and Kenyatta became the president of free Kenya. The very next year, Kenya joined the British Commonwealth.
The new democracy
Till now we know that Kenya is independent and that Jomo Kenyatta has become the first president of independent Kenya. It was his popularity and good deeds that people demanded his release and even gave him the highest post in the country. It was in June 1982, the amendment of the constitution by National Assembly was done and this made Kenya a one-party state. In September 1983, the parliamentary elections were held for the first time. The second elections were held in the year 1988 and by now people had started talking about this one party system. These talking resulted in the dismissal of the system and in December 1991 the policy came in practice actually. With the coming of 1992, several other parties were made and in this year an only multi-party election was conducted. This time, Moi was elected for the 5-year term and his party KANU won a majority of the legislature.
After all these things, many parliamentary reforms came and it was the result of it that a lot of political rights were expanded. In the December 1997 elections too Moi was elected and his party won total of 113 seats out of 222. However, the party had a lot of defects and due to it, it had to depend on other parties.
In the year 2002, in the month of October, NARC (National Rainbow Coalition), which was a part of KANU, broke out from the party and many other parties too joined it. This move is considered huge in the history of Kenyan politics. In December 2002, Mwai Kibaki who was a candidate from NARC won the election and was selected as country’s third president. The candidate got 62% of the total vote and the party got 59% of the total seats of parliament.
So, this was all about the history of Kenya till now. The entire major and important incident related to the history of the country is mentioned in details in this article. This will prove a helpful piece to those who want to know about Kenya as a colony. The points could be helpful for the students who are learning world history, especially focusing on the countries that were once colonized.