BECK index

East Africa 1700-1950

by Sanderson Beck

East Africa, Arabs, and Europeans 1700-1856
East Africa and the British 1856-1918
Kenya 1918-50
Africa’s Lakes Region 1700-1875
Buganda and the British 1875-94
Uganda and the British 1894-1950
East Africa and the Germans 1884-1918
Tanganyika and the British 1918-50

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
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East Africa, Arabs, and Europeans 1700-1856

East and Central Africa to 1700

The Omanis governing Mombasa were of the Mazrui lineage. The Portuguese occupied Mombasa once more in 1728. The same year the King of Pate agreed to garrison 150 Portuguese soldiers and give Portugal a monopoly on ivory. After the people of Pate refused to build the fort and burned down half of Pate, the King sold the Portuguese a ship to return to Goa. In Mombasa townsmen joined by Musungulos murdered some Portuguese outside the fort in April 1729, taking the outpost fort at Makupa. Other towns rebelled against the Portuguese also, and in November 1729 the Portuguese abandoned Mombasa for good. The Omani Arabs soon arrived and took over Pate and Mombasa.

After Sohar’s Governor Ahmad bin Sa‘id founded the al-Busa‘idi dynasty of Oman in 1744, the Mazrui leader Muhammad bin Uthman proclaimed himself governor of Mombasa. Soon Pate, Malindi, Pemba, Zanzibar, and Mafia became independent also. In 1745 Bwana Mkuu took power on Pate. The next year Omani agents murdered Muhammad bin Uthman and imprisoned his Mazrui brother ‘Ali ibn Athman, who escaped, rallied the people, overthrew the new Governor, and executed the assassins. ‘Ali ibn Athman (r. 1746-55) proclaimed himself sultan at Mombasa and seized Pemba, but a family quarrel prevented him from taking over Zanzibar. His successor, Mas‘ud ibn Nasir (r. 1756-73), cooperated with Pate and developed Mombasa’s relationship with the inland Nyika, extending Mazrui influence from Pangani to Malindi.

The Portuguese attempts to exploit East Africa for its gold, ivory, and slaves had little positive effect except for the foods they introduced from America. Another Portuguese attempt to attack Mombasa in 1769 failed. Omanis had revived Kilwa by developing the ivory and slave trades for the French, who acquired the Mascarene Islands; but in 1771 the Omani Governor was driven out of Kilwa. The French had occupied the island of Mauritius in 1714, and the number of slaves increased steadily. In 1776 French trader Jean-Vincent Morice made an agreement with the Sultan of Kilwa to purchase one thousand slaves a year for twenty piastres each to supply the French plantations on the islands of Mauritius and Bourbon. After Oman’s ruler, Ahmad ibn Sa’id, died in 1784, Saif ibn Ahmad claimed the throne. His son Ali conquered Kilwa, but Zanzibar held out with its Governor. Eventually Zanzibar and Kilwa surrendered to the new Omani ruler.

In 1800 Kilwa was the biggest slaving port between Zanzibar and Mozambique. Sayyid Sa’id al-Busa’idi was only 13 years old when he inherited the Omani throne at Muscat in 1806, and he ruled for fifty years. Mombasa’s Governor Ahmad ibn Sa’id al-Mazrui (r. 1783-1814) had submitted to al-Busa’idi sovereignty in 1784, but in 1807 he led the attack that replaced the Omani Governor at Pate with their own man. Yet when the Mazrui attacked Lamu in 1813, they were defeated. Lamu then asked for Busa’idi protection. The next year Ahmad was succeeded by his son Abdullah (r. 1814-25), who appealed to the British at Bombay to protect Mombasa’s independence. British Captain Smee had described the misery of some 150,000 slaves on Zanzibar during his visit in 1811, and he complained that the Indians, who were British subjects, were being taxed excessively. Sayyid Sa’id sent 4,000 Omanis to attack the Mazrui at Pate in 1817.

In 1822 the people of Pemba helped the Omanis drive out the Mazrui Governor Rizike, and Sayyid Sa’id and his Governor of Lamu kept the Mazrui candidate Fumoluti from taking power at Pate. Led by their hero Mbaruk, the Mazrui at Mombasa again appealed to the British for protection against the Omani navy, but the British had just made a treaty with Sa’id to abolish the slave trade. After an Omani squadron captured two leaders from Mogadishu and demanded a $2,000 ransom, this city formed an alliance with Merka, Barawa, Pate, and Mombasa against Sa’id.

In December 1823 a British captain refused permission for the Mazrui at Mombasa to fly the British flag. Two months later the Omani fleet invaded, and Shaykh Sulayman Mazrui engaged them with the cannons of Fort Jesus. When a British warship arrived, both sides stopped fighting. Captain William F. Owen saw that Mombasa had put up a home-made British flag, and on his own authority he promised the Mazrui protection against the Omanis. Owen believed the Omanis to be the worst slavers, and he got the Mazrui to promise to abolish the slave trade at Mombasa. They wanted control over Pemba, and Owen took Mbaruk with him to Pemba; but Owen merely asked them to respect the rights of those from Mombasa. He went to Zanzibar and persuaded its Governor Abdullah to release the two imprisoned chiefs from Mogadishu. In 1826 a Mazrui council at Mombasa decided they had not ceded Fort Jesus to the British and that the agreement was nullified because they had not been given control over Pemba. British Captain Arland then ordered his troops to evacuate Mombasa.

The Mazrui capitulated to Sayyid Sa’id and signed a peace treaty in January 1828; but Sa’id quickly broke his word by installing his men in Fort Jesus. Mogadishu refused to submit and was sacked by the Omani navy. Sa’id ordered Pemba’s Governor Nasir bin Sultan, an old enemy of the Masrui, to become governor of Mombasa. The Masrui revolted against this second violation of the treaty and besieged the fort for three months until the starving garrison surrendered. Nasir was imprisoned; but when the Omani fleet arrived, the Masrui cut his throat. Mombasa’s Shaykh Salim bin Ahmed (r. 1826-35) accepted a new treaty but would not let Omanis in the fort. Yet Sa’id kept attacking Mombasa.

After Salim died in 1835, his son Rashid seized Fort Jesus; but his opponents held the town. Some of the Mazrui, disgusted with this conflict, called in Sa’id; but Rashid refused Sa’id’s offers to leave. Sa’id sent his son Khalid to invite the Mazrui and then treacherously arrest them. Thus in 1837 the leaders of the Mazrui family were deported, and all died in prison. After Pate revolted in 1839 and killed the Omani Governor and some of his Baluchi soldiers, Sa’id merely assigned Lamu’s Governor to rule Pate. That year Captain Robert Cogan estimated that 40,000 slaves were sold every year in the Zanzibar market.

In 1840 Sayyid Sa’id moved from Muscat to Zanzibar, where large numbers of slaves worked the clove plantations for the rich. He made commercial treaties with the United States in 1833, allowing them extra-territorial rights, with Britain in 1839, with France in 1844, and with the Hanseatic League in 1860. Sa’id had farmed out the taxes to the Indian firm Wat Bania for $70,000 a year; but they soon passed it over to Jairam Sewji for twenty years, and the customs master Taria Topan dominated Zanzibar after Sa’id’s death. Because Sa’id got rid of their Mazrui rulers, Pemba paid his taxes and accepted an Arab garrison.

Sa’id tried to conquer independent Siu, which was ruled by Matata bin Mbaraka; but after five expeditions Sa’id gave up in 1845 when his commander Hamad bin Ahmad and 300 men were killed in an ambush. Two years later Sa’id sent a judge from Zanzibar to negotiate peace with the Sultan of Pate, and the 5% customs duties on exports and imports were reinstated. Sa’id generally tried to preserve peace so that he could collect these duties.

After a French adventurer named Maisan was murdered by brigands in the interior in 1845, French officials pressured the reluctant Sa’id to send some Baluchi soldiers to kill and ruin villages in revenge. That year the British consul Atkins Hamerton persuaded Sa’id to sign a treaty banning exportation of slaves from his African dominions or importation into his Asian possessions. Yet after 1850 Hamerton estimated that about 450,000 slaves worked on the two islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. Sa’id’s economic policy simplified customs to a 5% duty on all imports, produced most of the world’s cloves on Zanzibar, promoted the caravan trade in Africa, welcomed trade with Europeans, and encouraged Indians to handle business in Zanzibar. Between 1830 and his death in 1856 Sa’id multiplied his African revenue ten-fold.

Johann Krapf landed on Zanzibar in 1844 and was given a helpful letter by Sa’id. He was the first Christian missionary to explore the interior of Kenya and observed that the Masai were dangerous. Krapf visited Shambaa’s (Usambara) ruler Kimweri ye Nyumbai (r. 1836-62) at Vuga in 1848 and 1852 and estimated that his kingdom southeast of Mount Kilimanjaro contained a half million people. Kimweri was a very effective autocrat and made detailed arrangements for the hospitality of strangers. After Kimweri died, the Shambaa kingdom broke apart. The fighting between the tribes allowed thousands of captives to be sold as slaves in Pangani. The Masai engaged in another series of wars between 1860 and 1864. They raided the cattle of their Bantu and Nilo-Hamite neighbors who retreated into the forest and steep hillsides.

East Africa and the British 1856-1918

When Sa’id died in 1856, his son Majid succeeded him in Zanzibar and was supported by the British in his conflict with his brother Thuwain, who ruled at Muscat and tried to take over Zanzibar in 1859; but a British man-of-war persuaded him to turn back. In 1861 a man-of-war helped suppress the pirates ravaging Zanzibar. That year the British granted the right to hire Indian “coolies.” Also in 1861 Governor-General Canning of India arbitrated the Omani succession dispute by deciding they should rule their separate realms, and Majid should pay Thuwain 40,000 crowns a year. France accepted the agreement the next year.

In 1861 Ahmad ibn Fumuloti, who was called Simba (Lion), joined with Mutaka ibn Mbaraka and led a revolt that destroyed the Busa’idi fort at Siu; but Majid led the expedition that restored order and rebuilt the fort. Majid stopped paying the tribute to Thuwain in 1866 when Thuwain was murdered by his son Salim, though for two more years it was sent to the Governor of Bombay. In 1866 two sons of Mutaka were arrested while on an embassy to Zanzibar and soon died in the prison at Mombasa. Despite agreements, in the 1860s Zanzibar and Pemba were absorbing about 10,000 slaves a year. Kilwa declined as its slave trade diminished, and it was devastated by epidemics in 1857 and 1870. Captain Owen observed that the slave trade also ruined the economy around Mozambique.

In 1873 the British agent John Kirk by threatening to blockade Zanzibar got Sayyid Barghash ibn Sa’id (r. 1870-88) to sign a treaty banning the slave trade by sea and promising to protect all liberated slaves. In 1875 Sayyid Barghash visited Queen Victoria in England, and in 1876 he proclaimed that conveyance of slaves by land was prohibited nor could slave caravans approach the coast from the interior. Riots broke out in Mombasa against the freed-slave work of the missions, and at Kilwa slave-traders hid 6,000 slaves near the coast. Kirk persuaded Barghash to raise an army, and in 1877 Lt. William Lloyd Mathews was appointed to drill the recruits. Slave-trading continued until the Sultan put the Governor of Kilwa in prison. Kirk estimated that during the 1870s about 10,000 slaves a year crossed the Juba River into Somaliland. As the slave trade declined, the export of rubber, cloves, and ivory greatly increased. Also in 1877 the Eastern Telegraph Company connected Zanzibar to Aden by cable.

In 1875 Bishop Edward Steere traveled from Lindi into the Nyasa country, and two years later he opened missions at Masasi and Newala. There Herbert Clarke persuaded the warring tribes of the Maviti and the Makua to stop raiding each other for slaves. They agreed to submit their disputes to a representative of the Sultan of Zanzibar and not interfere with road construction. However, in 1882 raiders captured some Christian converts at Masasi, which was then abandoned as a mission station. Antoine Horner was in charge of a leper colony in Réunion, and in 1877 he established a station a hundred miles inland at Mhonda. During Ramadan in 1880 Mombasa Arabs and Swahili attacked the Freretown settlement that was defended by missionaries. In 1888 an inquiry by the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) learned that more than 1,400 runaway slaves were being harbored at Mombasa freed-slave centers.

In February 1882 Mombasa’s last independent Mazrui ruler, Mbarak, led two thousand warriors including Masai and raided the coastal town of Vanga. Sultan Barghash sent his army led by Mathews, and they attacked Mbarak’s stockade at Mwele. After fighting for a decade Mbarak surrendered in 1884 and promised not to attack the Zanzibar Sultan again, and he was allowed to return to Gazi. Mandara brought together Chagga chiefs on May 30, 1885, and Mathews signed 25 treaties with them before leaving for the coast.

In 1880 Belgium’s King Leopold and his International Association sent out an expedition that was attacked in the Nyamwezi country. Leaders were killed, and Sultan Barghash fortified a post at Mamboya. In 1885 he sent a punitive expedition into Usagara after tribes attacked a group led by two treaty-making Germans. By 1886 Barghash had established 120 customs posts on the coast and garrisons at all the main ports. The IBEAC gained the last coastal strip from Zanzibar on May 24, 1888, and in June riots broke out in Mombasa in protest of the sell-out and the mission stations. George Mackenzie arrived as administrator and paid off the complaining owners of slaves who were being freed. Khalifa had succeeded Barghash as Sultan of Zanzibar in March, and he disliked Europeans. Germany had the Witu protectorate by the northern coast but renounced the claim in July 1890. The British gained control of the Upper Nile in Uganda and a protectorate over Zanzibar and Pemba, and they gave up the island of Heligoland in the North Sea to Germany.

In February 1890 Ali bin Said succeeded his brother Khalifa. A few months later Gerald Portal arrived as commissioner and consul-general for the British territory in East Africa. In October 1891 he took control of Sultan Ali’s finances, reduced his personal share of the revenue to one-third and used the rest for administration, building, and improvements in the harbor. The importation of arms, ammunition, and liquor was prohibited. Double customs imposed by the German and British officials in Zanzibar greatly reduced traffic. So in February 1892 they declared Zanzibar a free port.

As the influence of the Sultan of Zanzibar declined on the coast, the power of the Sultan of Witu increased. He opposed Zanzibar’s anti-slavery decree of August 1890 that prohibited the sale or exchange of slaves, and the next year the British Company established a garrison at Witu. Because of costs they withdrew in July 1893, and in August the forces of Zanzibar destroyed Witu’s stockade. The Sultan of Witu fled, was captured, and executed.

When Ali bin Said died in March 1893, Khalid bin Barghash tried to seize power; but the British selected Ali’s nephew Hamid bin Thuwaini al-Busaid as sultan. He died on August 25, 1896 and was probably poisoned by Khalid, but the British navy bombarded the palace, killing and wounding about 500 people. Khalid took refuge in the German consulate, and the British selected Sayyid Hamud bin Muhammad, who had little Arab support. On April 5, 1897 his decree abolished slavery in Zanzibar and Pemba, but slaves had to declare their freedom in district courts under Arab walis. Owners were to be compensated, and concubines had to prove cruelty or could be freed if childless. In the next ten years 5,141 slaves in Zanzibar and 5,930 in Pemba were freed. In 1909 the Administration declared that no more compensation would be paid for slaves after 1911.

The Kikuyu were expanding and were raiding the Kamba and the Masai. In transporting goods between Buganda and the coast the British had to pay £250 per ton for human portage. The British Company built stations at Machakos in Kamba territory and in Kikuyu. On the coast they had station agents at Kismayu, Lamu, Witu, Malindi, Takaungu, and Vanga with the central administration at Mombasa. In the 1880s the Kikuyu reacted to well-armed European caravans led by a German and a Hungarian, and they gained a reputation for being hostile. In 1890 Lugard had the Company’s first Kikuyu station built at Dagoretti. In April 1891 Waiyaki wa Hinga led local resistance that forced the British to evacuate and then destroyed the fort. Captain Eric Smith built a new station for the IBEAC on the edge of the Rift Valley, ordered Waiyaki to leave, and it was named Fort Smith. In 1892 European agents there led punitive expeditions and raided for grain. In a letter to his wife Gerald Portal criticized them by writing, “By refusing to pay for things, by raiding, looting, swashbuckling, and shooting natives, the Company have turned the whole country against the white man.”1

The Masai lost many cattle to disease and famine in the 1880s. Masai’s Chief Laibon Mbatian died in 1890, and the struggle between his sons, Lenana and Sendeu, weakened the tribe. The civil war went on, but in 1896 they tried to reconcile for the circumcision ceremonies. In 1898 Sendeu was fighting the Germans in the south, and in the next two years Lenana attacked him. In 1902 Sendeu finally gave up and agreed to live in obscurity near Lenana’s headquarters at Ngong. In 1904 Donald Stewart made an agreement with Masai’s ruler Lenana that the Masai would live on two reserves by Ngong on the north and south side of the railway; but the agreement for a road linking them was not fulfilled.

In the west the Nandi became more powerful. During the 1890s the Masai and the Kikuyu lost many cattle to rinderpest and then to pleuro-pneumonia. Smallpox devastated the humans, killing more than half of the Kikuyu. Francis Hall at Fort Smith gave refuge to the surviving Kaputie and Matapatu Masai, though the Kikuyu denied them food. In November 1895 the Masai attacked a caravan and killed nearly 650 Kikuyu and Swahili porters. British officials investigated with Lenana and blamed the porters. In the last three years of the 1890s they were hit by famines. One of the advantages European colonists and missionaries eventually brought to Africa was vaccination.

Against the advice of the British Consul-General Hardinge in Zanzibar, the British took over the coastal strip in the north when they proclaimed the British East Africa Protectorate on July 1, 1895. Hardinge became the Commissioner of the EAP and formed a Council with Lloyd Mathews and other senior British officials. In February the British had installed Rashid bin Salim as the new Mazrui Shaykh of Takaunga north of Mombasa, but he was challenged by the younger Mbarak bin Rashid. His father of the same name tried to reconcile them, but Hardinge drove him out of his stronghold at Mwele. Mbarak led a rebellion, and they burned several towns on the coast until a regiment from India came in March 1896 and forced them to flee south into German territory, where Governor von Wissmann gave them political refuge.

The Herti Somali around Kismayu submitted to the British Protectorate in 1895, but Ogaden Somali continued their usual raiding. The British military defeated them in August 1898 and made them pay a fine of 500 cattle. When raids continued, the British Sub-Commissioner Jenner complained and was murdered. In retaliation a British army of 1,500 men led by the Acting Commissioner, Col. Ternan, attacked the Somalis in February 1901, inflicting 150 casualties. Yet the nomadic Somalis survived even though the British denied them water-holes and trade.

By 1900 J. Ainsworth managed to get the Machakos to accept the British Protectorate, and C. W. Hobley developed influence with the Luhya and some of the Luo on the Kavirondo Gulf. The Nandi were aggressive and murdered a British trader in 1895 and attacked a caravan. A British expedition attacked them, and two years later F. J. Jackson led another campaign against them and the Keyo and Tuken. The Kitui station was opened in 1897 to reduce slave trading.

The IBEA Company started building a road from Mombasa, and Captain Sclater supervised its completion to Lake Victoria in 1896. The Uganda railway was started at Mombasa in December 1895, and it was completed mostly by contract laborers from India in December 1901 at Kisumu on the Kavirondo Gulf. In 1900 Hardinge was succeeded by Charles Eliot, who promoted white settlement under the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1902 to develop the economy, but only some of Masailand was under their control. In Kikuyu country towns were laid out, and British officials tried to develop African agriculture. In 1904 the last portion of the 580-mile railway line was finished, and the Masai made a treaty agreeing to withdraw and stay away from the Rift Valley railway zone. They lived in reserves north and south of the railway with a corridor connecting them. Eliot gave large grants to Europeans along the railway, taking away African grazing land. The Foreign Office received so many complaints that they recalled him in 1904. Eliot had reserved all land from Kiu to Fort Ternan for white settlers, and in 1907 the Colonial Secretary Elgin pledged that the area would be reserved for Europeans. The railway cost taxpayers £7,909,294 but began turning a profit in 1905.

In 1898 John Boyes established a trading network in central Kikuyuland with the help of Karuri of Metume. Francis Hall selected a site at Mbiri, and after his death it was named Fort Hall in 1901. Late in 1902 the third fort in Kikuyuland was built at Nyeri. In 1904 the British fought the Iraini and Embu, defeated them, and established Embu station in 1906. In October 1905 the British launched their fifth and largest expedition against the Nandi and killed 600 of their warriors by November, ending ten years of violence as the Nandi withdrew to a reserve away from the railway. In 1906 four reserves were created for the Kikuyu, Kitui, Kikumbuliu, and Ulu tribes. In 1908 the British attacked the northern Bugusu of the Luhya peoples and defeated them. After a British officer was killed with a spear in Kisii, the British killed 220 Gusii warriors, and the Colonial Office demanded a report and that they be more careful.

In the Zanzibar Protectorate slavery was replaced by strict vagrancy laws, and former slaves worked as statutory tenants on the plantations, selling their labor at harvest time to the highest bidders. In 1907 Nairobi replaced Mombasa as the capital, and James Hayes Sadler became the first British governor. Two years later he was replaced by Percy Girouard. In 1910 the British adopted a forward policy in the Jubaland Province. The East Africa Protectorate (EAP) promulgated a Courts Ordinance in 1907 to let headmen hear petty cases and the broader Native Tribunal Rules in 1911 that gave judicial authority to a council of elders. The Native Authority Ordinance the next year gave each council’s headman more legal power. The British imposed the African hut and poll tax, raising tax revenues in Machakos from 8,668 rupees in 1901 to 168,042 rupees in 1912 and in North Kavirondo from 26,000 rupees in 1901 to 356,000 rupees in 1912.

In 1908 movement between the two Masai reserves was prohibited. Before Lenana’s death in March 1911 he had hoped the Masai in the north would move to the south, and an agreement was signed to that effect on April 4. Northern Masai in Laikipia appealed but were forced to move in April 1913. The British High Court declared itself unqualified to hear a case about a treaty involving a foreign power. The Masai lost their grazing grounds by the railway, and Laikipia became a white-only settlement.

Between 1908 and 1912 settlers complained about a lack of African labor, and they demanded the Government increase taxes on Africans to force them to work. A Poll Tax was added to the Hut Tax, and pressure was put on Africans to leave their homes and work on European estates. Since 1907 John Ainsworth as Commissioner of Nyanza Province had been encouraging Africans to grow their own crops, and by 1914 Nyanza was the leading exporter, growing much corn (maize) and simsim (sesame). Many Indians settled in Kenya and maintained their culture, language, and religion as they excelled in crafts, trade, and civil service. Europeans, some of whom were from South Africa, began to demand residential segregation of Asians as well as of Africans. Ewart Grogan had flogged Africans in 1907. Settlers got the right to all-European juries, and for many years no jury convicted a European of murdering an African.

When the Great War broke out in August 1914, the East Africa Protectorate raised troops and scouts to protect the German frontier. They recruited 280,000 men during the war. When not enough African porters volunteered, forced recruitment began in 1915. Lack of men farming caused a famine. The Crown Lands Ordinance of 1915 helped settlers at the expense of Africans, and the Native Registration Ordinance forced Africans to carry identity papers in the hated kipande. Governor H. C. Belfield (1912-19) appointed a War Council and listened to the settlers who demanded European elections, which were postponed until 1920. German East Africa’s Von Lettow-Vorbeck ordered attacks across the border against the Uganda Railway. Indian reinforcements arrived at Mombasa on September 1, but the British attack by sea on Tanga on November 4 failed. In 1915 both sides used guerrilla tactics, and the British used naval forces in the Atlantic and on Lake Victoria. The German cruiser Konigsberg was destroyed on July 11. General Smuts led the invasion of German East Africa in March 1916, and the British and Belgian militaries occupied all of it except the southeast corner.

Kenya 1918-50

Edward Northey arrived in January 1919 and became the first governor of Kenya when it was declared a colony in 1920. He ordered the start of African registration, and in October 1919 he authorized officials to assist with labor recruiting for private employers. Northey also implemented the Soldier Settler plan by helping European veterans get land in Kenya on easy terms. Taxes on Africans were raised during and after the war, but Europeans had low taxes. The state even helped employers reduce their wages to Africans. The Indians in Kenya outnumbered the Europeans, but they were not allowed to vote or get land in the “white highlands.” They demanded the vote, free immigration, and an end to segregation. However, the Convention of Associations demanded restricted Asian immigration, only two Asians on the Legislative Council, and residential segregation.

In 1920 the moderate Kikuyu Association was formed in Nairobi. In June 1921 Harry Thuku founded the more radical Young Kikuyu Association, and the next year he started the multi-ethnic East African Association that opposed the kipande registration, tax increases, land alienation, and the forced labor of women and girls. Thuku also objected to the abuses caused by the Government using the chiefs as leaders, though he favored a paramount chief for the Kikuyu. He suggested disobeying the kipandes system and refusing to work for Europeans. These actions were considered illegal, and he was arrested on March 14, 1922. About 8,000 Africans gathered to protest around the jail in Nairobi, and the police guards shot dead twenty Africans.

Northey’s policies were so damaging to African agriculture that he was recalled in June 1922. His successor, Robert Coryndon (1922-25), favored the Dual Policy that supported both European and African agriculture. The Colonial Office’s Wood-Winterton proposal recommended concessions to the Asians and Africans and the release of Harry Thuku. In October the Duke of Devonshire replaced Winston Churchill as Secretary of State and urged Governor Coryndon to accept the Wood-Winterton recommendations, outraging some settlers. In July 1923 the Colonial Office issued the Devonshire Declaration that Kenya was an African country and that their interests must be paramount. Five seats on the Legislative Council were reserved for separate Asian elections; urban segregation was not approved; and Asian immigration was not limited. After 1923 tariffs protected wheat and dairy farmers, and many European settlers came to Kenya. In the 1920s the area of white cultivation more than tripled, and the white population rose to 16,000.

Archdeacon W. Owen and many in the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) helped organize the Young Kavirondo Association, which in 1923 became the Kavirondo Taxpayers Welfare Association to cooperate with the administration to improve food, clothing, houses, education, and hygiene. After 1924 Local Native Councils were introduced; but African hopes were dashed when the local district commissioners controlled them. The Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) was formed in 1924 and was led by Joseph Kangethe and Jesse Kariuki. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Amery appointed Governor Edward Grigg (1925-31), hoping he would facilitate confederation. Grigg visited Kikuyu districts and learned of their concerns. They wanted land, rights, Thuku’s release, restraining the chiefs’ abuses, and the opportunity for Africans to grow coffee. Johnstone Kamau took the name Jomo Kenyatta. He was elected general secretary of the KCA in 1928 and was the first editor of their journal. Many Protestant missionaries tried to ban female circumcision using clitoridectomy, but many Kikuyu Christians objected to interference in their Kikuyu traditions and left mission churches. In 1931 the Progressive Kikuyu Party was formed in South Nyeri to support the Church of Scotland on the circumcision issue.

Harry Thuku was released in 1930, and in 1932 he became president of the KCA. When Sidney Webb (Lord Passfield) took over the Colonial Office, he got the Native Lands Trust Ordinance passed to promote African economic development. Monoculture crops such as corn (maize) and wheat were subsidized by tariffs and low railway rates, and dairy products were given Government support. Half of Kenya’s exports were coffee and sisal for rope. The Government spent more in the white areas on services such as communication. The world depression caused cultivation to decrease in the early 1930s. In 1933 elected Indians began to take their seats. Finally in 1934 Africans were allowed to grow coffee except in Kikuyuland.

The Kikuyu Independent Schools Association (KISA) was formed to cooperate with the Government, but the Kikuyu Karinga Educational Association (KKEA) resisted Government supervision. The Kikuyu needed more land because many squatted on settler farms; but the Kenya Land Commission chaired by William Morris Carter issued a disappointing report in 1934. Thuku left the KCA in 1935 and founded the Kikuyu Provincial Association (KPA) to offer cooperation with the Government, but the KCA continued to grow with help from Kenyatta in England. In 1935 and 1937 new regulations in marketing helped European farmers at the expense of Indian and African traders. In 1935 Indian artisans organized a trade union, and in 1937 they had successful strikes in Nairobi. In 1936 an income tax was imposed on Europeans again. In late 1937 the Government forced Kamba farmers to sell their livestock for slaughter to stop overgrazing and soil erosion. Muindi Mbingu led the protest, and they formed the Ukamba Members Association. In July 1938 thousands marched to Nairobi and demanded to see the Governor. Muindi was arrested and detained. Kenyatta published Facing Mount Kenya in 1938 to defend Kikuyu culture. Workers in Mombasa went on strike in July 1939, but police arrested strikers and made others disperse. That year the Kenya Teacher Training College began at Githunguri in Kiambu.

During World War II squatters were pushed off settlers’ land, and many Kikuyu were landless. They were forced on to Kikuyu reserves or lived in poverty in Nairobi. The KPA supported the war, but KCA leaders were detained until 1943 and 1944. Philip Mitchell became governor in 1944 and worked for African advancement. The educated formed the Kenya African Study Union, and in 1945 it was replaced by the broader Kenya African Union (KAU). Jomo Kenyatta became its president in June 1947. That year Africans reacted against forced labor by ditching (mitaro). The Kikuyus used oaths to strengthen unity and commitment. In 1948 Kenya elected to the Legislative Council eleven Europeans, five Indians, and one Arab while four Africans and one Arab were appointed by nomination. A strike in Mombasa led to the founding of the African Workers Association. Union leader, Chege Kibachia, was arrested, and it fell apart; but the Indian Makhan Singh strengthened the workers movement in 1948. He joined with Africans in May 1949 to form the East Africa Trade Union Congress at Nairobi, and they called a general strike at Nairobi in May 1950. Singh was arrested, and the union was declared illegal.

Africa’s Lakes Region 1700-1875

With a centralized kabaka (king) the Buganda kingdom was more stable. Kabaka Tebandeke (c. 1644-74) increased his royal power by reforming the exploitation of the religious rituals. So as not to be dependent on Bunyoro for iron and smiths, Mawanda (c. 1674-1704) expanded Buganda territory into Singo, eastern Kyaggwe, and Bulamogi. His officials became more influential than the local chiefs. After 1700 Buganda avoided succession struggles by letting two senior officials choose the new kabaka. Junja annexed Buddu and got Kooki to pay tribute. Kabaka Kamanya took Buwekula from Bunyoro and developed a trade route to the coast.

Bunyoro still suffered many succession disputes, and Omukama Isansa (c. 1733-60) persecuted his opponents in Paluo, causing them to migrate to Acholi in northern Busoga. His wars in the south provoked Kooki and the Busongora states of Kisaka and Bugaya eventually to become independent of the Bunyoro empire. Isansa alienated the Cwezi cult by attacking the Wamara palace in Bwera. Because of this sacrilege, people believed that Buganda would swallow up Bunyoro.

Before the slave trade and European guns, most Africans lived and traded more peacefully with each other and the Arabs or Indians on the coast. The Masai tribes east of Lake Victoria were exceptional in that they were trained to be warriors and limited their consumption to the products of their herds. After 1700 the number of slaves captured in the interior of east and central Africa by Omani Arabs and Portuguese increased to about one or two thousand per year by 1750; but then the French escalated this to supply their plantation labor on the islands of Mauritius and Bourbon.

In the interior west of Lake Victoria, Kyabuga’s son Semakokiro ruled Buganda from about 1797 to 1814 and increased his power through war with his neighbors and by selling slaves, ivory, and livestock to Swahili traders for Indian cotton and other goods. Semakokiro was so afraid of being overthrown by a relative that he killed all of his grown sons except three and later murdered about seventy of his in-laws. Karagwe’s King Ndagara (r. 1832-55) also expanded his Haya kingdom, but he and his son Rumanika allowed the people conquered to keep their own chiefs.

By 1830 east and central Africa were being ravaged for captives as tens of thousands of slaves were exported every year. Slaves were traded for guns loaded from the muzzle. After Europeans began using breech-loading rifles in 1866, tens of thousands of the old guns were sold to Africa annually, greatly increasing the violence of the battles. Buganda’s kabaka Suna II (r. 1832-56) was only twelve years old when he became king. He killed 58 of his 60 brothers, and he bought many guns from Zanzibari traders.

Suna died of smallpox, and one of his two surviving sons became his successor as Mutesa (r. 1856-84). Islam gained Ganda converts during the 1860s, and Mutesa began observing Ramadan in 1867. Buganda was the only kingdom in this region that became Muslim, and Christian missionaries also came only there. By 1872 Mutesa had acquired about a thousand guns. Buganda exported little but gained what it needed by raiding. Sixty raids using armed canoes on Lake Victoria were recorded during his reign, and his Buganda army used guns and spears to attack Busoga, Bunyoro, Ankole, and others. In one raid against Buzinza in 1884 the Buganda army assisted by Gabunga’s canoes took several hundred prisoners and stole 5,000 cattle. However, Buganda managed to avoid civil conflict other than succession struggles for a half century until 1884.

The Ganda dominated their domain but let the people they subjected be independent. Their kabaka made them pay tribute and do his bidding. In the 1870s the Ganda began dominating the humble Bunyoro, who traded much iron around Lake Kyoga. After a long decline Bunyoro began fighting back more successfully under Mukama Kamurasi, who died in 1869 and was succeeded by another strong leader, Kabarega. He reformed his army and bought guns from Khartoum as well as Zanzibar. Kabarega asked Samuel Baker, who came from Egypt in 1871, to help him expel his threatening kinsman Rionga. However, Kabarega refused to accept the protection of Egypt, and so Baker supported Rionga instead. Charles Gordon replaced Baker in 1873. He came to Bunyoro and sent messages to Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda. In early 1876 Gordon with the Italians Gessi and Piaggia explored the Nile from Dufile to Lake Kyoga, and Gessi in April encircled Lake Albert, showing that Baker had exaggerated its size. In November 1875 four warships commanded by a British officer came to Brava, disarmed the Zanzibari troops, took down the Sultan’s flag, and placed garrisons there and in Kismayu and Lamu; but by 1880 the Egyptian garrisons in Bunyoro were withdrawn. The Toro prince Namuyonjo gained the Ganda as allies and became king, increasing the power of Buganda.

These larger kingdoms developed class structures, and in Rwanda the cattle-owning Tutsi dominated the Hutu farmers. Rwanda’s King Mutara II (r. 1830-53) began using warfare more often in the 1840s, and his successor Kigeri IV (r. 1853-95) bought guns from Zanzibaris and made all able men serve in his army. Men plotted against Kigeri to get his inheritance, but he ruthlessly eliminated them all. In the 1880s he raided as far away as Ankole and stormed the Kiga while moving toward Lake Edward.

Leaders such as Horombo of the Chagi around 1840 extended their authority over local chiefs and built stone forts. He was killed fighting the Masai, who fought a series of wars after the famine of 1836. Chiefs such as Rengwa and Masaki could not unite the Chagi as well as Rindi of the Moshi Chagga did in the 1860s.

David Livingstone came from Scotland to Cape Town in 1841 as a missionary doctor. He married Moffat’s daughter Mary in 1845, and he helped discover Lake Ngami in 1849. After Boers destroyed his home at Kolobeng and attacked his African friends in 1852, he set out on a long journey. In 1854 he pioneered a northern trade route between Angola and the southern Kololo. From Luanda on the west coast he crossed Africa, exploring the Zambesi and reaching Quilimane in Mozambique in 1856. He returned to England as a hero and wrote a detailed account of his adventures in his Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, which soon sold 70,000 copies. He made eloquent speeches against the Arab slave trade and for Christianity and commerce but downplayed the dangers, diseases, and sacrifices he suffered in order to promote the development of Africa. He believed that the British had a divine mission to elevate those less fortunate. He calculated that for every slave brought to Zanzibar four or five lives were lost. British consul Rigby at Zanzibar believed that only one woman slave in twenty bore children.

In 1858 Richard Burton and J. H. Speke explored Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria, finding the source of the Nile. That year the British Government sponsored Livingstone’s Zambesi expedition. Observing the hunting for slaves and ivory by the Arabs and Portuguese in the Kongo and the Shire highlands, he hoped that a British administration would bring improvement; but the British authorities recalled him in 1863. In his 1865 book, Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries, Livingstone described the cruelty of the slavers in the Lake Nyasa region. At Zanzibar he observed hundreds of slaves being sold each day and estimated the island imported about 15,000 slaves per year.

After this visit to England, Livingstone went back to East Africa in 1866 with only Africans and Asians. After Nguni raids forced them to enter Portuguese territory, some of his followers left and as an excuse reported at Zanzibar that Livingstone had been killed. He went on and explored Lake Tanganyika and the Lualaba River, though he was mistaken about the source of the Nile. He sent forty letters, and only one got through. The New York Herald hired Henry Morton Stanley to find Livingstone, which he did by Lake Tanganyika in October 1871. Livingstone refused to leave Africa and died in May 1873. He was very sympathetic to Africans, and Livingstone’s explorations and writings stimulated great interest in Africa, commerce, and colonialism.

Buganda and the British 1875-94

While the explorer Henry Morton Stanley was encircling Lake Victoria, in 1875 he learned that Buganda’s Kabaka Mutesa was interested in Christianity. Stanley sent a letter about this to the London Daily Telegraph. In early 1876 an anonymous offer of £5,000 was made to the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) to establish a mission on Lake Victoria. They sent eight missionaries, but most of them died on the way. In 1877 Robert Arthington offered the London Missionary Society £5,000 to buy a steamer for Lake Tanganyika, and the first expedition reached Ujiji that year. In 1878 the French sent Catholic missionaries called the White Fathers, who competed against the English Protestants.

By 1876 Nyamwezi’s King Mirambo established a market at his capital at Urambo to compete with Unyanyembe, and by 1880 he controlled the roads to Karagwe and Buganda and the Ujiji road to Lake Tanganyika. The half-cast Arab, Songoro, established a kingdom on the southern shore of Lake Victoria, but in 1877 he was killed fighting on the island of Ukerewe.

Muhammad bin Hamid, more commonly known as Tippu Tip, sought political power in order to get ivory west of Lake Tanganyika. He defeated the Bemba chief by 1868, and in 1871 he formed an alliance with Msiri (r. 1868-91) of Katanga who managed to replace the Lunda Kazembe. Tippu sent his son to Mirambo, and he allowed the Arab merchant’s caravans to travel through his domain. In the late 1870s two Scottish missions inspired by Livingstone settled near Lake Nyasa. In 1874 Glasgow merchants subscribed £10,000 to put a steamer on Lake Nyasa, and in 1878 James Stevenson began a trading company and added more steamers. Tippu was commissioned by Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar to move into the Kongo basin from Lake Tanganyika to Banana and to prevent ivory from being shipped to the west.

Tippu brought back a large caravan with ivory to Zanzibar in September 1886, and Barghash admitted he had little hope of retaining the interior. Stopping the slave trade on the east coast along with the consequences of war and famine made cheap the abundant slave labor in the interior. That year Tippu recognized Belgium’s Congo Independent State and became a local governor in its eastern territory where he had commercial dominance.

Meanwhile Harry Johnston was working for the Royal Geographical Society, and in July 1884 he urged the British to protect the Kilimanjaro which was being colonized by English settlers. Johnston handed his treaties over to William Mackinnon, who gained approval for an expedition to Kilimanjaro in September 1885. Mackinnon had formed the British East Africa Association and in May 1887 had obtained a concession in which Sultan Barghash gave them judicial and political authority for fifty years over his claims on the mainland from Kipini to the Umba River. The Association collected subscriptions totaling £250,000, and on September 3, 1888 the British Government granted them a charter. In August 1889 arbitration awarded Lamu to Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar. Mackinnon tried to buy the German Witu Company but had to settle for occupying the Manda and Pate islands in December. The British company sent an expedition led by Frederick Jackson to support Stanley who went back in December.

Mwanga had become kabaka of Buganda in October 1884 at the age of eighteen. He did not like missionaries, and in January 1885 he had three followers of the CMS missionaries executed. By his order Luba of Bunya murdered Bishop Hannington in October. In May 1886 young Christians at his court refused to give in to Mwanga’s desires. Thirty Christians refused to recant and were burned to death at Namungongo. Yet the martyrdoms increased respect for Christianity. A smaller Muslim party gained prominence at court, but Mwanga planned to get rid of all three religious parties. In September 1888 the Muslims and Christians backed by the British defeated Kabaka Mwanga at Mengo and replaced him with his half-brother Kiwewa Nnyonyintono, who gave offices to Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims. When he refused to be circumcised, he was replaced after one month by his younger brother, Kalema Muguluma.

The Anglican missionaries asked the IBEA Company to administer Buganda. Mwanga escaped and offered the British some of his sovereignty, and in September 1889 they put him back on the throne with support from Ganda Christians. The Muslims gained support from Mukama Kabarega of Bunyoro and defeated Mwanga; but he and the Christians rallied and drove out the Muslims in February 1890. Peters arrived that month and persuaded Mwanga to sign a treaty with Germany. Peters then left, and Jackson arrived in April; but opposition by the English Catholics prevented him from making a deal with Mwanga. The Anglican party was called Wa-Ingleza and was led by Apolo Kagwa who became chief advisor (Katikiro), and the Catholic party associated with the French was named Wa-Fransa and followed Stanilas Mugwanya. The Muslims were headed by Prince Mbogo.

Bunyoro’s Kabarega (r. 1869-99) feared Ganda invasions and had to move his capital five times in the years 1885-88. In 1886 he announced that he would no longer recognize the authority of the chiefs, giving the military party and traders prominence at his court. Kabarega and his mercenaries began raiding his neighbors and challenged Egyptian authority.

Frederick Lugard led an armed expedition in December 1890 and took over Buganda for the IBEA Company. He negotiated a treaty that gave the Company suzerainty that was signed on December 26. In May 1891 Lugard led a Christian army that defeated the exiled Muslims on the border of Bunyoro. Lugard went on a seven-month tour to the west and made a treaty with the Ntare. He passed through Toro and at Kavilli’s he gained the support of Selim Bey and several hundred armed Sudanese. He restored Daudi Kasagama as the ruler of Toro and tried to stop the expansion of the Bunyoro empire into Toro.

The cost of administration was about £45,000 a year and dwindled their capital of £250,000. In July 1891 they informed the British Government they needed a railway or would have to withdraw. Scottish Protestants worried that the Catholic faction might take over if Lugard withdrew, raised a subscription of £40,000. The Company promised to stay to the end of 1892. A controversial murder case aggravated the conflict between the Ingleza and the Fransa, and on January 24, 1893 Lugard’s well-armed Ingleza defeated the Fransa and Mwanga who fled. The Catholics were restricted to Buddu province, and the Muslims were given three small counties. Gerald Portal was appointed commissioner. He arrived at Kampala on March 17 and raised the British flag on April 1. The British Government began to pay the Company for the administration.

Portal left at the end of May and returned to England, leaving Captain Macdonald in charge. He wanted to limit British authority to Buganda and sent Major Roderic Owen to withdraw the Sudanese garrisons from Toro. However, Macdonald and Owen decided not to withdraw in order to protect Buganda from Bunyoro. Ganda Muslims demanded more land in June, and the Sudanese shared their religion. Macdonald mistrusted Selim Bey at Entebbe and ordered the Sudanese at Kampala disarmed. On June 18 the Protestants defeated the Muslims at Rubaga. Later loyal Muslims were given the province of Butambala. Selim Bey was tried for mutiny and deported. Lugard returned to England in October and went on a speaking tour.

The new Commissioner, Col. Colvile, arrived in November 1893. Kabarega and the Bunyoros invaded Toro and drove Kasagama out of his capital. In January 1894 Colvile and Macdonald led a large Ganda army into Bunyoro and forced Kabarega to flee east across the Nile. Bunyoro was devastated, and famine and disease resulted. Colvile had four forts constructed, dividing Bunyoro in two, and left officers in charge of pacifying the country. They defeated Nyoro, and Kabarega fled north across the Nile. Toro’s Kasagama signed a treaty on March 3, establishing the Toro Confederacy that agreed to pay tribute to the British in ivory. Busoga became a tributary to Buganda. Portal’s report was completed in April, and the IBEA Company sold its charter to Britain for £250,000.

Uganda and the British 1894-1950

The British formally declared the Uganda Protectorate in June 1894, and the East Africa Protectorate was proclaimed in July 1895. George Wilson was put in charge and formed a native baraza (council). In Busoga the British official, Grant, replaced the dominion claimed by the Ganda. When a Soga ruler refused to accept his authority, the Sudanese and Swahili troops replaced him with his brother. Commissioner Ernest Berkeley (1895-99) arrived on December 12 and got the Kabaka and chiefs to accept the Uganda-Usoga Agreement by which the Ganda renounced their claims in Busoga, which was incorporated into the Protectorate. The Christian Missionary Society began starting bush schools in 1895. After 1900 they had three or four boarding schools to educate the African elite. Bishop Tucker ordained six Ganda deacons in 1893 and three priests by 1896. By 1914 the Anglican diocese had 33 African priests.

After being humiliated for illegally trading in ivory, Kabaka Mwanga left Kampala in July 1897 with his supporters and went south to Buddu. He had no support left in the capital, and no other county besides Buddu joined Mwanga’s revolt. Seven British-led expeditions tried to find his commander, Gabrieli Kunti, who finally was captured in 1899. Col. Trevor Ternan proclaimed Mwanga’s infant son, Daudi Chwa, as kabaka. Mwanga joined his old enemy, Kabarega, but both were captured in April 1899 and were deported to the Seychelles. The Ankole district next to Buddu was brought under British control. The British chose the younger Mbaguta and banished his conservative rivals.

In September 1897 three companies of Sudanese soldiers mutinied. They had been ordered around several times and objected when allowed to take only one camp follower. They took the British fort at Luba’s and, when besieged, killed three British officers. Those not defeated at Mruli on the Nile in August 1898 fled north of the Nile. Bunyoro suffered a famine, and it was believed that 40,000 died in Busoga. In 1908 another 10,000 died of famine in Busoga, and it 1918-19 more than 100,000 died in its Bukedi District. George Wilson helped to reduce the suffering in 1908, and the British administration was organized to assist the starving ten years later.

The British Treasury was granting £50,000 a year, but in 1899 it increased to nearly £400,000 annually. That year experienced Harry Johnston was sent. In the 1900 agreement Buganda became a province in the Protectorate. Ganda leaders agreed to pay the hut tax, but no additional tax could be imposed without the consent of the kabaka and the Lukiko (council). Johnston went west and made the Toro Agreement on June 26 and the Ankole Agreement in August 1901. Neighbors were brought in, and Ankole doubled its territory in nine months. In 1902 the Foreign Office created the Uganda Order in Council as the Protectorate’s basic law. Johnston divided the Uganda Protectorate into provinces and districts and had native chiefs appointed to collect the hut tax of 3 rupees. About half of Buganda became Crown Land.

In 1902 northeast of Buganda between Lake Kyoga and Mount Elgon the Protestant leader Semei Kakunguru brought non-Ganda people under Ganda authority. An administrative officer took over his headquarters at Budaka, and Kakunguru moved north to Mbale and used Ganda chiefs to govern the Gishu. In 1903 Provincial Commissioner Boyle put his Ganda administration under the British, who used the Ganda as agents rather than chiefs. In 1906 Kakunguru became president of Busoga’s representative Lukiko. Kakunguru went back to Bukedi in 1913 and joined the anti-European Bamalaki church.

In 1901 doctors J. H. and Albert Cook first diagnosed the sleeping sickness, and the next year tens of thousands died of it in Buganda and Busoga. In 1903 Col. Bruce informed them that the sleeping sickness trypanosome was spread by the tsetse fly. By 1906 more than 200,000 had died. On May 19, 1905 Provincial Commissioner Galt was speared to death. After two investigations George Wilson blamed the Nyankole chiefs, fined them in cattle, and doubled their hut tax.

Governor Hesketh Bell (1905-10) persuaded the Ganda chiefs to move people away from Lake Victoria’s shore. About one-tenth of the Uganda Protectorate’s population was taken by the sleeping sickness. In 1905 the Protectorate Courts Ordinance established a British Native Court in each district.

In 1907 Nyoro chiefs led the movement called Nyangire Abaganda, which means “I have refused the Ganda.” Most Ganda chiefs fled to Bunyoro’s capital at Hoima. The Nyoro refused to reinstate them and were willing to be arrested. Eventually they were all replaced by Nyoro. Also in 1907 the British Cotton Growing Association complained about the poor quality of cotton coming from Uganda, and on March 19, 1908 the Uganda Cotton Ordinance authorized Hesketh Bell to order the cotton plants destroyed so that only one type of seed was used. Hand gins were removed and replaced by central ginning stations. Cotton exports increased from £60,000 in 1909-10 to more than £350,000 in 1914-15.

Muhumusa led a revolt against the Germans in 1910 and retreated to the Kiga country. She claimed to be possessed by the nyabinga spirit and instigated a revolt against the British. She was captured in 1911 and kept a prisoner until her death in 1945. The revolt went on until Ndochiberi was killed in 1919.

In 1911 the Langi District was created. The Acholi were well armed with guns and refused to give them up to the British. In 1912 the British stormed their mountain stronghold at Guruguru, and the next year civil administration was established in Acholi. In 1912 the British traded the Bari-Lotuka area for the West Nile territory of the Belgian Congo. Chief Justice William Morris Carter favored the plantations of the settlers and became chairman of the Land Committee. His ideas were supported by Governor Frederick Jackson (1911-18); but in 1915 the Colonial Office in London rejected them, and the next year the Secretary of State declared they were not in the interest of Uganda and its Africans.

In 1918 the bataka (clan heads) began agitating against the system of privileges the chiefs had from the Agreement of 1900, which gave the Ganda a separate status. They refused to accept Swahili in their schools. They objected to the chiefs’ increasing the levies of busulu (labor obligation) and euvujo (tribute paid to chiefs in produce). Cerebro-spinal meningitis struck down about 10,000 in Uganda in 1917, and this was followed by the global epidemic of Spanish flu in 1918-19 in which about 25,000 died there. Rinderpest came back to Uganda in 1918 and in two years killed more than 200,000 cattle.

The Protectorate of Uganda’s first Legislative Council met on April 23, 1921 with the Governor and six members; two Europeans were unofficial members but only one Indian even though they outnumbered Europeans. Indians excelled in business, and by 1925 they owned three-quarters of the cotton ginneries. In 1922 Makerere College was founded outside of Kampala, and at the end of 1923 Governor Geoffrey Archer invited Sudan’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Eric Hussey, to Uganda to receive his recommendations on education. The Education Department was created in 1924 with Hussey as Director, and the next year they published the paper, “Education Policy in British Tropical Africa” which influenced both Uganda and Tanganyika. After an Educational Conference was held in 1925 the Government approved a Central Advisory Council and grants-in-aid to mission schools; Indian schools were included. The Education Department started technical schools for training in trades and crafts, but missionaries and Africans believed they had second-class status. In 1924 the Ormsby-Gore Commission was appointed, and because of Indian opposition they advised against federation. Two other British commissions also studied the uniting of British colonies in East Africa, but the Ganda were also intent on preserving their separation. Nearly two-thirds of Uganda was infested with tsetse flies.

The Katikiro Apolo Kagwa resigned over serious differences with the provincial commissioner in 1926 that began over issuing beer licenses but had to do with having direct communication between officials and Ganda chiefs. In 1927 the clan heads worked out an agreement with the British, and the Lukiko limited the demands chiefs could make on busulu and euvujo. In 1928 a famine caused 35,000 people to move from Rwanda-Urundi to Buganda, and 20,000 came from Tanganyika. By 1933 the hostility with Bunyoro had receded, and an agreement regularized its relation to the colonial power. Governor Philip Mitchell (1935-40) expanded academic learning in secondary and higher education. In 1936 he appointed a commission led by Earl De La Warr to make recommendations for higher education. In 1936 about 90,000 more came from Rwanda-Urundi and 20,000 from Tanganyika looking for work. In the 1930s the Bagishu Welfare Association and the Young Bagwere Association spoke for the chiefs and teachers against Ganda settlers.

Kabaka Daudi Chwa II died in November 1939 and was succeeded by his son, Edward Mutesa. The new Governor Charles Dundas (1940-44) wanted to continue the natural development of African authorities accepting greater responsibility, but in 1944 he gave more power to the chiefs. This caused unrest, and the Bataka Party protested. After 1943 big increases in the prices of cotton and coffee enabled Uganda to make great social progress. After Dundas left, in early 1945 riots broke out in Buganda over their struggle for power between rival chiefs.

Governor John Hall (1944-51) restored assistant residents to the district headquarters of Buganda. In July the Katikiro Nsibirwa proposed that the Lukiko allow the Kabaka to acquire land for public purposes, but the next day Nsibirwa was assassinated. No Africans were appointed to the Legislative Council until 1945 when Governor Hall reformed the Lukiko by including some elected members. In 1946 three Africans from the south were given seats on the Legislative Council, and three years later their representation was increased to eight. In 1949 the Bataka Party demanded that the Lukiko have sixty unofficial members and that the chiefs be elected. The newly formed African Farmers Party wanted Africans to gin their own cotton and control its sale, and their frustration led to riots in April. Leaders of the Bataka and African Farmers parties were arrested, and both parties were banned. In 1950 the number of Africans on the Legislative Council was made equal to the number of Europeans and Asians combined.

East Africa and the Germans 1884-1918

East and Central Africa to 1700

By 1871 Germany had a quarter of the export trade coming from Zanzibar. The Society for the Exploration of Equatorial Africa was founded in 1873, and three years later Germany started a national branch of Leopold II’s International African Association. These two combined to form the German African Society of Berlin in 1880. The next year the German Colonial Society was founded. In March 1884 Carl Peters and thirty others formed the Gesellschaft für Deutsche Kolonisation. Peters secretly went with Count Joachim Pfeil and Dr. Karl Jühlke to Zanzibar in November. From there they went to the east coast of Africa and claimed they made twelve treaties with the chiefs of Usagara, Ungulu, Uzigua, and Ukami which Peters took to Zanzibar in December.

The Berlin Conference in 1884 approved of Leopold’s claim to the Kongo basin, and in February 1885 Germany’s Bismarck claimed area on the mainland opposite Zanzibar. Peters returned to Berlin and founded the German East Africa Company on February 12, giving it all the treaties they had made. Two weeks later the German Kaiser Wilhelm I signed the Schutzbrief, putting the territories that Peters claimed under German protection. On April 8 in Witu the chief Simba granted a concession to his 500-square-mile kingdom to the Germans for arms and ammunition, and the district was put under German protection on May 27. On April 25 the German consul informed Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar that Germany claimed the main caravan route to Tabora and the Lakes.

Peters sent Dr. Jühlke, who in June made eight more treaties in the Bondei region, below the Usambaras, and in Moshi, whose Chagga chief Mandara had just recognized the Sultan’s authority. Five German warships arrived off the coast of Zanzibar on August 7, and four days later Barghash learned that the Kaiser wanted to negotiate a treaty if he would stop protesting the other treaties. The Sultan gave in to the threat and on August 19 granted the Germans Dar es Salaam as a port on the understanding they would not fortify it. During that month Lt. Rochus Schmidt claimed he made 21 treaties in Uzigua, Ukwere, Ukami, and Rufiji.

Germans negotiated a treaty with the English in London in October 1886 that divided East Africa into a British sphere of influence in the north and a German sphere in the south with the one degree south latitude line passing through the center of Lake Victoria and then angling southeast just north of the Kilimanjaro peak to the coast. Zanzibar’s claims to the coast were reduced from a forty-mile belt to ten miles and were leased to the Imperial British East Africa (IBEA) Company in the north and to Germany in the south. The Gesellschaft für Deutsche Kolonisation delegated its authority to Peters who formed the German East Africa Company. Giesecke went as a trader for a Hamburg firm to Tabora in 1886, but he was murdered by Mirambo’s successor, Isike. On December 30 Germany and Portugal declared the Rovuma River as their border in East Africa.

On May 25, 1887 Hauptmann Leue on a warship arrived at Dar es Salaam and took over the house of the Arab liwali as his residence. Sultan Barghash bin Said al-Busaid died on March 26, 1888 and was succeeded by his younger brother Khalifa. On April 28 he let the Germans take over the administration of all his territory between Umba and Ruvuma, though his sovereign rights were supposed to be respected. Germans quickly began taking over customs at all the ports.

Zelewski arrived at Pangani in August and replaced the Sultan’s flag with the flag of the German Company. This and other incidents violated the agreement, and Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi organized resistance. On the night of January 17, 1889 his supporters attacked the German fort at Dar es Salaam, but eight days later they were defeated. However, Germans were forced to evacuate Mikindani and Lindi. Chancellor Bismarck justified military intervention as putting down slave trade, and British ships helped blockade the coast. He appointed Hermann Wissmann as Imperial Commissioner, and he recruited 600 Sudanese from Cairo, 50 Somalis from Aden, and 350 Zulus from Mozambique. Wissmann established his headquarters at Bagamoyo only six miles from Abushiri’s camp at Sanganzeru. He repudiated the armistice the Germans had made with Abushiri and routed his forces in May. Wissmann built a fort at Mpwapwa. Abushiri retreated inland and recruited 5,000 Maviti from the Yao and other tribes. They marched on Bagamoyo in October, but Abushiri was defeated again and fled. He was caught and hanged at Pangani on December 15. Wissmann then regained Kilwa, Lindi, and Mikindani.

The German Jew Schnitzer used the name Emin Pasha and became the Egyptian governor of Equatoria Province in 1878, but he was threatened by the Mahdi in the Sudan and appealed to the British in December 1886. Prime Minister Salisbury declined, but Mackinnon raised a private fund of £10,000 that financed an expedition led by Stanley which reached Emin in 1888. While Stanley was away relieving a rear column, the Germans imprisoned Emin for accepting British help. Stanley returned and helped Emin escape in May 1889. Germans subscribed money to send Carl Peters to Equatoria, and he left with 300 men in June. In 1886 the Lutheran Berlin Evangelical Missionary Society for East Africa had begun sending pastors to Dar es Salaam. On May 13, 1890 Britain’s Prime Minister Salisbury offered Germany the island of Heligoland in the North Sea that they wanted for naval defense in exchange for the Witu territory in East Africa, and the agreement was signed on July 1.

On February 13, 1890 Sultan Khalifa died and was succeeded by his brother, Ali bin Said al-Busaid. That year the German East Africa Company sold their political rights to Germany while retaining monopolistic rights for the Company. In July the British agreed to influence the Sultan of Zanzibar to cede their remaining coastal possessions between Umba and Ruvuma to Germany, and by the end of the year the Germans paid Sultan Ali 4 million marks (£200,000) for them. On August 1 they signed a treaty with the Arabs, who accepted German sovereignty but were allowed to choose their own local governor and elected Say bin Said.

In 1890 Governor Julius von Soden replaced Wissmann, who went to take over Germany’s territory in the southwest. On his way up the Zambezi he transported a gun-boat to Lake Nyasa and built fortified posts at Langenburg and Bismarckburg. Von Soden brought some order to the German colonies, and the German government took control at the beginning of 1891 when the first financial secretary was appointed. Emin Pasha went to Tabora and forced Isike to turn over Giesecke’s property. By February 1891 Emin had made several treaties with Bukoba chiefs. He disregarded his orders and invaded Uganda, and in April he ignored his letter of recall and moved into the Congo, where he was murdered in October 1892. Lt. Prince defeated the Nyamwezi, and their chief Isike committed suicide on January 11, 1893.

Meanwhile Peters left Uganda, made quick treaties with Sukuma chiefs, and provoked a fight with the Wagogo and destroyed twelve Gogo villages. Peters returned to Germany and in 1891 was sent back as temporary Commissioner in the Kilimanjaro District. Mandara had died and was succeeded by his son Meli, who did not like Germans. Emil von Zelewski was the commander of the Defense Force, and in June he took three companies to punish the Hehe for having raided their neighbors, but on August 16 his men were ambushed, killing Zelewksi, nine Europeans, and 300 askari (armed men). The Hehe also captured three cannons and 300 rifles. In June 1892 Peters was defeated by the Chagga chief Meli near Moshi. Peters inflicted harsh punishments and became infamous for hanging a servant for petty theft. He was recalled to Germany in 1893. The new commander, Col. von Schele, subdued the Tabora and Kilimanjaro districts in the summer of 1893, defeating Meli in August. In September he became governor of the colony. Soon he sent out several expeditions against hostile tribes. Bwana Heri was curtailed in the spring of 1894.

Hasan bin Omari led an Arab revolt in the Kilwa hinterland in 1894 , and in 1895 Machemba led a Yao revolt against a new hut tax. More powerful opposition to the Germans came from Hehe’s chief Mkwawa. Governor von Schele destroyed his fort at Kalenga in 1894; but Mkwawa kept fighting. After his forces were dispersed, he finally committed suicide on July 19, 1898. On November 26, 1895 an Imperial Decree declared all the land of German East Africa owned by the Empire. By 1896 Germany still had only 112 administrators in East Africa assisted by 1,560 people of color in a territory of 370,000 square miles. Tribes in the interior spoke more than a hundred languages, though Swahili spread along with Islam. In November 1897 the German administration imposed a hut tax. A drought and devastation by locusts led to more unrest in 1899. In the Kilimanjaro region three chiefs and sixteen other leaders were executed. Allegations were made that 2,000 Africans had been killed for resisting the hut tax. The German government responded by recalling Governor Eduard von Liebert (1896-1901) in March 1901.

Count Adolf von Gotzen was made governor (1901-06) and commander, and in his five years he managed to collect taxes without using violence. In 1902 the Amani Institute was founded for agricultural research. In the south they ordered African heads of villages to make men work on cotton plots, and resentment led to a revolt in 1905. The Usambara Railway from Tanga to Korogwe and Mombo was begun in 1893 and was not finished until February 1905. Ivory still accounted for a fifth of the exports, but the exports of copra, sesame, cotton, sisal, coffee, and rubber were increasing. Retired Dr. Robert Koch came to Africa in 1905 to study sleeping sickness, and by 1907 he recommended how to exterminate the tsetse flies with an organic arsenic compound.

German administrators often used Swahilis and Arabs as akidas (agents). In 1905 the southern region of German East Africa rebelled. For the next two years the Rufiji people working in the communal cotton fields were not paid, and they began the Maji Maji war that was led by Kinjikitili Ngwale. He was a prophet for the African deity Bokoro and sprinkled people with special water (maji) to make them immune to German bullets. In July at Kibata in the Matumbi hills the Africans refused to do compulsory labor, and they besieged the local akida in his house. On July 28 they cut the telegraph line between Kilwa and Dar es Salaam. Three separate forces led by Germans attacked before the villagers at Kibata surrendered.

The elephant hunter Mpanda led a rebellion at Liwale. Two Germans were killed, and the rebel jumbe (headman) Kinjalla and his wife destroyed a relief column. In September the Catholic Bishop Cassian Spiss, two lay brothers, and two Benedictine sisters were killed while traveling from Kilwa when they reached Liwale. German reinforcements arrived in October. General Lothar von Trotha pardoned rebels who gave up their weapons, leaders, and witch doctors, but he used hunger by ruining their crops and burning their grain. Chief Mptua of the northern Ngoni was hanged in January 1906, and Chief Chabruma of the southern Ngoni fled to Mozambique and was killed by his host. Most of the fighting ended in the spring except in the Songea District where the rebels were defeated in 1907. More than 75,000 people were killed in the Maji Maji war, but the famine that followed took more than a quarter million lives.

In 1907 Dr. Bernhard Dernburg became the first Colonial Minister, and he ended corporal punishment and forced labor. He appointed the reforming Governor Albrecht von Rechenberg (1906-12), who also cared about Africans and promoted health and education, but he suppressed newspapers in Dar es Salaam and Usambara. He refused to extend the policy of forced labor, but he wanted native labor for public works. A black market for labor developed as agents got Africans to sign deceptive labor contracts. The colony’s trade tripled between 1906 and 1912. The value of sisal went from 1,368,000 marks to 7,359,000; coffee from 531,000 marks to 1,903,000; rubber from 2,386,000 marks to 8,390,000; cotton went up to 2,110,000 marks; and exported hides and skins were worth 4,067,000 marks in 1912. By 1911 Catholics and Protestants were each educating about 30,000 students in primary schools, and 2,500 were in senior or trade schools.

Governor Heinrich Schnee (1912-18) pleased Europeans by restricting Asian immigration and by giving them twelve of the sixteen seats on his advisory council. Labor contracts were lengthened, and in 1913 Europeans won majorities on district councils. By then the number of native wage-earners had increased to 172,000. Rubber prices began increasing in 1905, and by 1910 the Tanga and Morogoro districts had 250 rubber estates. Rubber exports in 1911 were worth 4,700,000 marks; but overproduction in Southeast Asia caused the world price of rubber to fall sharply, ruining the African rubber plantations by 1913. By 1914 the central railway line went from Dar es Salaam to Lake Tanganyika. The German government subsidized mission schools, and in 1914 there were 6,100 students in government schools and 155,287 in mission schools. In 1914 Indians were not allowed to vote for the new town councils in Dar es Salaam and Tanga.

When the Great War began in August 1914, the British navy blockaded German East Africa, and they had to become self-sufficient. During the first year and a half the Germans launched raids and patrols across the border into Kenya and even held the southeastern corner. In November 1914 the British forces tried to land at the German port of Tanga, but they were turned away. In March 1916 General Smuts with troops from South Africa led British forces from Kenya into German East Africa down the Pangani Valley; they captured Tanga in July and Dar es Salaam in September. The British took Mwanza in July, and General Northey invaded from Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to take Iringa in August. The Belgians captured Rwanda in May and Tabora in September. By the end of the year the allies drove the army of 260 German officers and 2,000 askari (armed men) led by Lettow-Vorbeck south of the central railway, and Belgian troops from the Congo took over the western portion.

The Germans held out in the southeast, and Lettow-Vorbeck bragged that 300,000 men were used against them and that they killed 967 officers and 17,650 men, mostly Africans in the Carrier Corps. Yet the British and the Belgians controlled 85% of German East Africa and 90% of its people. In November 1917 Lettow-Vorbeck led 278 Europeans and 16,000 askari with 4,000 porters across the Ruvuma River into Mozambique, where they stayed for ten months. During the war Africans were drawn from farms, and lack of food caused a famine and diseases. Altogether more than 750,000 East Africans served in the war, and over 100,000 were lost. In 1918 the influenza pandemic killed about 80,000 in German East Africa. That year an Indian Association was formed.

Tanganyika and the British 1918-50

After the armistice of November 11, 1918 and the 1919 Peace Conference, German East Africa was turned over to the British and became known as Tanganyika. Horace Byatt had been in charge of German East Africa since 1917, and on January 31, 1919 he became Civil Administrator. In 1919 the Indians refused to vote for two members of the Legislative Council because many fewer Europeans were allowed to elect eleven. The League of Nations came into existence in January 1920, but the B mandates did not take effect until July 1922. The Administrator Byatt became the Governor and Commander-in-Chief. In 1920 the judiciary was revised by the Courts Ordinance, and the departments of Agriculture, Forest, Education, and Land Survey were created. Between 1920 and 1922 the British provided Tanganyika with £408,000 in grants-in-aid, and Governor Byatt tried to increase revenue by promoting African cash crops. On March 22, 1921 the Belgians ceded Ujiji District and the parts of Ufipa and Biharamulo they had held. The Belgian mandate of Rwanda-Urundi was fixed in December 1923.

In 1922 Martin Kayamba and other educated Africans formed the Tanganyika Territory African Civil Servants Association. They started libraries and bought newspapers. Education lagged behind what the Germans had, and in 1924 Tanganyika had only 72 schools in rural areas. Conflict in the Chagga and Haya regions led coffee growers to form associations to compete with the chiefs, who were educated and became a privileged group. In 1924 other educated Haya organized the Bukoba Buhaya Union and demanded equal opportunity in education and a share of coffee profits. Major C. St. J. Orde Browne was appointed Special Labour Commissioner to investigate labor problems. The Phelps-Stokes Commission visited in 1924, and the Government encouraged mission schools; but in 1925 Africans were not allowed to be in the same schools as Indians lest they get political ideas. A school in Tabora was restricted to the sons of chiefs and headmen.

Governor Donald Cameron (1925-31) did not approve an Advisory Council. In 1925 the Chagga asked the Governor to let them export coffee through the Kilimanjaro Native Planters’ Association because Indian merchants had combined to keep their prices down. In 1926 the Masters and Servants Ordinance required paying wages in cash and reporting any serious injury to an employee. The first Legislative Council met on December 7, 1926 with fourteen officials and five Europeans and two Indians as unofficials. In 1927 Cameron opposed the federation plan of the Hilton Young Commission; but Tanganyika adopted the customs tariff used in Kenya and Uganda, and the three territories agreed to free trade across their borders. The African Education Ordinance provided for grants-in-aid to begin January 1, 1928, and the Government’s budget for education increased to £80,000 a year. This was less than the Medical Department, which the East Africa Commission considered just as understaffed as the Education and Agricultural departments.

In 1929 the Native Courts Ordinance removed the supervision of the High Court from the native courts and placed them under the Provincial Administration. The African chiefs were authorized to maintain order and collect taxes, and they could use a portion of the taxes and fines for administration. That year Tanganyika began grants-in-aid to Indian schools. The unofficial members of the Legislative Council were increased, but still no Africans were appointed. Cameron reorganized the 22 districts into eleven provinces. He appointed Charles Dundas as secretary for native affairs, and he was succeeded by Philip Mitchell. Governor Cameron opened up the Iringa area and other places for settlement, and he allowed Germans to return. In 1929 the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) was formed as a national improvement organization, and they formed nine branches. In 1930 the Tanganyika Sisal Growers’ Association was formed to try to reduce wages.

The depression of the early 1930s caused Tanganyika’s major exports of sisal and coffee to fall sharply. Sisal had been selling for £32 a ton, but by 1931 the price was only £12 a ton. In 1931 Tanganyika had 8,200 Europeans but 25,000 Indians. That year a Parliament committee in London listened to influential Africans object to enlarging the political power of white settlers. Governor Stewart Symes (1931-34) tried to increase agricultural production, especially by Africans. Prices began to rise in 1933, and in 1935 the sisal exported was worth £1,000,000. Cotton revived, and tea and sugar were successfully produced. In 1936 the Bukoba Buhaya Union protested the chiefs’ new coffee rules. When riots resulted, the British jailed the leaders. Erica Fiah founded the Tanganyika African Welfare and Commercial Association, and in 1937 he founded the Swahili newspaper, Kwetu.

By the end of the 1930s gold had become a major export. In 1938 the Governor agreed to contribute £100,000 to Makerere College in Uganda to train professionals. After World War II began in September 1939, Tanganyika exhausted its reserves by giving £200,000 to Britain. Because the territory had 3,205 Germans compared to 4,054 British residents, the enemy aliens were interned during the war. German leaders, confident of victory, instructed the settlers not to resist. About 87,000 Africans in Tanganyika were conscripted for service in the war. In 1940 all incomes over £350 a year were taxed, and the next year all those over £200 were taxed.

During the first five years after World War II Tanganyika developed its economy, and their trade tripled in three years. The TAA continued to agitate for more opportunities for Africans. Two Africans were appointed to the Legislative Council in 1945, and two more were added in 1948; but the Europeans had seven unofficial members and the Asians three. At a conference at Dar es Salaam in 1946 they called for the election of Africans to representative councils and self-government. The United Nations Trusteeship Council urged Britain to develop Tanganyika toward independence, and its first mission visited the colony in 1948. When Edward Twinning became governor in 1949, he appointed a committee to investigate constitutional development.


1. Portal to Lady Alice Portal, 3 Feb. 1893 in Portal Papers quoted in History of East Africa, Volume 1 ed. Roland Oliver, p. 417.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
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Ottoman Empire 1600-1907
Ottoman Fall and Turkey 1908-1950
Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan 1600-1950
Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq 1600-1950
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan 1600-1950
Palestine and Zionism 1600-1950
Egypt, Sudan, and Libya 1600-1950
Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco 1600-1950
West Africa and the French 1600-1950
West Africa and the British 1600-1950
Ethiopia and Somaliland 1600-1950
East Africa 1600-1950
Congo, Angola, and Mozambique 1600-1950
Southern Africa 1700-1950
Summary and Evaluation



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