Colonial Transformation of Kenya: The Kamba, Kikuyu, and Maasai from 1900-1939

Colonial Transformation of Kenya: The Kamba, Kikuyu, and Maasai from 1900-1939

Copyright Date: 1976
Pages: 384
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    Colonial Transformation of Kenya: The Kamba, Kikuyu, and Maasai from 1900-1939
    Book Description:

    This book takes an entirely new approach to the evolution of cities and of societies in premodern periods. Refining the theory advanced in his earlier study of China and Japan, Gilbert Rozman examines the development of Russia over several centuries with emphasis on the period immediately preceding the Industrial Revolution. He makes possible comparison of urbanization in five countries (including England and France as well as Russia) and develops a systematic framework for analyzing cities of varying size.

    Treatment of Russia includes a history of urban development prior to 1750, an examination of late eighteenth-century social structure as it related to cities, and a study of regional variations in urbanization. The author presents a wealth of information until now unavailable in English. Since this information is provided in a format similar to that used in the earlier book, data on Russia can readily be placed in broad perspective. Comparisons with the other countries show that Russia's development was less slow than has been supposed.

    Separate sections on England and France supply estimates of the number of settlements at each level of their urban hierarchies.

    Originally published in 1976.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7144-5
    Subjects: History, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. CHAPTER I Introduction: The Creation of Colonial Societies in Kenya
    (pp. 3-14)

    The central highlands of Kenya are those elevated portions of East Africa which European colonists entered from the beginning of the twentieth century in an effort to make Kenya a white settlement area. This region is also the homeland of three African peoples—the Kamba, Kikuyu, and Maasai. This work is a study of the ways in which these three societies were colonized, the impact this colonization had upon their traditional ways of life, and the different patterns of change and continuity that marked their experiences roughly from 1900 to 1939.

    The cultures that came into contact with each other...

  7. CHAPTER II Early Contacts: Pacification and Land Losses
    (pp. 15-41)

    The first African-British contacts in the central highlands set the stage for the creation of colonized societies. They revolved around the suppression of overt resistance to British domination and were followed by the alienation of African land to incoming settlers. The Kamba and Kikuyu felt the effects of British military strength in a series of campaigns, called euphemistically by the British punitive expeditions, which were designed not only to punish dissident African groups but also to elevate to power friendly, collaborating African leaders. The Maasai avoided military confrontation with the British, mainly through cautious leadership on their part and a...

  8. CHAPTER III Colonial Chiefs
    (pp. 42-72)

    One of the first developments under British rule was the creation of chiefs as agents of local administration. At first British officials were inclined to believe that traditional African societies were governed by chiefs, and thus they sought to locate a leading figure in a community in order to rule through him. But even as they came to realize that most of the Kenyan African peoples did not have chiefs and were ruled through councils of elders, they retained their artificial chieftainships as a convenient, even necessary, instrument of local rule. They deemed it necessary to hold one man accountable...

  9. CHAPTER IV Maasai Warriors
    (pp. 73-93)

    Among the Maasai the warrior class played an instrumental role in inhibiting change. In other societies, especially among the Kikuyu, young men of warrior age were often the first school-goers and the first wage laborers. As the previous chapter indicated, young Kikuyu were recruited by chiefs and formed a para-administrative and military organization essential to early colonial change. But in Maasailand warriors were disinclined to go to school. They engaged only in a few highly specialized and well paid types of wage laboring, and they did not become coercive agents for colonial chiefs. On the contrary, they inhibited the development...

  10. CHAPTER V Labor to 1914
    (pp. 94-110)

    Two important developments that marked the early colonial regime were the introduction of Western education and wage employment. Because these changes clashed with African traditions, they were brought about only by resorting to considerable force. The British colonial government and settlers had an enormous appetite for African labor. The state built the railway across Kenya between 1896 and 1901, maintained it, constructed branch lines just before World War I, and then engaged in major new extension programs in the early 1920s. Settlers depended on African labor, particularly cheap labor, rather than elaborate farm machinery to bring their estates under cultivation....

  11. CHAPTER VI Education to 1914
    (pp. 111-144)

    Early educational changes closely paralleled those in wage laboring. At first African peoples demonstrated little interest and regarded missionary educators as a threat to their traditions. Disinterest was widespread in the central highlands, but was more effectively overcome among the Kikuyu than among the Kamba and Maasai; by 1920 the Kikuyu attitude toward education had dramatically changed.

    The missionaries in Kenya, as elsewhere in Africa, were the chief purveyors of Western education. Their interest sprang naturally from a desire to convert Africans and to train enquirers and catechumens to read and understand the Bible. As education became more familiar to...

  12. CHAPTER VII Labor in the 1920s
    (pp. 145-185)

    The decade of the 1920s was a period of relative prosperity for settler farming and might even be called the golden age of European agriculture. Coffee, sisal, maize, and tea became Kenya’s leading exports. As settler farming expanded, so did its needs for labor, and the 1920s was again marked by labor shortages and sharp labor disputes. In order to understand African laboring, the fluctuation in its supply and demand, and continued strained government-settler relations over this issue, it is necessary to present further background data on European agriculture and to consider the role the state played in supporting the...

  13. CHAPTER VIII Labor in the Depression
    (pp. 186-202)

    The expansion of the Kenyan economy came to a halt with the depression. As the world prices for Kenya’s exports fell, so fell that country’s export earnings and its governmental revenues. The country embarked on a period of government retrenchment and general economic contraction. By the beginning of 1931 the world price for Kenya’s maize was 50 per cent less than it had been in July, 1929; coffee was selling at 60 per cent of its predepression price; sisal 50 per cent and wheat 50 per cent.¹ Kenya’s export earnings fell off by 16 per cent in 1929; they expanded...

  14. CHAPTER IX Education and the Kikuyu in the 1920s
    (pp. 203-225)

    It is common knowledge that European groups in Africa—settlers, administrators, and missionaries—had differing, sometimes incompatible attitudes toward African education. At few times have these differences been more clearly exposed as in Kenya during the 1920s when the government sought to bring order to the educational chaos that had arisen before World War I. Just as the Kenya government established a framework of labor legislation in the 1920s, in the same decade it created a more coherent educational system in which the Kikuyu became deeply involved and which brought about a Kikuyu educational revolt in 1929. All the European...

  15. CHAPTER X Kikuyu Nationalism
    (pp. 226-254)

    Kikuyu anticolonial sentiments were borne of the turbulent conditions at the conclusion of World War I. They were fueled by two crises, one revolving around Harry Thuku between 1921 and 1922, and the second, the female circumcision controversy of 1929. Using a puristic definition of nationalism, these events were not mainly nationalistic phenomena. They did not strive to create an independent nation-state nor end colonial rule. But they did disseminate anticolonial sentiments and extolled precolonial Kikuyu traditions in the face of mission and state assaults. These were important developments in the growth of anticolonial nationalism and the later appearance of...

  16. CHAPTER XI Education and the Kikuyu in the 1930s
    (pp. 255-272)

    In the 1920s the state sought to erect an educational framework within which African education would develop. Orr was not sanguine that his efforts to compromise the divergent ideas of settlers, missionaries, and administrators would be long lived. Yet neither he nor most others were prepared for the powerful educational challenge of the Kikuyu peoples that followed the female circumcision controversy of 1929. Africans became a force to be reckoned with in formulating policy. Although they did not wrest decision-making powers from their overlords, they forced Europeans to take their actions and interests into account. In the educational challenge of...

  17. CHAPTER XII Kamba and Maasai Education in the Interwar Period
    (pp. 273-287)

    The Kamba and Maasai educational experiences serve as an instructive contrast with the Kikuyu developments and suggest further reasons for the Kikuyu receptivity to education as well as Kamba and Maasai resistance. In both Kamba and Maasai societies education grew slowly although the administration and missions alike were involved in creating schools and trying to arouse enthusiasm. The demand for schools was muffled among the Maasai and only began to appear among the Kamba at the end of the 1930s. To be sure, part of the educational apathy was due to the type of education provided. The Africa Inland Mission...

  18. CHAPTER XIII Kikuyu Agriculture
    (pp. 288-309)

    Little attention has been devoted to Kikuyu agriculture in the colonial period. Since the Kikuyu engaged in wage laboring in large numbers and were precluded from growing the cash crop most suited to their area, namely coffee, it would be easy to assume that there was little Kikuyu agricultural development. Indeed, it might be thought that the agricultural economy, if anything, was impoverished by the heavy demands for Kikuyu labor outside the reserve. This portrait, however, is not accurate. There was considerably more change than would appear to be the case at first glance; the Kikuyu developed cash cropping, albeit...

  19. CHAPTER XIV The Stock-Rearing Economies of the Maasai and Kamba: Problems of Overstocking
    (pp. 310-330)

    During the European colonial period a considerable amount of science and technology developed in Europe was transferred into colonial Africa. One of the least studied, yet most fascinating aspects of this technological diffusion, was the spread of European veterinary ideas and methods into African stock-rearing economies. Just as the British felt a commitment to educate Africans and to modernize their farming practices, so British officials were also anxious to improve the quality of African herds through the control and, if possible, the eradication of traditional livestock diseases, and to make African pastoralists more economically efficient. These seemingly beneficial impulses did...

  20. CHAPTER XV Destocking and Kamba Nationalism
    (pp. 331-354)

    The problem of overstocking and British efforts to deal with it by means of a radical program of destocking caused an eruption of anticolonial sentiment and the founding of a political party among the Kamba in 1938. Previously, the British had regarded the Kamba, with justification, as a politically quiescent people, not given much to change, yet willing to accommodate themselves to the colonial system. Although the Kamba were neighbors of the Kikuyu and had many similar institutions, they rejected the blandishments of Harry Thuku and the KCA to join with them in protest. The Kamba enlisted in disproportionate numbers...

  21. CHAPTER XVI Conclusion: Three Societies in 1939
    (pp. 355-360)

    The British first occupied Kenya because of their need to supply the strategically valuable Uganda. Once in occupation, they were under relentless pressure to develop the resources of the colony if only to make it self-supporting. An expensive railway stretching from Mombasa to Lake Victoria heightened this financial anxiety. Because the country was sparsely inhabited and without obvious mineral resources, a succession of British governors encouraged immigrant European families to settle in the highlands and hoped that these people would be the engine of economic development. Although the settler population never became large, it exercised influence in all avenues of...

    (pp. 361-366)
  23. INDEX
    (pp. 367-372)