History is an account of events that took place in the past. History may also be defined as a branch of knowledge which deals with past events of human beings and their response to their environment over the years.R.G Collingwood, in his book The Idea of History (OUP 1994) defined history as a “science concerned with the human actions in the past, pursued by interpretation of evidence for the sake of Human self knowledge.”

That history is a science because it involves finding out things about the past Humankind. For example, the origin of Man, why he was a toolmaker, why he domesticated animals and plants.

These are questions that provoke scientific curiosity.

The three definitions of History from the above are:

 History is the past of anything; of earth, man, disease or animals

 History is a branch of knowledge dealing with past events

 History is a science concerned with past Human actions

Since History at secondary level is specifically concerned with the past as it relates to humankind and his response to his environment over the years, the working definition of history is therefore;

 History is the endless story of mankind’s actions and events affecting him in the past.

Closely related to the term history is the term PREHISTORY.Prehistory refers to the unrecorded history- those activities that humans engaged in before writing and drawing were invented as ways of storing information. Such information is gained from songs, myths, stories, artifacts, fossils and the language of a people.

A historical event needs to have recorded evidence in order to be referred to as a historical fact


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Characteristics of historical events

 They must have evidence.

 Historical information must be written or unwritten.

 Historical events only concern man.

 Historical events dwell mainly on the past happenings.

 Historical events must contain elements of truth.

The study of humankind’s past can be classified systematically into three;

 Social history- dealing with the traditions, values and cultural practices of a people

 Economic history; dealing with the means of livelihood of a people, such as hunting, gathering, agriculture and trade.

 Political history; dealing with the control system in a society, for example maintenance of law and order, leadership and security.

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Derived from the verb govern, government means to exercise authority over. To rule or control. Or having power to direct or conduct the policies and public affairs of a country or an institution. In our study, the term government refers to a group of people within a state or a country given authority to organize, direct and control the affairs of the state or country.In Kenya, the government has three arms.

The legislature: – Commonly referred to as parliament, this is a law making arm of government.

It includes the National assembly and the president.

The executive: – this is the arm of government which implements laws. It includes the president, the cabinet and the civil service.

The judiciary: – this is the arm of government responsible for seeing that the laws made are constitutional, that they are followed and that those who break them are punished. It is commonly referred to as the courts.Jean Jacques Rousseau, in his book, The Social Contract, describes government as “an intermediate body set up by the subjects to ensure equity (fairness) and the execution of laws while maintaining social and political liberty”

In this sense, government is not dictatorial since its authority is derived from the people. People must however be free to choose their leaders, even remove those in power and replace them with others, in order to ensure the existence of the principal of fairness.



There are four forms of government:

Democratic government

This is a type of government in which rulers regularly seek public mandate through popular vote. Such governments are based on the principles of free and fair elections.

According to Abraham Lincoln, an American statesman, they are “governments of the people, for the people and by the people”.In such a government, freedoms and rights are provided for in the constitution that governs the law of the nation.

Aristocratic government

Aristos – best

Kratos – powers

An aristocracy is a form of government in which a group of people from the highest social class the royalty- in a society rule over others. Any member of the nobility can seek election or appointment to a government office while other citizens who are less privileged are there to be ruled.The King or Queen is the head of government while senior positions in the gover-nment are given to the privileged members from among the nobles. The nobles are considered superior to others human beings because of the wealthy family back-ground they are born into and their superior education. They are considered a rare breed of people.

Monarchical government

This is a form of government where democracy is practiced but aristocratical power is respected. Parliament is the supreme organ but the monarchy- the royalty that are in power be it the king or queen is retained as a tradition, and respected as head of state.

Monarchical governments are classified into two;Absolute monarchy: – which refers to the unrestricted power of the Head of State. The monarchy is dictatorial.

Constitutional monarchy;- The monarchical power , which is restricted is determ-ined by what is spelt out in the constitution. Such a system of government is found in Lesotho and Britain.

Dictatorial government

Dictatorship is a system of government where the ruler has total power over his subjects. Dictators are the sole authority where they rule. They make the law and execute justice and exercise their rule forcefully, suppressing their subjects at will. They curtail freedom of other subjects and impose their will over others.Examples of world dictators; Adolf Hitler of Germany who instigated the Germans into believing they were superior race and incited them against the Jews. Idi Amin of Uganda who ruled with a ‘rod of iron’

NB; the most ideal form of government is where the subjects go to the ballot to elect the people to lead them. Governments play the important function of maintaining law and order.

Importance of studying history

  1. a) History enables us to appreciate people’s evolution, origin of cultures and development and hence further good relations and remove biases and prejudices about other people.
  2. b) When we study history, we appreciate people’s contribution to national develop-pment. E.g. freedom fighters hence the importance of mutual and social responsi-bility.
  3. c) It helps us to know the origin of mankind, his development and the progress he has made to this day.
  4. d) We are able to understand our culture and appreciate the culture of other people.
  5. e) it instills a sense of patriotism and nationalism among citizens as they learn of the past political developments of their country. Its study inspires strong feelings of one’s heritage and the sense of belonging to a particular country.
  6. f) It helps us understand the interdependence of mankind and hence the need for cooperation.
  7. g) It influences career choice. The study of history leads to various professions. E.g. law, diplomacy, church, politics, teaching, and administration.
  8. h) The study of history helps us comprehend the social, economic and political developments of our societies
  9. i) It gives time and space to past events. Through the study of history, we learn about the time and place where an event took place. E.g. we know when Mau Mau uprising broke out (1948) and know when Kenya gained independence.
  10. j) It helps us develop a critical mind as we try to explain historical events. Historians will ask why, when and how.
  11. k) It provides intellectual fulfillment to the learner. Through an in -depth study of history, one’s mind is enriched.

Importance of studying government

  1. a) It helps us to appreciate the importance of government.
  2. b) Helps us understand how laws are made and enforced
  3. c) Helps us understand the organs of the state and the powers vested in them
  4. d) Helps us understand how government raises and spends revenue.
  5. e) Helps us compare our government system with other systems of government in other countries.
  6. f) Understand how development policies are formulated and implemented.
  7. g) It makes us know our roles as citizens and the roles of the leaders who govern us. This makes better law-abiding citizens.
  8. h) Its study helps us understand our responsibilities as well as the limitations within which e must operate for the well-being of every member of the society.
  9. i) It helps us appreciate the constitution and the process of making and reviewing laws and statutes.
  10. j) It influences career choices. For example, those who choose to specialize in public administration will find the study of government very useful.


There three main sources of information on history and government;

  1. a) Unwritten sources.
  2. b) Written sources.
  3. c) Electronic sources

 Unwritten sources

This refers to historical information which is not recorded in writing.Unwritten sources of historical information include oral traditions, linguistics (languages), Anthropology (culture) archaeology, paleontology and genetics.

Oral traditions

This refers to the practice of handing down historical information by word of mouth from one Generation to the next. This forms a very important source of historical information especially where exists a non-literate society who might not be able to read.

Oral traditions include folk tales, proverbs, songs and stories. Songs, proverbs folktales and stories told to a younger generation have been very instrumental in the passing of information from one generation to the other. For example, a song about our struggle for independence in Kenya passes very important information to the younger generation, who not yet had born at that time.

Advantages of oral traditions as a source of information

  1. Oral traditions hands over historical facts from one generation to another in the absence of written records.
  2. It is the best source of historical information since even the illiterate can learn their h history using oral traditions
  3. It is also a form of entertainment. For example through songs, folktales stories and proverbs, people get entertained.
  4. It complements other sources of information.
  5. The source of information is captivating especially if it is narrated by a person who participated in the event himself. For example, an Ex- World War II veteran narrating about the war.

Disadvantages of oral traditions as a source of information

  1. The truth and correctness of oral traditions become unreliable especially when the narrator deliberately conceals some information or lies. People tend to conceal their failures while talking so much about their success.
  2. Information can b exaggerated as they are transmitted by elders to successive generations.

At times it is difficult to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined.

  1. Some information or facts may be forgotten or omitted since oral traditions depend heavily on human memory. This makes the information passed unreliable.
  2. Dates of information may be lacking. The source may not give correct chronology of events because it depends on human memory. It is common that people forget important dates and information about a particular past event.
  3. It is an expensive method. One has to pay for the informant’s transportation, lunch and accommodation. A historian may also need to travel to far places to find information.
  4. It is time consuming. One requires a lot of time to interview one individual. Where many people are to be interviewed, it may take a long time.


This refers to the scientific study of languages.

Historical linguistics is the study of language as it changes n the course of time. It seeks to trace the principles of language change and establish the current genealogical classification of a particular language. Such a study helps in discovering language form, content, vocabulary and historical experiences of the people who speak the language.

Distribution of language and relationship between languages is important to a historian. People who speak related languages may be assumed to have a common origin, be connected, or had been in close contact at sometime in the past.Variations between languages of the same family can show how long ago the break in contact occurred.

Advantages of linguistics as a source of information

  1. Through linguistics, Facts can be obtained about the movement of people and their relationship. Such information helps experts to correctly group languages according to language families.
  2. It helps us understand communities better as people with a common language may have common origin. It is good for establishing facts on origin, migration and settlement.
  3. Linguistics complements other sources of historical information. For example, language as a medium of communication helps those using oral tradition to gather information from various sources.
  4. Language has enabled historical linguists to discover links between different people which were previously unknown. E.g. it is now known that the Bantus had a common origin and possibly spoke one language. However due to long periods of separation between various

Bantu groups, through migrations, these groups may not understand each other’s language today.

  1. Linguistics helps in the dating of migration of people. Language drawn from a parent language will change in a certain way and rate through time. When comparing parent language with derived language, it is possible to know how long the derived language has independently from the parent language. E.g. Sheng language and Kiswahili (parent language).

Limitations in the use of linguistics as a source of information

  1. It is time consuming/learning a language takes a long time therefore delaying acquisition of information.
  2. There is a danger of omitting a word when translating a language. In the process, vital information about a people’s history may be lost.
  3. Inaccurate information can be passed on where wrong words are borrowed from other languages.
  4. Some words may just be difficult to understand.
  5. Some languages have become archaic and irrelevant hence difficult to translate.
  6. Misinterpretation of words may make them difficult to understand.
  7. Linguistic analysis for classification purposes may fail to take into account languages with time.
  8. One word may have different meanings in different languages. This can easily confuse a researcher. For example, Nyoro in Kikuyu means ‘smooth’, while the same word in Luo means ‘yesterday’.
  9. Lack of original speakers in the language under study limits research findings.


This is the study of human beings, their origin, development, customs, beliefs, and social attributes like music, dance, drama, and religious beliefs and practices.

Anthropologists have to live among the people under study in order to experience their way of life in order to understand and explain structures of societies, forms of social organization, institutions, descent, marriage, forms of government, systems of inheritance, religious customs and cultural values.The anthropological description of the beliefs and customs of a people will help the historian to determine the cultural past of the people

Advantages of anthropology as a source of information

  1. By living among the people, anthropologists help to discover, understand and explain structures of societies, forms of social organization, cultures, etc.
  2. Anthropologists assist historians to determine the cultural past of the people.
  3. It also gives a deeper understanding of a particular aspect of a people’s culture.

Limitations in the use of anthropology as a source of information

  1. It is an expensive method as it involves living among the people.
  2. It is a time-consuming method of acquiring information.
  3. It is difficult for a researcher to adapt to the environment since the people they are studying may be of a totally different culture. Where they succeed in adapting, they face the risk of losing their own culture.
  4. People under study may try to behave differently when the researcher is around. A researcher may therefore miss important details.

Genetic studies

Genetics is the scientific study of the ways in which characteristics are passed from parents to their offspring. (The study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics.) It deals with the ay human beings adapted to the circumstances in their environment and utilized available plants and animals to meet their needs.When used in relation to pants genetic studies helps us trace the origin of various species by identifying them with the region where large numbers of them are found today. After this, interpretation of their movement is made. The appearance of new cultivated varieties can be identified with the people whose economy they form a part. Also, common genes or characteristics among a group of people may indicate some relationships.

Archaeology and paleontology

Archaeology is the study of man’s past through scientific analysis of the remains of material remains of his culture, e.g. weapons, tools, houses, clothing, utensils, paintings sculpture, pottery, coins, jewellery, cutlery, beads and work o arts.The archaeologist reconstructs the activities and way of life of people who lived in prehistoric times from various evidence remains of the material culture.Other items that can be used in archaeology include remains of charcoal and carbo-nized seeds, remains of cloth or garments, remains of dwelling laces.After studying the available artifacts, the archaeologist formulates his concept of a people’s civilization at the time the artifacts were used. The existence of artifacts in an area can enable the historian to deduce the material culture of the people who lived n the past.

Palaeontology is the scientific study of the evolution and structure of extinct plants and animals (fossils) through scientific examination of fossil remains.Historians and archaeologists work with natural scientists like paleontologists, geologists and ecologists and chemistry in discovering fossils, getting information about soil structure, interpreting man’s relationship to his environment and dating of fossils.

Methods used by archaeologists and paleontologists in discovering a historical site.

  1. a) By looking at areas where tectonic forces (faulting) or erosion have occurred. In such areas, surfaces which may give important clues to the point of finding fossils and artefacts are exposed.
  2. b) Use of vision. Sometimes vision may help them find on the surface a small part of an early settlement such as a few stones in a regular pattern.
  3. c) Use of historical research. A place that may be mentioned in a historical document or in an oral narrative may give a clue to the geography of the area and open up further inquiries into the past civilization of such a clue.e.g Omo River Valley, Olduvai Gorge, Ur and Babylon.
  4. d) Use of experience. An archaeologist may also use his long experience and skill to identify a potential site for archaeological excavation.
  5. e) During cultivation and building construction, farmers and builders may accidentally expose ancient objects that could arouse the curiosity of researchers. For example ‘Nyayo ya Mungu’ in Tanzania was a single footprint on a rock surface that was found in 1995 and became evidence of the existence of early human beings.

Advantages of using archaeology

  1. a) Archaeology gives us detailed information on material culture that other sources may not have.
  2. b) Archaeology gives a sense of time, as the artifacts are dated.
  3. c) It complements other sources of information and thus ensures authenticity of the information.
  4. d) It provides information of varied nature depending on the materials found on the site. For example, if tools, weapons, coins, bones, rock paintings and other items are located, at a site, a lot of information maybe deduced.

Limitations of using archaeology

  1. a) It is an expensive source of information. This is because one has to hire labourers to excavate the site and get artefacts and take them to laboratories for analysis.
  2. b) It is a time-consuming method. The researcher needs a lot of time to prepare for an excavation and take material for analysis in laboratories.
  3. c) It is sometime difficult for archaeologists to locate an archaeological site.
  4. d) Some artefacts and fossils are fragile and can therefore break or disintegrate during excavation. This may result in distortion of the analysis of the artefacts.
  5. e) Archaeology is only limited to the study of the ancient period and therefore cannot be used to study recent history.
  6. f) Archaeological information may sometimes be inaccurate since it is often bases on inferences (conclusions) and reconstructions.
  7. g) With archaeology, it may not be easy to accurately determine the date when events took place. It is only estimated through the method of dating fossils.
  8. h) There are very few archaeological experts and facilities for interpreting archaeological evidence in Kenya. Quite often, artefacts excavated from Kenya are taken to European countries for dating and analysis.

What things do archaeologists use to construct the activities of people who lived in pre-history times?

  1. a) Looking for regions of tectonism (faulting) associated with fossils and artifacts.
  2. b) They look for unique features e.g. stone patterns.
  3. c) Remains of fossils and artifacts dug out by farmers and constructors.
  4. d) They dig, excavate for artifacts and fossils.
  5. e) They study artifacts and fossils found.
  6. f) They make research in regions associated with evolution of man e.g. rift valley.
  7. g) They classify the artifacts and fossils.
  8. h) They use chemical and scientific methods to find ages of their findings e.g. carbon 14-dating method

What problems face archaeologists in their work of re writing history using unwritten sources?

  1. a) The exercise is too expensive.
  2. b) It is dangerous and tedious. Animals like wild dogs can attack scientists.
  3. c) Identification of the site is not easy because some artifacts are buried.
  4. d) Some artifacts can be destroyed in the process of digging.
  5. e) Dating of fossils is difficult.
  6. f) Personnel are few hence more work.
  7. g) Poor infrastructure in rural areas where their researches are mainly based
  8. h) Archaeologists may suffer from diseases caused by changes in climate.
  9. i) Sometimes the climate of their residence differs from that of the place they are taking


There are six methods through which scientists may use to arrive at the age of fossils.

  1. Geological periods

These are periods that have been given names by paleontologists and geologists for the past ages. They are characterized by the successive type of pants and animals found, and the climatic changes.The recent period is the Holocene period which began 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene.

  1. Chemical dating

They exist in two types:

(a)  Radio- carbon dating

This method involves a measure of the rate of decay of carbon -14 in fossils and organic substances. Carbon -14 is a naturally existing radioactive element (isotope) of carbon of relative atomic mass fourteen and is found in the Carbon Dioxide which is present in the atmosphere.It is absorbed by plants and consequently by all living organisms during their lifetime. When plant or animal dies, absorption stops. Carbon -14 already absorbed begins to disintegrate at a fixed rate from the time of death. If the amount of carbon -14 still remaining in an organic sample can be measured and related to the content of the isotope in the modern plant or animal, the rate of decay will be known. The date at which the sample was buried will e known. The measurement tells us how long it is since the organism died.The unit of measuring is known as half-life- the number of years it takes for half the carbon -14 to decay.However the accuracy of radio-carbon dating is limited to up to 40,000 years ago.

(b)  Potassium argon method

This is the method used to date volcanic ash. During volcanic eruptions, potassium is emitted. As soon as the potassium is deposited, the radio-active potassium-40 immediately begins to decay into the gas argon. It is assumed that the argon is retained in the mineral or rock unless there is earth movement.Given that the rate of decay of potassium is known, the amount of argon-40 compared with the amount of potassium, gives a direct measure of age.Because of the slower rate of decay of potassium than the decay of carbon-14, the potassium –argon method is used for dates ranging from hundreds of millions of years to 30,000 years.Recently methods have been developed for measuring the potassium and argon simultaneously on the same sample using nuclear.

  1. Stratigraphy

This is the study and interpretation of the layers of rock successively deposited at one place. It is useful in determining dates for areas affected by sedimentation. Through Stratigraphy, a geological time-chart is obtained showing which rock was formed earlier or later.

  1. Fission-track dating

This is a method developed for dating Pleistocene samples. The ages of glass and other mineral objects estimated by observing the tracks made in them by the fission fragments of uranium nuclei they contain. It requires that Uranium must be present. The age obtained dates from the time the object solidified. This method has been proved reliable by being able to provide same reading from a sample of glass with a lump of pumice from Olduvai Gorge corresponding with the potassium –argon dates from the same layer.

  1. Lexico-statistics dating

Lexico-statistics is the statistical study of the vocabulary of languages with the intentions of determining their ages and their historical links with other languages.The study is based on the assumption that all languages have a basic vocabulary which will change slowly at a common rate for all languages at all times. The existence of reconstructed vocabulary of the parent language in derivative languages shows the

Relationship between the two

Glottochronology, a subdivision of Lexico-statistics, attempts to establish that languages are historically related .by this method, there is an effort to express rates of language development by formulae precise enough to enable dates when change occurred to be calculated


  1. Statistical dating

Through a system of averaging, the length of a generation can be determined for a

Particular society and dates estimated for events associated with certain generations.

If the number and names of successive age-sets are remembered, the same system of averaging can be used.

Advantages of using unwritten sources of information on history and government

  1. a) Information about people’s movement and relationship is given.
  2. b) It is very efficient where there still existed illiteracy and people could not write or read.
  3. c) It informs us of events in the absence of written materials.
  4. d) Data received is primary/ firsthand so accuracy is enhanced.
  5. e) Materials collected or excavated can be stored in museums for future reference.
  6. f) They create employment in museums where they are stored.
  7. g) Information not captured by written sources can be obtained from oral traditions.
  8. h) There is a sense of reality as it involves things that are seen and touched.
  9. i) Unwritten sources especially linguistics help in discovering the links between different people, which were previously unknown.
  10. j) Detailed information on material culture may be obtained.
  11. k) Dating of the migration of people is more accurate in unwritten sources e.g. In linguistics.

Written sources

These are sources in which letters or any other symbols have been put on the surface for the purpose of communication. They include books, archives, constitutions, journals, novels, plays, newspapers, magazines, documentaries, dairies, annual reports, periodical and paintings.

Written sources are classified into two;

  1. a) Archives and early manuscripts

Archives are a collection of historical documents or records, especially those carrying classified information of a government or an organization, which after a period of time are accessible to the public.

They are also places where government, public and other historical records are kept.-they are resource centres for information.A manuscript is an author’s handwritten or typed text that has not yet been published. Early manuscripts include stone tablets and scrolls. The bible and Quran are based on these two.

  1. b) Printed sources

They include books, journals, novels, plays, newspapers, magazines, documentaries, dairies and annual reports. Photographs employ both electronic and printing processes but basically fall under printed sourcesWorks of fiction such as films plays and novels are important source of historical information. (Fiction is literature in form of prose, especially novels that describe imaginary events and people).Since work of fiction involves feelings and emotions, they can give more information about history. Also reading good historical novels arouses interest in history and gives the reader intellectual fulfillment. Newspapers convey new or fresh events, which with the passing of time becomes history.

Advantages of written records

  1. a) Written records preserve history since events are recorded for future reference. They are a store of information.
  2. b) Written information can reach or be distributed to all literate people all over the world.
  3. c) Written sources are less costly compared to those of anthropology or archaeology.
  4. d) Unlike oral tradition sources which are largely dependent on human memory, written sources are more accurate as information is preserved exactly as it was recorded.
  5. e) Written records may be written or translated into different languages thus reaching different people all over the world.
  6. f) Written records are in most cases reliable as biases and prejudices coming from authors can be limited. This can be done by comparing written material with statistical data from other sources.


  1. a) Where an author omits essential information for one reason or another, a written source may be rendered quite unreliable.
  2. b) Written information may be misunderstood or misinterpreted by readers either with the intention of discrediting others or to suit one’s needs.
  3. c) Writers at times are biased since the write from their particular point of view. For example, the writings of early explorers and missionaries.
  4. d) Written records are only limited to literate people within the society. – are not useful to illiterate people in the absence of literate members of the society.
  5. e) At times, depending on the society involved, acquiring written records may be very costly.
  6. f) Reading written records is often time-consuming.

Electronic sources

These include microfilms, films, videos, radio, and television


These are films on which extremely small photographs (microphotography) of documents and printed matter are stored. They are tinny but when magnified can be clearly read.

The importance of converting documents into microfilms is for preservation purposes and saving storage spaces.


This is an authoritative source of historical information that captures words and emotions of an event as I was. For example radio news on the president’s speeches gives listeners the actual information on national matters. However, radio lacks the vividness found in television and films.

Audio- visual sources

These include television, films and videos.

Films carry indisputable historical facts as action is recorded live. They also give better understanding of some aspects of the social history of a given people with regard to their music, dress and leisure activities. Videos and films make the past come alive.

However, since films are acted, they can sometimes be unrealistic as they may not present facts but an exaggerated version of an event.Television on its part gives good historical information as it depicts the situation as it was.

Databanks and databases

Databanks are large stores of organized information which can be accessed in number of ways. E.g. if it is a book, information can be accessed through an index, a table of content or by browsing.Electronic databases are stored in computer and facilitate easy and faster retrieval of information. One can search for information by use of a number of search terms.Information in a database can be printed when required but can also be accessed instantly on computer.

Limitations of using electronics as a source of information in history and government

  1. a) They are Subject to bias since most audio visuals contain foreign materials carrying the bias of the producer.
  2. b) Some are limited to the literate only e.g. information in data bases and microfilms can only be accessed by literate people and even computer literate people only.
  3. c) The information may be inaccurate only giving what is appealing to the public. TV crew depict only what they want to. Censorship may leave out vital information.
  4. d) Electronic sources of information are too expensive; most people cannot afford e.g. TV, Radios.
  5. e) Some acted films are unrealistic and therefore contain exaggerated information.





In the study of early man, we will seek to answer questions that human beings have always sought to answer about how they appeared on earth, whether they were created and where the universe came from.

The origin of Human Beings

A number of theories have been put forward to explain the origin of human beings.

  1. The creation theory.
  2. The mythical/ traditional theory
  3. The evolution theory

The Creation theory

The Jews, Christians and Muslims recognize the creation story as narrated in the first book of bible and in Qur’an. That the whole universe was created by god. That God also created man, woman and all living things and all non-living creatures. Man was created in God’s own image and woman created to provide man with companionship.

The Mythical Theory

Among African communities, there are myths about their origin all of them pointing to the fact that the first man was created by God.


Among the Agikuyu, their God (Ngai) created the first man, Gikuyu. He the provided him with a wife, Mumbi. He gave him land at Mugurwe wa Gathanga.

One of the myths among the Nandi state that the first two people, male and female came from the knees of a giant man, when the knees began swelling and later burs for the two to come out from each of the either knees.

The Evolution Theory

Charles Darwin, an English man living between 1809 and 1882 questioned the acceptance of the creation theory. Through scientific expedition to South America and the pacific islands in 1831, he developed interest in fossils (remains of plants and animals found beneath the earth’s surface.) in 1859; he published his ideas in a book titled The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The ideas enlisted instant battles from the Christian fraternity save for one supporter, Huxley.

Clearly the theory of evolution was not accepted but it helped to make people aware of the new ideas concerning the origin of man.

What is evolution?

Evolution can be defined as the process of change in living organisms over a number of years, frequently involving the beginning of new species from earlier species.

According to Charles Darwin, man transformed from simple life slowly over millions of years through environmental mutation, natural selection, isolation and adaptation.

 Mutation was a stage of abrupt change.

 Natural selection is an instinct by which the stronger species out compete the weaker for resources.

 Adaptation is where the surviving species isolate themselves from others as they adapt to new environment through body changes and technological changes e.g. ability to grow crops and make shelter.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection comprises the following points.

All organisms or creatures are uniquely different and this uniqueness is based on heredity factors which an organism has from birth.

Although many young organisms are produced, few manage to develop to maturity.

The organisms that manage to grow to maturity and reproduce are those that are able to constantly adapt to the existing environment.In view of the limited resources, even after mutation, Darwin argued that only the fittest organisms survive as the weak species become extinct. This theory is popularly known as ‘survival for the fittest’.According to Darwin, isolation and adaptation is the final stage in the evolution process. Having survived through mutation and natural selection, the merging species increase in number. This leads to search for basic needs and in the process a species may be isolated from the rest and then finally adapt to the new environment.The theory of evolution holds that Humans belong to the animal kingdom and that man has evolved over the years. Man is a primate just as apes like gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys. However, man belongs to the family of hominidae, while apes belong to the family of pongidae.

Man according to Darwin developed over the years from his ape-like ancestors.

Evolution and adaptation of man

The earliest Mammals lived on trees for two reasons;

  1. a) There was more supply of food o trees such as insects, leaves and birds’ eggs
  2. b) Animals were more secure from their enemies while up on trees

Man evolved from this kind of animals

Archaeological evidence points at East Africa as the cradle of mankind.

Reasons why East Africa is regarded as the place where man first evolved

  1. a) Evidence from archaeologists’ show that the earliest apes first evolved around lake and rift valley areas. And if man evolved from apes, then the first man must have appeared in east Africa.
  2. b) The savanna landscapes found in east Africa favored evolution while the conditions elsewhere (forests and deserts) Were unfavourable.
  3. c) The bones and weapons and tools which archaeologists are finding are proofs to this. These findings are widespread in Olduvai Gorge, Olorgesaillie, and Ngorongoro and around lakes of east Africa.
  4. d) The discovery of remains of early hominids and their material culture which form a pattern of human evolution prove this. E.g. we can trace the evolutionary process from Dryopithecus to Ramapithecus to Australopithecus to Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens.

Important archaeological sites found in East Africa

In Kenya; – Rusinga Island, Fort Ternan near Kericho, Kariandusi near Elementaita, Gambles cave, Olorgesaillie, Kobi For a near Lake Turkana, Hyrax Hill and Njoro River cave.

In Tanzania; – Olduvai Gorge, Eyasi Simila, Apis Rock and Garusi

In Uganda; – Nsongezi, Napak, Magosi, Paraa, Ishanga, Mweya and Nyabusora

In Ethiopia; – Omo River Valley and Hadar.

Over a long period of time, man’s ancestors lived in thick forests. Later about 15 million years ago, the forests transformed into savanna grasslands causing man’s ancestors to change both physically and mentally so as to cope with the new environment.

The changes

  1. a) The tail which no longer had any value in the savanna disappeared.
  2. b) Man became more upright as there were no more impeding vegetation as was the case of too much foliage and intertwining vegetation in the forests and also to reduce surface area onto which solar insolation had effect. These also enabled quicker movement.
  3. c) The leg and foot formation changed to enable the weight of the body to be supported and balance to be achieved while moving or at a standstill.
  4. d) Gradual use of front limbs (hands for holding objects) enabled man to make tools which made work easier. The limbs also found another role of protection from other predators.

As the forests disappeared, competition for food intensified and humans had to change their earlier eating habits. Some fossil evidence clearly give distinctive evidence of the break-off point between apes and hominids (mans ancestors.)The changes which Homo sapiens underwent as a break-off from apes to modern man.

  1. a) The skull size of the early human beings became larger indicating bigger brains. For example, Australopithecus, who lived between 5 and 1 million years ago, had a brain capacity of

530cm3. Homo erectus who lived later on had an improved brain capacity of between 775 and 1225cm3.

  1. b) Their jaws and teeth became more powerful compared to earlier forms indicating their use in tearing and cutting tough fibres and even the need for defence as a weapon. The size of the jaws and teeth became smaller.
  2. c) They developed a refined speech as compared to earlier forms.
  3. d) They were taller with less hair on their body.
  4. e) The forearms and hands underwent some changes. They developed a thumb for grasping objects. Their arms and hands became shorter, more appropriate for an upright posture.
  5. f) Their leg and foot formation also changed. Their feet and toes were smaller than earlier hominids in order to support the weight of the rest of the body while motionless or mobile. The toes were no longer in need for holding onto branches.

From apes to homo sapien sapiens

Between 40 and 25 million years ago, the first apes appeared on earth. The first man

(Austropithecus) appeared around 4.5 million years ago.

The following are the stages through which the evolution of man passed.

1)  Aegyptopithecus – An Early African Monkey

~ Aegyptopithecus was reconstructed from a monkey like skull found at Fayum Depression in Egypt. He forms earliest evidence of probable man’s ancestors.

~ Its Teeth were those of a herbivore

~ It had a Small, about 4kg and was named Egyptian ape.

~ It was highly adapted to forest life. Had stereoscopic vision. It could jump skillfully from one tree to other using hands. It Dated 33 million years

2)  Dryopithecus Africanus (proconsul)

~ Its Remains were found at Rusinga Island within Lake Victoria by Mary and Louis Leakey in

  1. Its Skull appearance was more close to modern man than to Aegyptopithecus.

~ He had a quadrupedal movement like a chimpanzee. He had a Smooth forehead.

~ He had long teeth like other animals. The shape of his teeth and jaws indicated that He ate fruits. It is his remains that strengthen the belief that east Africa was the first homeland of mankind.

3)  Kenyapithecus (Ramapithecus)

~ He is believed to have appeared between 15 and 12 million years ago

~ First remains found Fort Ternan in Kericho District, Kenya, in 1961 by Dr. Louis Leakey and Mary. Other fossils found at Samburu Hills, near Lake Baringo as well as in the Lake Turkana basin.

~ The equivalent species found in the Siwalikis Hills in northern India near New Delhi was named Ramapithecus

~ He had small canines and could occasionally walk on twos without falling.

~ The creature was small and weighed 36kg with bigger brains than earlier hominids.



4)  Australopithecus (southern ape)

~ By 4-2m years ago a series of species known as australopithecines begin to appear. Perhaps it was the earliest homid closer to modern man.

~ The pelvis and leg were similar to that of modern humans.

~ They were bipedal and this was important in defence, grasp of objects and vision of an impending danger from a distance.

~ His Brain size was smaller than that of a human but larger than gorilla’s.

~ He was one of the most hairy hominid that ever existed.

~ He was Short but strong with a low forehead. Had large teeth and skulls

~ His remains were first discovered at Taung in Botswana by Raymond Dart in 1924.

~ The broken up skull found in East Africa at Olduvai Gorge in 1959 by Mary Leakey, was called Zinjanthropus- ‘Nut-Cracker man ‘since it had big jaws that suggest it kept on chewing.

~ Other fossils found in South Africa, Omo River Valley, Laetoli in Tanzania, near lakes Turkana and Baringo in kenya and L Natron

Four types of Australopithecines that have been identified

  1. a) Australopithecus Afarensis
  2. b) Australopithecus Anamensis
  3. c) Australopithecus africanus.
  4. d) Australopithecus Robustus
  5. e) Australopithecus Anamensis

~ He is aged between 4.2 and 3.9 million years ago and is believed to be one of the oldest

  1. Australopithecines

~ Evidence of his existence is obtained from the Reconstruction of Material consisting of 9 fossils from Kanapoi in Kenya and 12 fossils from Allia Bay in Kenya found by Dr. Meave Leakey, Dr. Allan Walker and the four fossil hunters (Kamoya Kimeu, Wambua Mangao, Nzube Mutiwa and Samuel Ngui.)

~ The fossil remains (comprising a lower jaw) were named A. Anamensis in August 1995 in a leading British Scientific journal.

~ He had relatively large canines.

 ~ The homid was aged between 3.9 and 3.0 million years ago. Its Name is derived from Afar Depression in Ethiopia.

~ He Had Apelike face and human-like teeth. He was small in stature and Bipedal, but Walked bent over, not fully upright.

~ They had very small brains -Brain capacity from 375 to 500 cc – (Its Brain was the size of an orange.)

~ They had a bony ridge over the eyes, a low forehead, a flat nose, and also they had no chin.

~ Remains found at Laetoli in Tanzania and Tugen Hills in Baringo District.

  1. c) Australopithecus Africanus (A. Gracilis)

~ A. africanus existed between 3 and 2.5 million years ago. A. africanus was slenderly built, or Gracile (Gracile means slender) with a height of 1.5m.

~ Was significantly more like modern humans than A. Afarensis, with a larger brain and more humanoid facial features.

~ Had large teeth, jaws and skull

~ A. africanus has been found at only four sites in southern Africa — Taung (1924),

Sterkfontein (1935), Makapansgat (1948) and Gladysvale (1992).

  1. d) Australopithecus Robustus

~ He Lived between 1½ – 2mya in South Africa.

~ He is the biggest and most recent Australopithecine. – weight 68kg. He had more robust

skull, jaws, and teeth.

~  He ate fruits, nuts and raw tubers- was apparently a vegetarian.

~  His Remains were found primarily in cave deposits at Swartkrans and Kromdraai in South Africa.

~  His Average brain size was  about 530 cc

~  The East African A.Robustus was named A. Boisei

5)  Homo habilis

(“Handy Man”) – “man with ability”.

~  He is the earliest known species of the genus Homo; that is, the first human species. He lived 2.5 -1.5 million years ago

~  He was the First Homo specie to create and use stone tools for hunting and daily life. Homo habilis depicted the ability to make better tools than his predecessors. That is why he was referred to as man with ability.

~  His Brain size was -500 -800 cc;-the Brain shape is more humanlike.

~  He was capable of rudimentary speech.

~  He was about 127 cm (5’0″) tall, and about 45 kg (100 lb) in weight, although females may have been smaller

~ His fossils were found in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania in 1964 by Dr. J. Leakey.

~  His Remains were also found at Hadar and Omo River Valley in Ethiopia and kobi fora along L. Turkana by Benerd Ngeneo in 1972.

6)  Homo erectus (“Upright Man”)

~ He was BIPEDAL- standing about 4-5 feet tall with a larger brain (700-1250cc). He lived between 2 million and 200,000 years ago.

~ He was clever as illustrated by his ability to make Acheulian tools such as the hand axe which was used as an axe, knife or even as a scraper. He was the First hominid to invent and use fire.

~ Their skeletons were larger and showed that they were quite heavily muscled

~ They were omnivorous like many other early hominids.

~ Only had hair on their head and back like are men that we have today

~ Remains found in Hardar, Ethiopia where the skeleton of a female ‘Lucy’ were found.

~ Other fossils were found near Nariokotone River on the north western shores of LakeTurkana by Kamoya Kimeu in 1984.

~ Also at Olorgesaillie near Magadi, Isimila near Iringa in TZ and Tenerife in Algeria.

~ The most famous Homo Erectus fossil was found in a cave in Zhoukoudian, China and became known as Peking Man/Java man

7)  Homo sapiens (“Wise Man” thinking man)

~ Their Main difference with their hominid ancestors is their extreme intelligence–they were the smartest hominid that ever lived with a Brain capacity of 1000-1800cc

~ They lived between 200,000 and 150,000 years ago

~ They improved their way of life by making a variety of flint, bone, wood and stone tools


~ They hunted, gathered and fished. Later on, they domesticated plants and animals

~ Their Remains were found at Eliye Springs, Kanjera and Kanam in Kenya, Bodo and Omo River Valley in Ethiopia and Ngaloba in Tanzania.

Three sub-species of Homo sapiens existed;

  1. a) Rhodesian man

~  The sub-species Was discovered in Zambia , hence the name Rhodesian man

~  He had straight legs and walked with long strides.

~  Rhodesian man’s Brains and skull were very similar to those of modern man.

  1. b) Neanderthals

~  His Remains were found in Neander valley, Germany (1856). They Lived in caves and valleys

~  He was 5 feet and 5 inches tall-much stronger, heavily built and more aggressive too.

~  He Had very thick eyebrow ridges like the other hominids

~  He Made clothes from animal skins. They would scrape animal fat so they can use the skin as clothing.

~  They were probably the First humans to bury their dead. He was most likely the most intelligent hominid other than modern humans.

~  He was a nomad, gathering and hunting deer, wild pigs and wild sheep. Their weapons were used to impale animals; therefore, to kill them, they had to approach the animal and get very close. This was dangerous and probably caused injuries and even fatalities.

~ Communication was key in hunting because they had to work as a team. They had the ability to use complex speech; however, their sentences were probably basic. Instead of painting on cave walls they painted their faces.

~ Other remains were found in Asia in France, Belgium, Gibraltar, Italy and former


~ They became extinct about 30,000 years ago.

  1. c) Homo sapiens Cro-Magnon

~ He was almost identical to modern humans although quite muscular and taller. Had long, low skull and a wide face, a sharp, rising forehead, bushy eyebrows and prominent chins

~ They had a big brain capacity and had very complex thinking

~ He was hunter-gatherer, painter and lived in caves

~ He knew how to make clothes

~ His Fossil remains were found in Western Europe. Their skeletons still remain in France today

~ They became extinct around 10,000years ago

8)  Homo sapiens sapiens

~ Homo sapiens sapiens are modern day humans. They evolved about 50,000 years ago.

~ They have big brains and a more advanced faculty for curiosity and intelligence

~ They have a large brain capacity. They do not just think, they plan ahead, make accurate forecasts, and study the star and the galaxies

~ They have made inventions that have made life more comfortable.

~ They are Around 5 feet 6 inches tall and Walk fully upright

~ They have Minimal hair on our bodies (replaced by clothing)-We have clothes that are made from brands, factories, we also sew or knit our own clothing.

The growing knowledge of genetic structure and functions has enabled human beings to clone animals using genes obtained from existing animals, thereby producing offsprings that looks exactly like the original e.g. the work of Dr. Wilmut Ian at the Roslin Institute of Edinburgh, Scotland that led to the first cloned sheep named dolly. Scientists are making attempts to even clone humans.More recent discoveries of early man include the Toumai found in Chad in 2002 dating about 6 to 7 myaIn 2000, another discovery was made in Baringo, Kenya (millennium man) and is believed todate 6mya. The discovery was made by Martin Pickford and Eustace Gitonga o the National Museums of Kenya.

Appearance of races

It has been hypothesized modern humans, using superior technology and more efficient adaption, out competed other hominid species to quickly emerge as the only surviving hominid species on the planet.Though we feature much diversity in appearance, these differences are minor compared to our biological similarities/all human beings are quite closely related.Many of our physical differences (skin, color, hair color, etc.) are relatively recent adaptations to local environment conditions. Evolutionary forces such as genetic drift have also played a role in our creating such variation as well.

Biologists and anthropologists classified humans into three different groups based on physical characteristics.

  Negroids, found in Africa.

  Caucasians found in Europe

  Mongoloids found in Asia,

Modern genetics has revealed that these categories make very little sense biologically since modern races are derived from a common stock and the different races are able to interbreed. There are also no differences in intelligence among all races of mankind.

The term “race” has traditionally been used by scientists as the equivalent of the subspecies concept when classifying humans.The Cultural and economic practices of early man

What is culture?

Culture is the way of life of a people-Customs, language and social institutions

The things that early humans made and used formed their material culture. Early man’s culture can be understood through study of Stone Age or Paleolithic periods

What is Stone Age?

This refers to the early period of human history when man’s tools and weapons were mainly made of stone and to some extend – wood and bone

There are three Stone Age periods

1)  Old stone age- Paleolithic period- 4,500,000 to 50,000years

2)  Middle stone age- Mesolithic period-50,000-15,000 years.

3)  New Stone Age – Neolithic period- 15,000- 1,500 years

The Paleolithic Age

“Paleolithic” -> “Old Stone” Age- 4,500,000 – 50,000 years ago

The Paleolithic is the longest of all stone ages, covering roughly 2 million years.

The hominid species who lived side by side were Australopithecus, Homo habilis and Homoerectus.


The hominids Made tools from stone

The Tool Traditions was called Oldowan tools / pebble tools. The tools were named after Olduvai Gorge where they were found. They were made by Australopithecus and Homo erectus. They were also known as pebble tools because they were made of stones.

Among the finds at Olduvai were the chopper, fist hatchet (core tools) and several flake tools.Such tools were also found at Kobi For a near Lake Turkana, Omo River Valley in Ethiopia, and Kafu Valley in Uganda, Shaba province in Zaire and in Algeria, Tunisia and morocco.In Kenya, the tools were found at sites in kariandusi, Olorgesaillie, Kilombe, Chesowanja, Mtongwe, Isenya and Lewa DownsAustralopithecus “Southern Ape” They didn’t have the intelligence to make sophisticated tools, so they may have made tools out of bones that they foundAustralopithecus afarensis mostly used tools that they found or that nature had created, example was a stick, which they stuck into a termite mound, then the termites clung to it letting the ape pull out the stick covered in food. He is however also credited for making Oldowan tools.

Homo habilis and the Oldowan Tradition

They made stone tools for chopping, scraping, and cutting. Making of Choppers (lower left) involved knapping a few flakes off the core. Both cores and flakes were used. The Knapper could strike a spherical piece of stone until Flake falls off opposite side. The Tool would then be flipped over and procedure repeated. Several blows would create a cutting edgeRequirements reflect Intelligence, Planning, foreknowledge of design and Knowledge of breakage pattern of rock. There must also be Hand-eye coordination

The second phase of the Old Stone Age was marked by tools called Acheulian tools, named after the site of St Acheul in France. Others found in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In Kenya, the tools were found at Kariandusi, Olorgesaillie, Kilombe, Chesowanja, Mtongwe, Isenya and Lewa DownsThey were made by Homoerectus. Homo erectus and the Acheulian tool technology. Signature tool: a well-designed hand axe and cleavers

The Hand axe had multiple uses, from cutting, skinning, scraping animal skins, digging and sharpening bone and wood.

Characteristics of Acheulian hand axe

~ It was Bifacial: both sides were knapped

~ Symmetrical in breadth

~ Shaped to a point on one end

~ The edge is thin and sharp

~ Broad end is curved, but edge is still sharp.

Process of Manufacturing Acheulian Hand axes

Dozens of flakes were removed from the core, from 25 to 75. Each flake blow must be precisely positioned. The Core must be turned over again and again to maintain symmetry and to keep edge straight. All the exterior rind (cortex) was removed. It was a demanding task-The hand axe was Symmetrical and finely shaped.


The early Stone Age people lived in small groups and were able to hunt for food using sharpened rocks and sticks. They used simple hunting methods of chasing wild animals and throwing stones at them. They also made traps by digging large pits on the paths used by animals. They ate raw meat from small animals like lizards and rodents

Women gathered edible fruits, eggs and roots- had a balanced diet.


Humans during this period found shelter in caves and tree-tops.

Their bodies were hairy enough to keep them warm- lack of clothing was therefore bearable during this period. Moreover, the savannahs were also warm enough.

They also preferred the grasslands because they provided them with the much needed water and foodThe Australopithecus had a very small brain and that limited the actions they could do. The Australopithecus were very hairy so they didn’t need any clothes. Australopithecus diet was mostly made up of fruits and vegetables they found. If Australopithecus found a dead animal it would scavenge of it but the Australopithecus afarensis couldn’t cook the meat and kill the germs.

Mesolithic age

Mesolithic“middle Stone” Age- 200,000– 10,000 years ago.

They period was characterized by superior brains and ability of Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. Great improvements were witnessed.


Signature tool; Sangoan tool made using Lavallois method

The tool was named after Sango Bay site on L. Victoria-Tz

The Lavallois technology

It involved using cores of smaller stones to hit bigger ones. The tool maker would draw outline of flake on stone module and Strike out flakes and blades of desired shape. The rock would be prepared beforehand to control how rock breaks when struck. The flakes and blades were then trimmed into a variety of knives, scrapers, spear points, choppers and daggers.Also Mousterian tools (specialized stone tools and weapons) were made.

Tang- the first tool with a handle was invented in this period- 40,000 years ago in northern Africa.Fire was also another important tool invented by Homo erectus and he used it as follows

~ For warmth at night, lighting, to cook roots and roast meat, for hunting (bushfires), tool-making to harden tips, means of communication, food preservation

~ It also enabled hominids to migrate out of savannah


Homo erectus was considered the first true hunters. Because of better tools

(Hand axe), fire and axes, they could hunt larger game such as deer, rhinos, pigs, elephants; buffaloes etc. and cook their food.People learnt to wear animal skins and make waist-belts and necklaces. They also painted themselves with red ochre and oil.


Man used identifiable shelter. An example was found at Orangia in South Africa. Man also used rock shelter (rocks scooped out to make hollows). Later man lived in caves with entrance covered with animal skins to keep wind and rain away (e.g. Matupi Cave in Zaire and Gambles cave near Nakuru.


Families lived in small groups for security reasons. There were distinct languages to enhance communications.Rock paintings-Pictures of animals were painted on walls and rocks. Examples of Cave paintings were left behind at Kondoa and singida areas in north Tanzania and at Apollo II cave in S.A.  This pictures signified man’s believe in magic (arrows piercing animals he hoped to kill)


There was efficient group organization as evidenced by the ability to carry out large-scale hunting. Language invention further strengthened the social bonds and cultures of early man

The Neolithic age

Neolithic  “New Stone” Age- 15,000 – 4,000 years ago

This period was marked with the Emergence of Homo sapiens and homo sapien sapiens.


Man became a Very skilled toolmaker-they made tools known as microliths- (small piece of sharp stone tool). For example, a crescent or a lunate which had a straight sharp cutting edge and a curved blunted back.Their weapons include stone axes, knives, spears, harpoons, wooden bows, and sharp, stone tipped arrows, hooks, needles, and bone fish hooks.NEANDERTHALS were the first to create the pointed tip on hunting spears and harpoons


Earlier sapiens used caves as their homes instead of building one. Later, they made permanent homes that looked like tents or tepees, out of tree branches, grass, mammoth bones, and animal skins. They used or made some sort of paint to use on their cave paintings.


Man domesticated plants and animals though he continued to hunt and gather.

Man changed as from Nomadic lifestyle to settled stationary lifestyle; a.k.a.sedentary

Population also increased due to balanced diet and adequate food


Due to settled life and improved settlement, rules and laws were set up as a basis of government. Some people also specialized in leadership, religious activities as well as making of crafts.


Man’s language and religious beliefs developed as a result of depending on natural forces like rain. They began to ponder over issues like life and death.Evidence is found at Hyrax Hill and Njoro river Cave where human fossil remains were found buried with items such as tools and seeds or foodThe practice of burying someone with his possessions implied a belief in life after death.Neanderthals were the first to bury their dead. They also seemed to have a conception of an afterlife as shown by the actual burial site at La Ferrassie, France, with seven tombs including a man, a woman and several children’s graves lying side by side.


Humans specialized in crafts such as basketry, pottery and later smelting

Evidenced by this horse’ head carving to the right.


Definition of agriculture

It is the cultivation of crops. The modern definition of agriculture includes animal husbandry, fish farming and bee-keeping.

The beginning of Agriculture

The domestication of plants and animals began over 10,000 years ago during the Neolithic period

Why man domesticated plants and animals

  1. The increase of human population needed regular food supply -natural environment could no longer provide sufficient food.
  2. Climatic changes-increased drought, threatened plant life and animal life making natural food scarce.
  3. Competition for existing food in the natural resulted in inadequate wild food/over hunting of animals.
  4. Hunting and gathering was increasingly becoming tiresome.
  5. Calamities such as forest fires or floods sometimes destroyed vegetation or drove wild animals away.
  6. Development of settled life. Man had to stop a life of movement in search of food and water.
  7. Development of tools (microliths) e.g. sickles wooden plough, etc.
  8. Availability of varieties of indigenous crops e.g. wheat and barley.

There are two theories that explain how agriculture started;

  1. The Independent theory. Agriculture developed independently in different parts of the world especially along river valleys.
  2. One Place Theory/Diffusion Theory-Crop growing and animal keeping developed among people of south East Asia. Then the idea spread to the rest of the world; Middle East, India, Central America, China, Southeast Asia 8,000 BC 7,000 BC 6,500 BC 6,000 BC 5,000 BC


The transformation from hunting and gathering to growing of food crops was a gradual development. The first crops were grown by man in areas where they existed naturally.

Crop growing first developed in the Fertile Crescent which is in the Middle East.

Neolithic women noticed new grain plants grew when they accidentally spilled grain seeds. They tried scattering seeds on purpose – it worked!

~ Animals often find plants in places with water / good soil – Hunters saw pattern

~ People stayed at sites, animals became tamer

~ People started weeding / irrigating so plants would grow better

~ Started saving seeds of better plants to plant

~ One season, nomads liked a site so much they stuck around

~ Stayed so long they harvested a crop and then saw it grow to harvest stage again

~ Groups learned to grow a crop from seed to harvest and then move on

~ Since men did the hunting and females were responsible for the food gathering, women learned how to plant seeds, as well as process and prepare the food.

The above facts point out that the beginning of crop farming was accidental and mainly through trial and errorEarliest crops to be domesticated were barley, wheat, sorghum, millet, rice, maize, yams, cassava, potatoes, bananas and grapes. Since they grew in different environments, there were many centres of agricultural revolution. For example;

~ Middle East.

~ Indus valley in India.

~ Nile valley

~ The yellow river valley in china

~ The Danube Valley in Europe.


Originally grown in south-west Asia

Initial type was brittle wheat-then replaced by a non-brittle type in 7500BC called emmer

Wheat then spread Mesopotamian plains by 6000 BC to Egypt by 3000BC, then to Mediterranean region, central Asia, India and southern Europe.


The first cereal to be domesticated.Initially grew wildly at Mureybat on the Euphrates in Syria between 7000 – 6000 BC Another evidence of growth found at Ali kosh (Iran) and Jericho (Jordan)Then spread to Egypt at Fayum in 4500 BC. Then spread to India and china by about 2000 BC.


Originated from Africa at Hoggat in southern Algeria as early as 6000 BC

Spread to West Africa to around Sudan area between Nile and Chad, by 1500 BC

Finger millet originated in East Africa.

Later the two spread to Asia and China.


Originated in Asia where currently is a stable food- in Thailand at about 3500 BC

Then spread to India, Europe and Japan

The African variety was grown along the upper Niger around 1500 BC


Origin- Central America at about 5000 BC at Tehuacan in Mexico.

In Africa, was introduced by the Portuguese in 15thc.


The first root and tuber crop to be domesticated- 9000 BC in south East Asia.

The African variety, the white guinea yam was grown in Ivory Coast.


The Dog was the first animal to be domesticated. The next animals were the sheep, Goats, cattle and camels. Animal domestication Began through establishment of ties between man and animals during hunting or when fetching water.



Assisted humans in hunting, driving away dangerous animals and herding livestock


The Goat was first domesticated in south west Asia in5000 BC.Evidence of this is found at Tell Abu Hureyra, Tepe Ali Kosh, and Deh Luren Khuzestan in south -west Iran. Also in Iraq, upper Tigris valley, turkey and south Jordan. Goat domestication was in Egypt in 5000 BC Sheep.Sheep was domesticated after the dog. Fossil evidence of sheep keeping has been found at Zawi Chemi Shanid in Iraq and dating to about 9000 BC. Sheep were also kept in Syria, Egypt and Saharan region then to West Africa. Sheep was also kept in Indus valley and yellow river valleys.


Cattle was first domesticated in south-west Asia as early as 5800BC in turkey and then in Iran and Iraq. It then spread to Ethiopia and North Africa from Asia.

The short-horned cattle originated in Mesopotamia then spread to Africa and Europe.


Though camels are associated with North Africa today, the original home has been traced to North America from where t spread to South America and Asia. The Asian and s. American species became the ancestors of the Alpaca and Illama.Two types of camels exist today- the one-humped (found in Middle East, northern china and Africa), and the two-humped camel (found in central Asia.) Camels were domesticated about 3000 BC to 2500 BC

Importance of the domestication of animals

  1. a) Some of them like cattle, sheep and goats provided man with regular food i.e. Milk, meat.
  2. b) Animal Hides or skin were used as clothing and beddings
  3. c) The horns were used for communication.
  4. d) Hooves and bones of animals were used as containers and as drinking vessels.
  5. e) Some of the domesticated animals like the camel, donkey and horses were used for transport.
  6. f) Domestic animals like the oxen and the donkey were used to plough land for farming.
  7. g) The dog protected man against dangerous animals.
  8. h) Some of the domesticated animals produced manure which greatly improved

agricultural produce.


Mesopotamia was the land between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates and lay in the present day irag. It was one of the centres of early civilization as early as 3000 BC.

Food production in this region began as early as 8000 BC.

Reasons why early agriculture developed in Mesopotamia

  1. a) Availability of indigenous crops and animals in the region e.g. Wheat, barley, dates and goats, sheep and cattle.
  2. b) Existence of fertile land along river valleys of Tigris and Euphrates-consisting of deposited silt.
  3. c) Availability of water from rivers Tigris and Euphrates which was used for irrigation. Heavy rains experienced in the Zaggroes Mountains contributed to floods on the river valleys.
  4. d) Invention of farming tools e.g. Hoes, ploughs, sickles and seed drill which promoted agricultural activities.
  5. e) Existence of transport system in form of donkeys, canoes, river transport etc; which was instrumental in transportation of inputs and outputs.
  6. f) Political instability that enabled people to practice agriculture.

The Sumerians are credited as the first people to use irrigation in growing crops. When the river water overflowed the banks during flooding, the Sumerians had the skill of controlling it through canals into the dry lands. (Canal or bucket irrigation). They also used farm implements to improve crop growing. For example the use of ox-drawn ploughs and seed drills pulled by oxen to replace stone hoes.Most of the people during the summer civilization earned their livelihood as farmers, craftsmen, fishermen and cattle breeders.Most of the land was in form of large estates owned by the rulers or the wealthy classes. The peasants were given small plots along with seeds, farm implements and animals in exchange for labour.

The Crops grown included barley, wheat, vines, date, palms, grapes, olives, onions, figs, melons and cucumbers. Milk animals kept included goats and cow. Also ducks, pigs, geese and horses were kept.

Impact of early agriculture in Mesopotamia

  1. a) It led to settled life as people now needed to concentrate on farming.
  2. b) Food production increased.
  3. c) There was an increase in population along the river valleys due to plenty and regular food supply.
  4. d) There was emergence of city-states and urban centres. For example Ur, Uruk, Eridu, Nippur, Kish and Babylon.
  5. e) Surplus agricultural production led to development of trade between communities.
  6. f) There was increased specialization as all could not engage in farming. Some became craftsmen.
  7. g) Agriculture influenced writing and arithmetic. Management of estates required knowledge in accounts. The form of writing that was developed was known as cuneiform involving the use of stone tablets.
  8. h) The invention of the wheel by around 3000 BC. it was used in carts to transport farm produce, for making war chariots to transport soldiers and also in pottery (the potter’s wheel)
  9. i) The plough was also invented. The first ox-plough consisted of simply a tree trunk with one small branch protruding upwards with the other one upwards. The invention meant that only a few people were needed to cultivate land.
  10. j) There was the development of science and mathematics with the development of the first formulas for measuring time, distance and area. There was also development in the field of Astronomy.
  11. k) Religious practices also developed with the connection of most of the gods to

agriculture in one way or another. For example, Ninurta was a god of floods.

  1. l) Development of law. A code of laws was compiled as a means of minimizing conflict in society- the Hammurabi’s code.


As early as 7000 BC, people had already settled in the Nile valley. By around 5000 BC, the Egyptians had gradually adopted agriculture, departing from a hunter-gatherer society.

Reasons that enhanced development of early Agriculture in Egypt

  1. a) Availability of Water for irrigation and for domestic use from river Nile.
  2. b) Existence of fertile silt deposits and mud originating from the flooding of the Nile betweenJuly and October annually, which provided fertile soil for crop farming.
  3. c) Another advantage was that Egypt had a suitable warm climate for crop growing and ripening.
  4. d) The Use of shadoof Irrigation technology ensured production of food during drought seasons
  5. e) Presence of indigenous crops and animals from which domestication was made. Wheat and barley had already become indigenous to Egypt as were animals like sheep and goats.
  6. f) Foreign influence from South West Asia where farming was first practiced. The proximity of Egypt to Mesopotamia, the first centre of agricultural development ensured that she borrowed heavily from there.
  7. g) The Natural protection of the region from foreign attacks, since the Nile valley was protected by the Libyan Desert to the West, the Nubian Desert and Nile cataracts to the South and the Nile coast delta on the North.
  8. h) Political stability.
  9. i) High population created need for more food and provided farm labour.
  10. j) Availability of slave labour made crop farming a success.
  11. k) The invention and use of implements that included wooden sticks, knives and wooden hoes enabled the farmers to increase their yields.
  12. l) The existence of writing in Egypt helped the Egyptians to keep accurate records of seasons and volume of food.

The shadoof irrigation

This was the method of irrigation used in Egypt during the drought season when the river was not flooding. A shadoof is a wooden device for lifting water from a river into the canals. It consisted of a long pole swinging up and down between two supporting wooden posts One end has a weight hanging on the pole while the other end has a skin bucket. The bucket is pulled down and dipped into the water by a person. It is caused to rise by the weight, once water has been filled. The other person empties the water into the canal to be drained into the fields.The Egyptians used farm implements like sticks, knives, axes, sickles and hoesAmong the crops planted in Egypt included wheat, barley, fruits, flax, beans, vegetables, cucumbers, onions, lentils, dates, figs and grapes. They used the broadcasting method. Shifting cultivation was also practiced before human population increased.They kept animals like sheep, goat, pigs, donkey, cattle and poultry.

The state directed production. It controlled distribution of harvests as well as handicrafts.

Government owned huge granaries and godowns which were used to store food.

The king was regarded as the guardian who presided over food supply for all. The master of largesse was responsible for all the livestock in the country. In the year when agricultural production was poor, the head of the exchequer would take care of the distribution of seeds and livestock.

Effects of early agriculture in Egypt

  1. a) Due to improved farming, there was increased food production thus ensuring regular food supplies.
  2. b) There was Growth in population as food supply increased and became regular.
  3. c) Agriculture led to permanent settlement of people. As a result, their living standards improved dramatically as they reaped from farming.
  4. d) Agriculture promoted trade among the Egyptians. It led to production of surplus food that in turn was used to increase trading activities.
  5. e) Agriculture Led to rise of urban centres or towns in Egypt such as Memphis’s akhetan, Aswan and Thebes along the Nile valley.
  6. f) Agriculture enabled some society members to specialize in other activities since a few could now produce enough food for all. Some engaged in hand crafts, geometry etc.
  7. g) Agriculture Led to emergence of government and related governing laws.
  8. h) Like the case of Mesopotamia, it led to the discovery of arithmetic, geometry, writing and calendar. These were used by the priests to keep records and make accurate prediction of annual foods. The Egyptian calendar is believed to be the earliest calendar in the world.
  9. i) It promoted social stratification or classes in Egyptian society.

Effects of early agriculture

Summarize from the effects in Egypt and Mesopotamia.


The agrarian revolution refers to rapid changes and improvements in the field of agriculture.

Between 1750 and 1850 European countries underwent changes in agriculture.

The changes were marked by

 A new system of land ownership

 Use of machines and new farming methods.

The revolution took place first in Britain.


  1. Feudalism was practiced.

What is Feudalism?

“Loosely organized system of government in which local lords governed their own lands but owed military service and other support to a greater lord (nobility)”

The feudal kings had plenty of land; but they could not control it all. So they gave land to lords (nobility) in exchange for protection, loyalty and $.Nobility then gave Part of their land to the serfs (peasants) who would work on it and give part of their crops to the local (land) lord, for letting them farm the land.

  1. Farmers practiced open-field system.

In this system land was divided into three portions;

  1. Portion one- growing corn and wheat
  2. Portion two- for beans, barley and oats

III. Portion three- left fallow to regain fertility.

Such a system did not allow effective farming since land was not fully utilized.

It also discouraged livestock farming since it allowed easy spread of livestock diseases.

There was uncontrolled breeding in livestock instead of selective breeding since livestock grazed together.

Fallow land and existence of Cattle and footpaths that crisscrossed the farms wasted a lot of land.

  1. Stripping as a method of farming was used. The existence of strips meant that Land portions were small and discouraged the use of machines.
  2. Use of simple tools and implements that included sticks, hoes and later ploughs. Cultivation was therefore on small scale with crop rotation being used as a method of improving fertility. It was however not effective.
  3. Use of broadcasting method. Broadcasting method of planting led to wastage of seeds as it would be eaten by birds and rodents
  4. Intercropping was practiced. The growing of two or more crops on the same piece of land.
  5. Mixed farming. Livestock was allowed to graze on fallow land
  6. Mono-cropping-planting the same type of crop year after on the same piece of land. NB; this was an inefficient system leading to low yields


  1. Fallows were abolished and available lands used effectively. This was influenced by population that occasioned demand for more food. The farmers could no longer afford to leave land to regain fertility.
  2. Application of new methods of farming.

Introduction and use of fertilizers in farms  

Lord Viscount Townsend discovered that clover added nitrogen to the soil and turnips could survive in winter and be used to feed cattle.

Townsend introduced a new four- course crop rotation called the Norfolk system consisting of barley, clover, turnips and wheat on same plot for a four-year period.

In 1843, John Bennet Lawes discovered the use of fertilizers and opened a superphosphate factory in London.

  1. Use of farm machineries like the horse drawn drilling machine invented by Jethro Tull in 1701 which replaced the broadcasting method. Iron hoes were used instead of sticks, to prepare the ground. In 1925, the wooden plough was replaced with an iron plough. Patrick Bell’s invention of the mechanical reaper replaced the sickle in harvesting corn. Andrew Meikles invented a mechanical thresher in 1876 which could cut and bind corn at the same time.

The use of machines changed agriculture from a small scale to a large-scale business.

  1. Intercropping to retain land fertility. E.g. of maize and beans. This practice enabled farmers to realize more yields.
  2. Application of scientific principles to farming. For example, Selective breeding of livestock invented by Robert Bakewell (1725-1795). He was able to develop the short horn, Devon, the Hereford, Aberdeen Angus and Ayrshire. He also improved sheep breeds such as the Leicester, Shropshire, Suffolk and the oxford. Pig varieties- the Yorkshire, Berkshire and Tamworth breeds
  3. Fencing of farms/land enclosure system; the introduction of land enclosures put to an end to strip farming. This was a demand of the rich landlords that land should be enclosed by fencing. The enclosure act enabled rich people to acquire more land. As a result more land was put under production and more land could be ploughed by one farmer

Positive effects of the land enclosure system introduced in Britain

  1. a) It created large farms which allowed use of horse drill and crop -rotation.
  2. b) The farms were easily managed and Farmers could specialize in crop or animal


  1. c) Farmers could use their title deeds to borrow money from financial firms for the

improvement of their farms.

Effects of the land enclosure movement on the peasant farmers in Britain

  1. The creation of large farms led to landlessness among the peasant farmers,
  2. Peasant farmers sold off their land to the rich farmers because they could not

afford to cultivate the land.

  1. The land enclosure movement led to displacement of peasant farmers from their

land and hence they migrated to towns/ caused rural -urban migration.

  1. The rural-urban migration of peasant farmers led to overcrowding in urban centres/ congestion in urban centres.
  2. The land enclosure movement caused emigrations of the peasants to other

countries such as USA, Canada, Australia, new Zealand and south Africa

  1. The poor farmers were exploited, as they had to sell their labour to farmers and to the factories / exploitation of the poor peasant’s labour force.
  2. The royal agricultural society. It was established in 1838. Through the journals of the society, new ideas and techniques of farming were publicized all over the country. As a result, many farmers began to adopt the modern methods of farming.


  1. Land consolidation; the introduction of land enclosures which put to an end to strip farming. As a result more land was under production and more land could be ploughed by one farmer.
  2. Development of new methods of livestock breeding; more scientific methods of breeding livestock were developed. They involved selective breeding in which animals with suitable characteristics were maintained in the herds.
  3. Development of new tools for farming which helped to increase agricultural productivity .e.g. use of seed drill, Rotterdam plough, threshing machine and tractors.
  4. Development of new methods of maintaining soil fertility e.g. the new crop rotation system allowed the continued use of land without exhausting its fertility. Chemical fertilizers were also produced.
  5. Development of agricultural research in universities and research institutes assisted in improvement of soils and crop yields. Newspapers and agricultural journals helped to spread the results of this research to farmers.
  6. Impact of industrial revolution which provided the agricultural sector with inputs and market.
  7. Population increase led to high demand for food.


  1. Food security for the population of Britain due to improved farming methods.
  2. There was Growth of population in Britain due to food security lowered mortality rates and increased life expectancy.
  3. There was Growth of capital/plantation farming to replace subsistence farming. Due to the enclosure act, ownership of large farms was encouraged and subsequently mechanization/plantations were set up.
  4. Poor farmers who could not afford fencing lost their land. Capital farming therefore led to emergence of landless peasants as large tracts of land were consolidated in enclosures. The poor peasants were compelled to migrate to urban areas where they were subjected to poor living conditions.
  5. Trade expanded locally and internationally. When farming was commercialized, Britain expanded trade thus boosting her economy.
  6. Growth of a working class. The landless peasants sought wage employment on farms or in towns in the emerging new industries. Thus a class of workers began to emerge.
  7. Transport systems like roads and railways improved. They were used to transport agricultural products to the market and raw materials to industries.
  8. Industries benefited from agricultural raw materials/ develop ment of industries. A number of machines produced by industries were also used in agriculture to boost production.
  9. Emigration of British national to other parts of the world. Some of the landless peasants migrated to USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
  10. Intensification of scientific research by the royal agricultural society to carter for the expanding agricultural sector.


From Britain the revolution spread to other parts of Europe and Americas and then the rest of the world. Ideas like crop rotation, use of machines, selective breeding of livestock and use of fertilizers spread into continental Europe from Britain. The governments encouraged agricultural science and research.

The work of Louis Pasteur (1890-1960) a Frenchman discovered that disease are caused by bacteria and sterilization of food such as milk through boiling keeps it bacteria-free for long time


The Americas was the origin of many crops in the world the American Indians were subsistence farmers growing crops like yams, potatoes, maize (corn), cocoa, tomatoes, cotton, tobacco, beans and cassava.Political and religious differences in Europe in the 17th c forced many Europeans to settle in America as was also the enclosure system in Britain. Craftsmen and labouerers also moved in search of better life. The immigrant settlers came with horses, sheep, cattle, pigs, fowls, seeds and plants from Europe. Some of them participated in improving the machines that were already in use in Europe. For example:

  1. 1837- John Deere a young blacksmith from Illinois invented a steel plough
  2. 1837- Cyrus McCormick established a factory in Chicago to produce reapers
  3. 1837- Daniel Massey produced a similar machine in Canada.
  4. 1792- Elly Whitney invented the cotton gin and cotton picker

American scientists also developed the refrigerator. For example, John Perkins (1766-1849) an American inventor patented the first prototype refrigerator in England in 1834. The first American patent for a refrigerator was awarded to John Gorrie (1803-1855) in 1851.1859- Ferdinand Carre, a Frenchman invented the absorption system in a refrigerator. This was a major milestone in preservation of meat and other foods in America.Several agricultural zones emerged in America due to differences in soil fertility and climate:

  1. North-Eastern parts- Ranching and dairying
  2. The south- cotton zone.
  3. Central region-maize.
  4. North-west wheat

There was large scale mechanized agriculture especially after the abolition of slave trade. Most cash crops were grown to provide raw materials to European industries. Tobacco was grown in Virginia and Maryland. Rice and indigo were grown in Georgia and South Carolina. Cattle’s rearing was done in Texas.Transport development also enhanced agricultural development. For example, water transport using the great lakes, railway and road transport.Alexander graham bell invented the telegraph to enhance communication.

USA also invested in the field of science and research which boosted agriculture with better hybrid seeds and different strains of livestock.


  1. The enclosure system in Britain led to the Settlement of enterprising European emigrants who wished to make a living through agriculture/Determination of European immigrants to succeed as farmers as there was no other source of livelihood. European immigration into the region also led to population increase and demand for more food. The immigrants also introduced new crops and new methods of farming leading to agricultural development
  2. Scientific research made it possible to improve strains of crops to resist diseases, to develop superior animal breeds and to develop new food crops e.g. Soya beans into artificial meat, etc.
  3. Mechanization; there was extensive use of machines to improve production e.g. steel plough, use of reapers, cotton gin etc.
  4. The presence of cheap means of transport e.g. Erie Canal, roads, railway, etc speeded up the transportation of goods and raw materials.
  5. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 led to increased cotton acreage.
  6. Environmental influence on the farmers through experience leading to agricultural zoning e.g. maize in the centre, wheat in the south and beef rearing in the west/Presence of suitable soils for different types of crops such as tobacco, cotton and wheat.
  7. Government recognition of individual land ownership (the Homestead Act 1760)

encouraged settlers to farm.


Fuelled by peasants who emigrated after they were driven out of Europe by the land enclosure movement, USA became the world’s leading producer of agricultural products.

The effects of the revolution were as follows:

  1. a) It led to diversification of agriculture through the introduction of new farm animals and crops.
  2. b) The new inventions in farm machinery enabled American farmers to bring more land under cultivation. For example the steel plough invented by John Deere and reaping machine by Cyrus McCormick.
  3. c) Food production especially of wheat and maize, increased due to the use of new farming methods like use of fertilizers and hybrid seeds.
  4. d) The agrarian revolution led to expansion of agricultural related industries.
  5. e) Mechanization of agriculture replaced slaves and other labourers at the farms. Many people went to search for employment in urban areas.
  6. f) The expansion of food production led to increase in trade between USA and Western Europe thus boosting USA economy.
  7. g) The transport system was improved to enable transportation of farm inputs to farms and agricultural produce to market.
  8. h) The revolution contributed to the enhancement of research and scientific inventions especially on the field of agriculture.


“Third world” refers to the less developed countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

Many of these third world countries have food shortages and even continue to have weak economies upto date.

Causes to food shortage in Africa

  1. Rapid population growth which has put a lot of pressure on the available food resources leading to shortages
  2. Poor land use and agricultural practices. Many farmers still depend on traditional farming methods, for example, not applying fertilizers, pesticides or mechanization, thus producing low yields.
  3. Some developing countries experience adverse weather conditions such as floods and long periods of drought. Since these countries practice rain-fed agriculture, food production has been affected
  4. Overemphasis on cash crops at the expense of food crops has contributed to low food production. In Kenya for example, large farms concentrate on growth of flowers, tea and coffee with food crop farming being largely for subsistence.
  5. Rural-urban migration , especially among the young people has deprived the rural areas of the badly needed labour force for food production
  6. Lack of adequate capital for agricultural development. Low income/poverty. The farmers lack enough funds to purchase farm inputs.
  7. Political instability in some African countries undermines food production. For example in Ethiopia, Sudan, DRC, Burundi and Rwanda. This has prevented people from concentrating on food production.
  8. Decline in growing drought resistant crops. Crops like cassava and millet have been abandoned due to attitude thus causing artificial shortage of specific food.
  9. Poor and inadequate storage facilities have led to food wastage. In Kenya by 2001, the country was losing up to nine million bags of grain per year as a result of poor storage methods.
  10. Poor transport network leads to uneven distribution of food. It also discourages farmers from producing more.
  11. Over reliance on food aid and forms of aid has created a dependence attitude in many African countries. Some communities have become complacent about looking for a permanent solution to their food problems.
  12. Poor economic planning on the part of the government with many countries putting a lot of emphasis on other development projects at the expense of agricultural and food production.
  13. Poor land tenure systems resulting in low productivity. For example where a few European farmers own large tracts of land but only exploiting a small portion of the expansive farms.
  14. The HIV/AIDS pandemic contributed to food shortages since the scourge leads to death of many of the work force in their prime years.

Effects of food shortages

  1. Loss of life. Many people have lost their lives. For example the Ethiopian famine in 1984 led to the deaths of thousands of people.
  2. Increased suffering among millions of people in Africa due to deficiency diseases like kwashiorkor and marasmus.
  3. Food shortage has created social problems in societies. For example cattle raids by the karamojong and Maasai during the periods of famine. Even other anti-social problems like stealing food in rural areas can be attributed to inadequate food supply.
  4. Sometimes famine and drought has forced people to flee their home countries thus causing refugee problems in the receiving countries.
  5. Lack of food hampers efforts towards economic development. It Affects education since famine stricken children cannot concentrate on learning. There is Use of scarce foreign exchange to import food.
  6. It has created dependence on food aid from rich countries. Even some of the genetically created foods are tested in third world countries. Such foods have unknown side-effects.
  7. It has adversely affected agricultural-based industries.e.g sugar industries.-inevitably thisleads to unemployment.
  8. It has led to Political instability as people lose confidence in the governments that cannot feed them.

Solutions to food shortage in Africa

  1. Land reclamation thus increasing land under agriculture. This may increase food production.
  2. Re-formulation of agricultural policies so that there is a shift from a concentration on cash crops to paying more attention on food crops.
  3. Provision of extension services to farmers e.g. information on storage, preservation of farm produce and other forms of advice.
  4. Revision of the land tenure system- redistribution of land / land reforms as case is in china.
  5. Development of agro-based industries which will become market to agricultural raw materials like coffee, tea, etc.
  6. Creation of political stability to enable mobilization of people to self-sufficiency in food production.
  7. Relentless campaign against killer disease such as AIDS.
  8. Infrastructural development/ in transport, communication, storage and marketing.
  9. Environmental conservation measures which may help curb drought spread and ensure sufficient rains./ protection of catchments areas
  10. Family planning so that people only have children they can be able to feed, cloth and shelter.
  11. Demand for food to feed the growing population.


  1. a) Extensive research has been carried out in research institutions such as the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) producing hybrid maize such as Katumani that grows in drier areas. ICIPE and ILRI researches in pests and disease that affect both livestock and crops in the country.
  2. b) Introduction of genetically engineered crops and animal s into the agricultural sector. These crops, developed mainly at JKUAT and KARI are resistant to diseases and pests.
  3. c) Agricultural training institutions have been established to train experts such as agricultural officers, veterinary doctors and horticultural experts. Agriculture is also taught in schools- to equip learners with new and better techniques of farming that could boost production.
  4. d) People are being educated about the need for family planning so that families have only number of children whom they can feed and provide for.
  5. e) The government has formulated a food security policy to enhance production of food in the country. For example a minimum amount of cereals in the government silos has been set up with urgent measures to top up outlined.



There is immense evidence to confirm that east Africa was the cradle of humankind.

Archaeological evidence (for example, the tools found at kobi for a, Olorgesaillie, kariandusi, Mtongwe, around Lake Victoria, lukenya hills, near lake Naivasha) show that Kenya was inhabited by Stone Age people. There is also evidence of use of iron in Kenya dating back as AD270 e.g. at Urewe near Ngiya in Siaya and in Kwale.


According to oral traditions, the earliest people to occupy Kenya were of the Khoisan stock. They had similar features like the Khoi khoi and the san of South Africa, the Sandawe and Hadza of Tanzania. They all spoke a language with a clicking sound.

Cultural aspects of the Khoisan

  1. a) They Spoke a language with a clicking sound like the khoi-khoi of south Africa
  2. b) They were nomadic people
  3. c) They gathered the wild fruit in the wild and dug up tubers and roots for their foods
  4. d) They used stone tools in addition to bows and arrows.
  5. e) They fished in rivers and lakes using harpoons
  6. f) They made use of rock shelters and caves.
  7. g) They buried the dead.
  8. h) Made and used pottery.

NB- such evidence of the culture of the Khoisan has been found in Gambles and Njoro river caves near Nakuru.These pioneering inhabitants of Kenya disappeared maybe after being subdued and overcome by the powerful incoming Bantus and nilotes.However, there exist some remnants of these hunter-gatherer communities in the western highlands of rift valley. They speak the language of the group near them like kalenjin (okiek), Maasai (Dorobo), Onguye and Okuro in western Kenya.


They existed in two groups:

  1. a) The southern Cushites
  2. b) The eastern Cushites.

The southern Cushites

They might have entered present day Kenya through northern Kenya and seem to have originated from the Ethiopian highlands. Since they were pastoralists, they must have been looking for better pasture for their livestock.Around 2500 and 3000 years ago, they were already occupying the grasslands of the Kenya highlands cultivating food crops like sorghum , millet and rearing long horned humpless cattle. They even extended upto Tanzania. They included the Iraqi, Boni and Burungi of Tanzania, The Dahallo or Sanye of the lower Tana (the remaining southern Cushites in Kenya). Some were later absorbed by the incoming groups.


The Eastern Cushites

They include the Borana, Somali, Oromo, Gabra, Rendille and Burji.

They originated either from Ethiopia or Somalia moving and settling into Kenya around 2000 and 1000 years ago due to the following reasons;

  1. a) Escaping from clan or family feuds.
  2. b) There was population pressure in their area of origin.
  3. c) They were in search of better grazing lands.
  4. d) They were fleeing the outbreak of disease that affected both people and animals.
  5. e) They were escaping famine and drought.
  6. f) They fled constant attacks from their neighbours such as the Somali.
  7. g) The migrated to satisfy their spirit of adventure.


They came in the 16thcentury from Ethiopia. Initially they settled on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana. They later moved south pushing the Mijikenda and the Pokomo out of the Shungwaya to occupy Malindi and Kilifi. Today they occupy the southern part of Tana River and are neighbours to the Pokomo.

Effects of migration and settlement of the Oromo in Kenya

  1. a) They inter-married with the people they came into contact with e.g. Somali, Pokomo and Borana.
  2. b) Their settlement in Kenya led to expansion of trade.
  3. c) Their settlement led to increased conflict between communities over resources e.g. pasture and water.
  4. d) Displacement and redistribution of people in the area where they settled e.g. the Oromo pushed the Bantu from the Shungwaya region.
  5. e) Assimilation of some communities they came into contact with e.g. the Oromo vs. Somali.
  6. f) Cultural exchange e.g. neighbouring communities adopted Islam.
  7. g) Settlement in high agricultural potential areas e.g. river valleys encouraged some of them to practice crop farming.
  8. h) Expansion of agriculture due to demand of agricultural produce.


They are also Oromo speaking people whose origin is southern Ethiopia. Their migration into Kenya was due to escaping the Menelik Wars of Conquest in 1897 and who had imposed heavy taxes on them. They represent some of the most recent migrations into Kenya end as late as 1900 when more Borana groups fled into Kenya from Somali running away from the war between the Somali Nationalists and the British.

Today the Borana occupy the area north of the Tana River.


They originated from Mogadishu where they were living by 10th century A.D. They begun moving southwards into Kenya around that time maybe due to the Oromo threat or they were looking for pasture for their livestock.The Somali represent the largest single group of eastern Cushites in Kenya.

Results of Cushitic migration into Kenya

  1. a) There was massive warfare during the migrations leading to killing of many people in the process. For example, there was constant warfare between the Somali and the Oromo.
  2. i) They displaced some of the communities which they came into contact with e.g. the Oromo pushed the Mijikenda from the Shungwaya region in AD 1500 AND 1600.
  3. b) They intermarried with those people they interacted with e.g. the some of the Pokomo intermarried with the Borana.
  4. c) Their settlement led to expansion / development of trade between them and their

neighbours e.g. they traded with the Samburu and the Maasai.

  1. d) There was cultural exchange between them and the Bantu and Nilotic neighbours. E.g. the

Taboo against eating Fish among the Bantu, the age set system and circumcision has origin from the Cushites.

  1. e) The migrations led to population pressure in the region.
  2. f) Adoption of some agricultural practices from the Bantu.
  3. g) There was redistribution of population in Kenya. The Mijikenda for example were scattered at Shungwaya.



The term Bantu refers to group of people who speak the same or similar language with common word “NTU” which means a person. The Bantu-speaking groups include the Luhyia, Kisii, Kuria, Kikuyu, Akamba, Meru, Aembu, Taita, Agiryama, Digo in Kenya and Pokomo, as well as many other smaller groupsTheir original homeland was somewhere between eastern Nigeria and the Cameroon (Congo Basin).

They then moved southwards towards present day Democratic Republic of Congo (around 500 BC the Bantu were living in the Congo forest). This became a major dispersal point from where the Bantus moved in four major waves. Of these waves, the two waves that account for settle of the Bantu in Kenya are the ones moving south-eastwards through the area west of LakeVictoria (a 2nddispersal point for Bantus). From here they dispersed in two groups;

  1. some group passed through present-day Uganda , some settling there (Baganda,

Banyoro, Batoro), proceeding into kenya to form the western Bantu(Luhyia, Kisii, Kuria and abasuba)

  1. From the west Victoria dispersal point a group moved and entered east Africa at appoint south of Lake Victoria and then proceeded eastwards across northern Tanzania to a dispersal point between Taita hills and mt. Kilimanjaro. Some settled in Tanzania (Chagga, nyamwezi, sukuma, Kuria, haya, Yao, Segeju, Zaramo).the rest of the groupproceeded northwards to the coast upto Shungwaya (another dispersal point). These were the eastern Bantus.


The reasons for the migration of the Bantu are not known but they most likely included the following;

  1. a) Drought and famine: This broke out because the climate in their cradle land had become unreliable/unpredictable.
  2. b) Population increase which resulted into population pressure, e.g. they became

overpopulated in their cradle land.

  1. c) The constant attacks (external pressure) from stronger tribes in West Africa and the Nile valley; also due to the migration of the Arabs, who were believed to be more hostile, into West Africa.
  2. d) Internal conflicts from the Bantu tribes: These conflicts concerned the ownership of agriculture area, the shortage of grazing lands and watering areas.
  3. e) Epidemics and diseases/natural calamities, e.g. earthquakes, over flooding of rivers like river Niger, sickness, diseases such as Nagana caused by Tsetse flies, sleeping sickness e.t.c.
  4. f) Search for fertile land: Since they were predominantly farmers, the Bantu migrated in order to find more land which could be more fertile than the cradle land, which could no longer support them.
  5. g) Love for adventure: They moved due to their desire for adventure, i.e. they wanted to find out what was happening in other areas.
  6. h) Group influence: Some moved because they had seen their relatives and friends move.
  7. i) Need for water and pasture for their animals forced them to move.
  8. j) The Bantu migrated in order to export their iron-working culture. They had discovered the knowledge of iron working and had invented iron tools. These iron tools had transformed the agricultural sector by making the clearing of land for cultivation faster and more efficient.



The western Bantu

They include Luhyia, Kisii, Kuria and abasuba and settled in western part of kenya thus their name.


~  The Abaluhyia community is made up of eighteen sub-groups. The sub-groups which constitute the community have a common background, common customs and speak closely related dialects of the same language.

~  According to Abaluhyia tradition, communities used to hold criminal tribunals at the junctions of footpaths. The area at the junction of footpaths was known as Uluyia or a meeting point and it is claimed that the name Abaluhyia is derived from this. Another version states that in a polygamous home the courtyard outside the main father’s house is called Luhyia. All the children are referred as children of one Luhyia and hence the name Abaluhyia.

~  Most of the Luhyia sub-groups point to mt. elgon dispersal point as their origin. The settlement of the Abaluhyia into Kenya dates back to 300 AD. By 1750 AD, many groups had settled in present day Bukhayo, Marama, Tiriki, Bunyore, Wanga and Maragoli.

~  They absorbed some groups they found in the area. Also, their interaction with the Maasai led to establishment of clans like the Abashimuli among the Idakho. The Marachi, Kisa and Samia interacted with the Luo.


~  Abagusii traditions acknowledge a close relationship with the following people: the Abakuria, Abalogoli, Ababukusu, Abasuba, Agikuyu, Ameru, Aembu, Ambeere and the Akamba. Their tradition has it that on their way from the country which they call ‘Msiri’ they were accompanied by the Baganda and the Basoga besides the above groups.

~  The Abagusii and the Abalogoli migrated southwards following the River Nzoia valley and arrived near Lake Victoria between 1490 and 1520. Following an easterly course along the lake shore, they settled at the head of Goye Bay in Yimbo location of Nyanza with their homeland spreading across present day Ulowa, Sare and Unyejra at the foot of Ramogi hill. Luo migrants in 1550 AD found them settled in this general area and pushed them from alego to Kisumu where they lived upto 1600AD.

~  Their migration from Kisumu to Kano was motivated by drought in the area.. However, their eastward migration was checked by the Maasai and the Kipsigis

~  By the 18thcentury, they had settled in the Kisii highlands positively interacting with the neighboring Luo, Maasai and Kipsigis in terms of trade.

Why the Abagusii remained in the Kano plains for too long before settling in the Kisii highlands.

  1. a) They were obstructed by the Kipsigis who were migrating westwards.
  2. b) The Maasai were also quite wild/hostile.
  3. c) The plains favored their activity of livestock grazing.
  4. d) Lack of a strong warrior group to fight their expansionist wars against the warring neighbors.


~  The origin of the name ‘Kuria’ is a thorny point in the Abakuria history. The major Abakuria sub-tribes such as Abanyabasi, Abatimbaru, Abanyamongo, Abakira, Abairegi and Abagumbe have traditions to the effect that their ancestor was Mokuria (or Mukuria) that lived in “Msiri”. His descendants migrated from “Msiri” and after many years of wandering on the other side of Lake Victoria; they eventually reached and settled in the present Bukuria By 1800AD,) in south Nyanza.)

~  According to this tradition, the Abakuria have been divided from time immemorial into two families: the Abasai of the elder wife of Mokuria and the Abachuma of the younger wife.

~  The Abakuria are related to Abalogoli of Abaluhyia and Abagusii and trace same origin at mt. elgon dispersal point.

~  The Abakuria people appear to have sprung from too many directions to have a common historical origin, although a number of clans claim to have come from Msiri.

~  Among the Abakuria today are found people who were originally from Kalenjin, Maasai, Bantu and Luo speaking communities. The Abakuria adopted the practice of age set organization and circumcision from the southern Cushites


~  The name “Suba” means “the people who are always wandering”.

~  The Suba migrated into their current locations beginning in the mid-1700s. They came from the region just west of Lake Victoria and settled on the islands.

~  The Suba migrated from Uganda and settled on the two Lake Victoria islands of Rusinga and Mfangano, and are believed to be the last tribe to have settled in Kenya. Other subgroups migrated and settled on the shores of Lake Victoria in the early 18th century.

~  The Suba are descendants of one wave of the Bantu migration from Central Africa over the last 1500 to 1800 years. In the 16th century, it appears, small family groups related to the Ganda people on the western side of the lake migrated across Lake Victoria on boats to settle on Rusinga Island and other islands near what is now Kenya and Tanzania.

~  The Suba are descendants of one wave of the Bantu migration from Central Africa over the last 1500 to 1800 years. In the 16th century, it appears, small family groups related to the Ganda people on the western side of the lake migrated across Lake Victoria on boats to settle on Rusinga Island and other islands near what is now Kenya and Tanzania.

~  Linguistically, the Suba are highly influenced by the neighbouring Luo, to the point of a language shift having taken place among large portions of the mainland Suba.

~  The remaining speakers of the Suba language are mostly elderly residents on the island of Mfangano.

The eastern Bantu

They are divided into Highland or Mt. Kenya Bantu and Coastal Bantu.

Coastal Bantu

They include the Taita, Pokomo and Mijikenda.From the west Victoria dispersal point their first movement was upto Taita hills, where the Taita remained. The Mijikenda and Pokomo proceeded northwards to the coast upto Shungwaya (another dispersal point). The main reason for the Shungwaya dispersal was the Oromo attack In AD 1600.


They moved from Shungwaya following river Tana interacting with the Cushites like the Oromoand Somali.


The name means Nine Clans comprising of the Kauma, Giriama, Duruma, Chonyi, Jibana, Kambe, Ribe, Rabai and Digo.From the Shungwaya dispersal point,(forced out by the Oromo/Somali southwards expansionist attacks), they settled in fortified villages mainly due to security concerns. Each of the nine groups settled in their own separate ridge referred to as Kaya fortified with thorny trees.By the 19th, the Mijikenda were established as middlemen during the long distance trade between the Akamba and the coastal Waswahili.

The highland Bantu

Examples of highland Bantus include Agikuyu, Ameru, Aembu, Ambeere and the Akamba

They are also products of the Shungwaya dispersion.


~  The largest single group of the eastern group.

~  While the Kikuyu can be found throughout Kenya, the heaviest concentration being in Central Province, known as the traditional Kikuyu homeland.

The Kikuyu traditionally believe that a man, Gikuyu, was the founder of the tribe. He had a wife named Mumbi, who gave birth to nine (plus one) daughters. The daughters married and had their own families, retaining a domineering role in Kikuyu society.

~  It was in Mukurwe wa Gathanga division of Nyeri district where an identifiable beginning for the modern Kikuyu people is defined.

~  Ancestors of the Kikuyu arrived in Kenya during the Bantu migrations of 1200-1600 AD. The Agikuyu seem to have moved southwest from the coast at around 1400AD also running away from hostile Oromo. They followed Tana River with some groups falling off and settling in different places. For example the Tharaka settled in the east and the Ambeere settled in the southwest. The main group proceeded upto the confluence of rivers Tana and Thika (Mukurwe wa Gathanga. They spread and settled in Kiambu and Nyandarua from Murang’a.

~  The key event in their migration and settlement was military conflict with and defeat of the Gumbapeople by the Mathira and Tetu people, allied with the Athi and the Maasai in the early 1800’s.

~  They displaced or absorbed the original inhabitants-the Dorobo (Athi) and Gumba who were a hunter- gatherer community.

~  Settlement of the Nyeri plains took place after the British moved the Maasai from the area. The Kikuyu were in Kabete by around 1850, Ruiru about 1900.

~  They heavily interacted with the Maasai and Cushites in the area.

Describe the relationship between Athi and the Agikuyu

  1. a) The Athi were the original inhabitants of the land where the Agikuyu live presently.
  2. b) The Agikuyu claim they bought the land from the Athi.
  3. c) The Agikuyu also acquired some cultural practices from the Athi e.g. circumcision, clitoridectomy and age set system.
  4. d) The Athi acted as middlemen in the trade between the Agikuyu, Maasai and the coastal people.


~  They point to the area around mt Kilimanjaro as their original homeland.

~  From here they moved to Taita Hills before reaching Tsavo West. They followed the Banks of Athi River in the 15thcentury one group crossing Athi into Ulu. Another group moved south to the Galana River and settled in the region around chyulu hills north of mt. Kilimanjaro

~  By around mid 16thcentury a group of the Akamba had settled in the Mbooni hills near Machakos.

~  Due to environmental influence, the Akamba near Mbooni began to practice agriculture before migrating to iveti, kilungu and masaku. Those that moved to drier Chyulu hills became hunters. The Kitui group adopted pastoralism and hunting and participated in long distance trade.

The Ameru

~  Their original homeland is claimed to Mbwa, located somewhere at the coast on manda island. The Shungwaya dispersal might have led to the pushing of the Ameru to tigania and igembe regions at around 1400AD. They crossed the Tana River with the Tharaka sections of Agikuyu and settled to the east of tana. The Chuka section settled in the west of river tana. The mwimbi, imenti, tigania and igembe also settled west of the Tana River.

~  According to tradition, the Meru and Agikuyu were initially migrating as one group and separated at around 15thc and 16thc.

Effects of the Bantu Migration

The results of the Bantu migration were both positive and negative.

Positive results

  1. Introduction of iron working the use of iron tools in the interior of East Africa where peoplewere at first using stone tools. There was an increase in food production.
  2. Introduction of new crops e.g. yams, bananas: the Bantu introduced and increased the knowledge of food and extensive crop cultivation. Earlier on, the inhabitants of East Africa were food gatherers, but with iron smelting and its results, food production seriously started.
  3. The absorbed other tribes e.g. the gathers: This led to widespread Bantu languages of “NTU”prefix in East Africa.
  4. They introduced centralized administration: They introduced a centralized system of government whereby the king acted as the overall ruler, under who were the other chiefs, down to the lay person. This was done in western Kenya by the Wanga.
  5. Introduced a system of building permanent homes: They opened new land to settlement in families, clans and villages.
  6. The knowledge of iron smelting which the Bantu introduced led to the making of hoes and pangas for tilling and clearing land, the bows, arrows and spears for defense and protection.
  7. They introduced subsistence agriculture, whereby they grew enough food for home consumption, and the rest could be kept in case of shortages, or be exchanged in barter trade.

Negative effects

  1. The Bantu migration led to depopulation: This was caused by the frequent attacks made on the Bantu by Somali and Oromo, or by the Bantu against the people East Africa for land, through wars.
  2. There was loss of culture due to cultural absorption: This was brought about due to Bantu intermarrying with the non- Bantu peoples, whom they came across.
  3. There was transformation of languages into new ones: This led to the dying down of some of the Bantu languages, while others remained.



The Nilotic speakers

Nilotes is a term originating from the word Nile. The origin of these groups is associated with the Nile River. These are the second largest group after the Bantu.

They are divided into three groups;

  1. a) River-lake nilotes- the Luo.
  2. b) Plains nilotes- the Maasai, Tunkana and Samburu.
  3. c) Highlands nilotes- kalenjin groups of the Marakwet, Tugen, Nandi, Kipsigis, Elgeyo , Pokot and Sabaot

River-lake nilotes

They are sometimes referred to as the southern Luos to differentiate them from other riverlake nilotes in Uganda and Sudan like the Dinka, Shilluk, Bor , Anwak, Alur, Acholi, Jopaluo, Padhola, Nuer and Luo of Uganda.

They are believed to have originated from Bahr-el-Ghazal region of southern Sudan. They then migrated to Pubungu Pakwach in Uganda where they settled by 1450 AD. They later moved into Kenya. Their arrival caused the displacement of many Bantu-speaking peoples, notably the Gusii, Kuria and Luhya, who were forced into the highlands east and north of the lake.

Why did they leave Bahr-el-Ghazal region?

  1. a) They might have been Escaping from clan or family feuds.
  2. b) There was population pressure in their area of origin.
  3. c) They were nomadic pastoralists in search of better grazing lands and water for their livestock
  4. d) They were fleeing the outbreak of disease that affected both people and animals.
  5. e) They were escaping famine and drought.
  6. f) They fled constant attacks from their neighbours.
  7. g) They were also looking for better fishing grounds.
  8. h) The migrated to satisfy their spirit of adventure.

Their migration into Kenya began in the 15thc. they moved in four distinct groups;

  1. a) Joka-jok- people of jok. Was the first group to enter into kenya from Uganda. They first settled at Ramogi hills in Kadimo Siaya district displacing the earlier Gusii settlers. Two of Jok’s sons fled to south Nyanza to form the Karachuonyo and Wanjare clans. Thisgroup spread to Sakwa, Alego, Asembo and other parts of Nyanza.
  2. b) Joka-Owiny. Owiny moved from Uganda to settle in Sogoma in Alego with his group in the 17thc. he was both a great fighter and leader (Ruoth). He came to be known as

Owiny Sigoma and his people Joka Ruoth. This group settled in Kisumu, Nyakach and South Nyanza.

  1. c) Joka-Omolo. They came from northern Banyoro and settled temporarily in Ibanda and Bukoli before moving to Ugenya and Gem. They displaced the Abagusii and Abalogoli out of Yimbo. They spread to Alego and then across winam gulf into south nyanza.
  2. d) The abasuba. They are Bantu in origin but are associated with the Luo. They are a mixture of Bantu refugees from Uganda who intermarried with the Luo. They settled in the Lake Victoria islands of Mfangano and Rusinga and also in gwasi area. They adopted Luo culture.

Effects of Luo Migration

  1. a) The settlement of the Luo in Kenya led to increase in population in the area.
  2. b) Their arrival intensified conflicts between them and other communities in the area over limited resources. For example they displaced the western Bantu like the Abaluhyia,

Abakuria and Abagusii

  1. c) There were intermarriages between the Luo and the Luyia and Maasai groups in the area.
  2. d) The Luo assimilated some Luhyia communities living in the area.
  3. e) Their settlement enhanced trade with different communities; they exchanged livestock products for grains with the Luyia.
  4. f) The Luo adopted agriculture as a result of interacting with the Bantus who were farmers.

Plain Nilotes

They include the Maasai and Samburu (Maa speakers), Iteso, Turkana and Njemps.

The Plain Nilotes entered Kenya at around AD 1000 from an area north of Lake Turkana.

Why they moved into Kenya:

  1. a) Drought and famine that broke out in their cradleland.
  2. b) Population increase which resulted into population pressure in their cradle land.
  3. c) The external pressure from stronger neighbours.
  4. d) Internal conflicts from among other Nilotic groups concerning the ownership of grazing lands and watering areas.
  5. e) Epidemics and diseases like sleeping sickness affecting both humans and animals.
  6. f) They moved due to their desire for adventure, i.e. they wanted to find out what was happening in other areas.
  7. g) Need for water and pasture for their animals forced them to move.

Their first point of settlement was near Mount Moroto in eastern Uganda by AD 1000. From here, several groups like the Jie, Iteso, Turkana and karamojong emerged, with the Iteso settling in Uganda in 17thc before expanding into western Kenya by 19thc. The Turkana extended northwards to their present area.

The effects of the migration and settlement of the iteso

  1. a) The settlement of the iteso in their present region led to increase in population in the area.
  2. b) It intensified conflicts between them and other commu nities in the area over limited resources.
  3. c) There were intermarriages between the iteso and the Luyia groups in the area.
  4. d) Cultural interaction giving rise to enriched cultures.
  5. e) Some people were displaced from the area with the arrival of the iteso. E.g. the Maasai and some kalenjin communities.
  6. f) The iteso assimilated some communities living in the area.
  7. g) Their settlement enhanced trade with different communities; they exchanged livestock products for grains with the Luyia.
  8. h) The iteso adopted agriculture as a result of interacting with the Bantus who were farmers

The Maasai

~  Their movement from north of lake Turkana is closely associated with the original Kalenjin speakers. By AD 1500, the Maasai begun to move separately southwards between Mt,. Kenya and Mt. Elgon. By 19thc , they had settled in Uasin Gishu and even spread into Tanzania along the Rift Valley.

~  As they moved, they assimilated the Sirikwa peoples. They also waged war against the neighbouring Kalenjin, Akamba and Abagusii.

~  In the 1850s the Maasai experienced many natural disasters like drought, famine and cattle diseases leading to decline of their power. They also experienced civil wars between the Kwavi (iloikop) and the Purko (Ilmaasai) sections. When Oloibon Mbatian died, his two sons Sendeyo and Lenana became involved in a protracted succession dispute. They were also weakened by wars with the Agikuyu. Their power came to an end with the coming of British rule.

Effects of the migration and settlement of the plain nilotes into Kenya

  1. a) The migration and settlement of the Maasai in their present region led to increase in population in the area.
  2. b) As they migrated, into Kenya, the Maasai pushed and displaced the communities they came across. For example, they subdued the Nandi in the 18thc.
  3. c) The Maasai influenced the fighting tactics of other groups in Kenya.
  4. d) The Maasai absorbed the southern Cushites such as the Dorobo.
  5. e) There were intermarriages between the Maasai and the Akamba, Agikuyu and even the kalenjin groups in the area.
  6. f) There was Cultural interaction giving rise to enriched cultures. They adopted some cultural practices from the southern Cushites for example, the age-set systems circumcision and clitoridectomy. They also adopted some Kalenjin vocabulary.
  7. g) Their settlement enhanced trade with different communities; they exchanged livestock products for grains with the Luyia.
  8. h) A section of the Maasai adopted agriculture as a result of interacting with their agricultural neighbours in the Rift Valley. The Kwavi Maasai became mixed farmers.
  9. i) They influenced Communities like the Nandi who adopted the institution of Prophet or diviner from the institution of Laibon among the Maasai.

The Highland Nilotes

They comprise the kalenjin speakers namely the Tugen, Nandi, Kipsigis, Marakwet, Keiyo, Pokot and Sabaot. They are believed to be the earliest Nilotic speakers in Kenya. This evidenced from the narratives of their neighbours like the Luo.

Their traditions point their original homeland to be a place to the north-western part of Kenya, between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Why they migrated:

  1. a) They might have been Escaping from internal enemies causing clan or family feuds.
  2. b) There was population pressure in their area of origin forcing them to look for new land for settlement.
  3. c) They were fleeing the outbreak of diseases and epidemics that affected both people and animals.
  4. d) They were escaping famine and drought.
  5. e) They fled constant attacks from their neighbours.
  6. f) They were also looking for better lands for cultivation.
  7. g) The migrated to satisfy their spirit of adventure.

Key notes for the teacher and students- @Helot 2012-2013  49

They began migrating from their cradleland in around 600AD. By 700AD, some kalenjin groups like the Sirikwa were already occupying the rift valley.

Some were later pushed out of the Mt. elgon region by the incoming Bantu and plain nilotes. Those that remained include the Bok, Bongomek and Kony. The Terik later migrated to western Kenya and greatly borrowed from the Bantu, adopting a new name, Tiriki.

The Nandi.

They were pushed out of the Mt. Elgon region between 1700 and 1800 by the incoming Maasai.

The decline of the Maasai in the 19thc made them rise to become a formidable group that conducted raids against their neighbours like the Abaluhyia and Luo.

Their power only declined due to colonization.

The Kipsigis

They are believed to have separated together with the Nandi from other kalenjin groups at around Mt. Elgon region around AD1600. They moved south east to Teo, near Lake Baringo. Due to the Maasai attacks, they moved westwards to Tambach where they stayed for a long period. They later moved southwards to Rongai near Nakuru.

They only separated from the Nandi due to drought and the Maasai Raids on the Nandi.

The Kipsigis moved further south to Kericho while the Nandi moved to Aldai during the 2nd half of 18thc.  The Kipsigis settled at Kipsigis Hills forming a strong community that assimilated thelegendary Sirikwa and some Maasai and Abagusii groups. They were for a long time allies of the Nandi.

What factors contributed to the Nandi and Kipsigis split during the mid 18th century.

  1. a) Maasai attacks on the two communities forcing each group to find its own means of Defence.
  2. b) Drought which caused scattering in search of food and pasture.
  3. c) Constant conflicts over the limited resources in the region leading to warfare and final split.

Results of the Highland nilotes migration

  1. a) It increased intercommunity conflicts in the region.
  2. b) Some of the Kalenjin groups assimilated Bantu cultures while their culture was also assimilated by other groups. The Terik for example borrowed many Bantu vocabularies and customs.
  3. c) They intermarried with other groups in the region, such as the Abagusii and the Luo.
  4. d) Their migration increased trading activities in the region.
  5. e) They displaced the people they came across e.g. the Abagusii and the Kwavi Maasai

Explain the results of the interactions between the various Kenyan communities during the pre-colonial period.

  1. a) Through the inter-tribal wars, there was loss of lives and destruction of property hence economic decline.
  2. b) Many communities were displaced as new ones arrived. E.g when the Luos arrived, Abagusii and sections of the Abaluhyia were displaced. Etc.
  3. c) The constant raids as a means of interaction led to some communities seeking for refugee in secure places. E.g the Abagusii too refugee in the present Kisii highland due to the Kipsigis, Nandi and Maasai raids in 1800AD.
  4. d) A sense of unity developed among some communities e.g. among the Luo, as a means of Defence against attacks by the Maasai, Nandi and Abaluhyia.
  5. e) Tension between various communities was reduced as they interacted through intermarriages e.g. between the Agikuyu and the Maasai.
  6. f) Some new customs found their way into various communities. E.g the Bantu and the nilotes learned of circumcision and age set system from the southern Cushites.
  7. g) New technology infused into various communities. E.g. the Bantu and the nilotes learned the art of cattle milking and bleeding, irrigation and manuring from the southern Cushites.
  8. h) Specialization emerged mainly due to inter-community trade in the region.
  9. i) There was also increased wealth in some communities. For example through the trade

between the Agikuyu and the Akamba, some Agikuyu gained wealth.

  1. j) New economic activities sprung up in some communities. E.g. the Maasai adopted crop cultivation from the Agikuyu.
  2. k) The Bantu language was enriched through the borrowing of some vocabulary from the southern Cushites.
  3. l) The Abakuria were able to develop into a distinct ethnic group as a result of constant raids from the Maasai and the Luo.



Social organization

~  Almost all the Bantu communities were organized in clans made up of people with common descent.

~  All the Bantu communities practiced circumcision. In some communities like the Akamba, Abaluhyia, only boys circumcised. Among the Abagusii and Agikuyu, both boys and girls were circumcised. The initiates were taught the values and customs of their community

~  Circumcision marked an entry into an age set whose functions included defending the community from external attacks, building huts and advising junior age-sets on how to raid.

~  All the Bantu communities believed in the existence of a supernatural power that controlled their destiny. The Abaluhyia, for example called their God Were or Nyasaye, the AgikuyuNgai etc.

~  The Bantu communities had diviners and medicineman. Among the Agikuyu community, a medicine person was called mundu mugo.

~  The Bantu celebrated life both in song and dance. There were songs for initiations, childbirth, marriage, harvest and funeral. The mood and style of their song and dances varied depending on the occasion.

Political organization of the Bantu

~  All the Bantu communities in Kenya, except the Wanga sub-group of the Luhyia, had decentralized forms of government.

~  The clan formed the basic political unit for all the Bantu communities. Each clan was made up of related families. Leadership of the clan was in the hands of a council of elders who played a pivoted role in solving disputes, decided on inter-tribal marriages, maintaining law and order and making executive decisions affecting the community like declaring war.

~  Among the Agikuyu and Ameru, the council was known as Kiama, Kambi among Mijikenda, Njama among Ataveta and Abagata ba gesaku among the Gusii.

~  The Bantu had an age-set system that had some political significance. For example among the Agikuyu, the boys joined the age-set after initiation to provide warriors who defended the community from external attacks and raid other communities for cattle.

~  Among the centralized Wanga government, the king was known as Nabongo. His office was hereditary. He was assisted by a chief minister and other officials with a council of elders.

Economic organization of the Bantu

~  The Bantu kept Livestock like sheep, cattle and goats for milk, meat and skin. Dowry was paid inform of livestock. Some communities used livestock as a form of currency in barter trade.

~  They traded among themselves and also with their neighbours such as the Luo, kalenjin and Maasai. They sold grains in exchange for baskets and fish from the Luo.

~  They practiced iron-smelting, making implements such as knives, hoes arrow heads and spearheads. This sometimes also became trading items.

~  The Bantu practiced crop growing. They grew grains like millet, sorghum and cassava among other crops mainly for food while the excess were sold to neighbours.

~  They practiced craft making pots and weaving baskets.

~  For the Bantu communities who lived along rivers and Lake Victoria, e.g. the Luhyia, they practiced fishing.

~  Hunting and gathering was also done by some communities to supplement their food. E.g. the Akamba.

~  Raiding other communities for cattle.

The Agikuyu.

By 19thcentury, the Agikuyu had a complex social, economic and political organization some of which were products of their interrraction with other communities.

Social organization

~  The family was the smallest social unit among the Agikuyu. It was headed by a father.

Several families that shared a common ancestry comprised a clan.

~  The Agikuyu had rites of passage which included initiation of both boys and girls through circumcision/clitoridectomy.

~  The initiated boys joined the age-set (riikaor mariika) after being educated on the values and customs of the society. It was only after initiation that boys and girls were considered mature enough to get married.

~  The Agikuyu believed in the existence of one God who controlled their destiny. They called their God Ngai. He was all powerful and as believed to dwell o mt. kirinyaga where they claim he created them.

~  They also had diviners whose main work was to interpret God’s message to the people.

~  The Agikuyu had medicineman. A medicine person was called mundu mugo. Their main work was to cure diseases. They learned their skills through apparent-iceship.

~  The Agikuyu had designated sacred places for prayers, worship and offerings (an example was the mugumo tree for offering sacrifices).

~  Marriage was an important institution among the Agikuyu.

The political organization of the Agikuyu

~  The Agikuyu had a decentralized system of government. The basic political system was based on the family headed by a father.

~  Several families made up a clan (Mbari). Each clan was ruled by a council of elders. (kiama).

A senior elder (Muramati) coordinated the activities of the clan.

~  Several elders(aramati)formed a higher council of elders (kiama kia athamaki)

~  The functions of the higher council of elders included settling disputes, deliberating on day to day activities, administering justice and handled disputes, inheritance disputes and acted as a final court of appeal.

~  They had warriors drawn from the age-set system, who defended the community from external aggression.

Economic organization of the Agikuyu

The Agikuyu engaged in various economic activities;

~  The Agikuyu kept Livestock like sheep, cattle and goats for milk, meat and skin. Dowry was paid inform of livestock.

~  They traded among themselves and with their neighbours such as the Akamba and Maasai.

They sold grains and iron implements in exchange for livestock products like skins and beads (Maasai) and imported goods like clothes(Akamba).

~  They practiced iron-smelting, making implements such as knives, hoes which enhanced their farming activities and trade. They borrowed this art from the Gumba.

~  They practiced crop growing. They grew grains like millet, yams, sweet potatoes,

arrowroots, sorghum and cassava among other crops mainly for food while the excess were sold to neighbours.

~  They practiced craft making pots and weaving baskets.

~  Hunting and gathering was also done by Agikuyu to supplement their food.

The Ameru

The Ameru had a system of government which ensured high standards of morality and stability. This system evolved as they migrated and interacted with other communities.

Social organization of the Ameru

The Ameru was a system characterized by the existence of various councils from the council of children to the supreme council of Njuri Ncheke. This was meant to ensure the highest moral standards in the community.The Njuri Ncheke acted as parliament and had the following functions;

~  It presided over religious ceremonies.

~  It solved disputes in the community. It also mediated in disputes involving the Meru and their neighbors

~  It ensured the custody of the community’s history, traditions and values/heritage

~  It sanctioned wars

~  Acted as ritual leaders. They provided Guidance and counseling community members.

~  It set the moral code to be adhered to by all members of the community. If one went against the moral code, he/she would be punished. A member of the Njuri Ncheke who offended another was fined a bundle of miraa. A warrior who violated the code was fined a bull, an elder who violated the code was fined a bull or a goat, a woman who broke the code was fined a big pot of cowpeas.Marriage was regarded highly among the Ameru and a married woman would be assigned to an elderly woman (midwife) whom she must give gifts like millet, peas and black beans in exchange for midwifery. Any spouse who involved in adultery or any girl who was not a virgin at the time of marriage was stoned to death by a stoning council made up of male initiates. Marriage was exogamous (no one was allowed to marry from their clan)Before a male child was considered mature, he underwent several stages including circumcision. Before circumcision of both boys and girls, two ceremonies were performed after which they became full members of the community.

~  The time of making spots where the ear-hole perforation would be done.

~  The time of actual perforation of the ears.

The Ameru believed in the existence of a supreme being called Baaba Weetu who was a loving father and took care of all. He was omnipresent.

The Ameru also believed in the existence of spirits which either brought happiness or tears depending on how one lived on earth.

They believed in life after death with good people going where rains come from when they die.Libations were offered to ancestors to quench their thirst and relieve their hunger

Building houses in the Ameru community was the work of women while men defended the community.

Economic organization of the Ameru

~  The Ameru cultivated grain crops like millet, peas, black beans, cowpeas and miraa among other crops mainly for food while the excess were sold to neighbours.

~  The Ameru kept Livestock like sheep. Goats and cattle for dowry payment and rituals and also for milk, meat and skin.

~  They traded among themselves and with their neighbours. When the coastal traders penetrated the interior, they exchanged goods with them

~  They practiced iron-smelting, making implements such as knives, spears and hoes which enhanced their farming activities and trade.

~  They practiced craft making pots and weaving baskets.

~  Hunting and gathering was also done by Ameru to supplement their food.

Political organization of the Ameru

~  The basic political system was based on the family headed by a father.

~  The basic political unit was the clan. Several families made up a clan headed by a clan elder.

~  The Ameru had a system of councils and age groups which oversaw the administration of the community. Every Meru belonged to the relevant council. E.g. the children’s council, council of elders’ council of warriors. The supreme council was known as Njuri Ncheke.

~  The functions of the supreme council of elders included settling disputes, deliberating on day to day activities, administering justice and handled disputes, inheritance disputes and acted as a final court of appeal. It also officiated over religious ceremonies

~  The age set system provided the community with warriors who defended the community from external aggression.

~  Religions leaders like prophets influenced the political administration for the Ameru.

~  Their system of government alternated between two organizations namely, Kiruga and Ntiba every fourteen years and each had its own army regiment.

The Akamba

The Akamba are of the eastern Bantus who settled in Chyulu hills, Mbooni, Kitui and Machakos.

Social organization

~  Like other Bantus, the Akamba were organized into clans whose members claimed commondescent.

~  The Akamba practiced exogamous marriages. However their tradition allowed the adoption of an outsider into a clan

~  Wrongdoers among the Akamba were banished from the community if they refused to compensate for the wrong did.

~  There existed no institutional age sets among the Akamba though boys and girls were circumcised before reaching puberty. The initiates were then taught community secrets after two years from circumcision (at 14 years)

~  At puberty, both men and women were allowed to marry and bear children with the father of a young family automatically becoming a junior elder until his children were ready to be circumcised.

~  He then moved to the next grade only after paying a bullock and several goats.

~  The top two grades formed the administrative council of the community mainly dealing with the ritual ceremonies.

~  The Akamba believed in the existence of a creator called Ngai or Mulungu whom they prayed to through ancestral spirits.

~  The Akamba had ritual experts who included medicine people that guided them in their rituals.

~  Shrines also existed where offerings and sacrifices were made by the elders called Atumia ma ithembo. (Mostly found at a place with two large fig trees.)

~  The Akamba had many social ceremonies which were accompanied with festivity dance and music. For example, during harvest, weddings, deaths and birth.

Political organization

~  The smallest political unit among the Akamba was the homestead,  (Musyi) comprising three to four generations of extended family with a stockade round the home of each married man. Outside the entrance of the homestead, there was an open space (thome), where men would sit and discuss political and other important matters.

~  Several related families formed a wider territorial grouping or clan with its own recreational ground, elder’s council (made of all the male elders), war leader and palace for worship

~  The clan was the main political unit for the Akamba.

~  There was also a larger territorial grouping above the clan called Kivalo that constituted a fighting unit. There was however no single central authority that united the Akamba the Kivalo was always disbanded after war.

~  Age grades and age sets were common to all in the community and acted as a unifying factor.

~  The elders in the community were ranked according to seniority.

~  Junior elders defended their community. Medium elders (Nthele) assisted in the

administration of the community. The full elders (Atumia ma Kivalo) participated in delivering judgements. The senior most elders (Atumia ma Ithembo) were involved in religious activities.

~  By 19th century, due to participation and gaining from trade, a number of people had gained prestige and followers to be regarded as Akamba chiefs or leaders. For example, chief Kivoi.

Economic organization

~  Due to variation in the environment, the Akamba participated in varied economic activities.

~  Those who lived around the fertile Mbooni, ulu and Iveti hills practiced farming. They planted sorghum, millet, yams, potatoes, sugarcane and beans.

~  Those who lived in the drier areas like Kitui practiced livestock farming and mainly transhumance during the drier period.

~  The Akamba were also hunters hunting for elephants, leopards, antelopes and Rhinos. They were gatherers who Collected fruits, roots etc.

~  They practiced trading activities e.g. they sold Ivory, feathers, shells hides, arrows, spearheads, to neighbours and the Arabs, Swahili traders.

~  The Akamba were skilled Iron –workers produced spears, arrow heads, hoes, knives.

~  The Akamba Practiced woodcarving making tools and shields.

~  They engaged in pottery, making pots, mats etc.

~  They were bee-keepers for honey which they sold.

~  The Akamba acted as middlemen during the long distance trade.



The Abagusii

They originated in the Congo Forest like other Bantus and settled in the fertile highlands of Kisii, Gucha and Nyamira Districts of Nyanza Province.

Political Organization

The clan formed the basic political unit for Gusii communities. Each clan was made up of related families. Leadership of the clan was in the hands of a council of elders who played a pivoted role in solving disputes, decided on inter-tribal marriages, maintaining law and order and making executive decisions affecting the community like declaring war. The council was known Abagata ba gesaku.The Abagusii also had chiefdoms made up of several clans, which United to counter-attacks from their neighbours. Each chiefdom was headed by a chief (Omugambi), assisted by a councilof clan elders.

The elders acted as ‘middlemen’ through whom people could communicate their wishes and grievances to the chief. The position of the chief was hereditary.The Omogambi presided over religious ceremonies. He led clan members in communal sacrifices and social activities such as the planting and harvesting of crops. He also performed political functions.After circumcision, the boys joined the age-set which acted as a military wing responsible for the defence of the community.The Kisii still practice most of the political features discussed above.

Social organization

The Abagusii lived in family unit, headed by a family member, called the family head. Several related families formed a clan, headed by clan elders who formed a council. The role of the council of elders was to settle disputes between families.A number of clans formed sub-communities headed by clan elders. Circumcision of boys and girls formed part of the initiation rites for the Abagusii. The initiates were taught the values and customs of the society after which they were considered adults.The initiated boys were organized into age groups and age-grades. An age-grade was made up of people who were circumcised together. Members of the same age-grade treated one another as real brothers and helped each other in times of need.They believed in the existence of a supreme god, ‘engoro’ who was the creator of everything. They offered sacrifices to him during special occasions like initiation ceremonies and religions festivals and when there were problems like illness and draught. They worshipped him through their ancestral spirits.Diviners and seers among the Kisii were special people and were called Omoragori.

Economic organization

~  The Abagusii practiced crop farming. They grew many food crops including maize, sorghum, yams, peas, beans, millet, cassava, bananas and sweet potatoes.

~  They also kept livestock, cattle, goats and sheep were kept for meat and milk. They also kept poultry.

~  Trading was also a main economic activity among the Abagusii. They traded with their neighbours especially the Luo and the Abaluhyia. The Luo supplied them with livestock, cattle, salt, hides, fish, drums, and poison for arrows, spears and potatoes. In return, the Abagusii supplied the Luo with grain, hoes, axes, spears, arrowheads, razors, soapstone, soapstone dust, baboon skins, pipes, bowls and carvings of animals and birds.

~  The Abagusii were also involved in iron-working, which they kept secret to avoid competition from their neighbours. They made iron implements such as hoes, spears, axes and arrow heads. They also made ornaments.

~  They mined soapstone on the hilltops. They used is dust to decorate their faces during ceremonies. Some was sold to the Luos who used to decorate faces of their heroes. It was used for making pots, pipes, bowls and carvings.

~  They also depended on hunting and gathering to supplement the other economies. They hunted wild game for meat and skins. They also collected wild fruit roots and vegetables.

~  The Abagusii raided their neighbours for livestock. To date, they still raid the Maasai and Kipsigis for livestock.

The Mijikenda

The Mijikenda comprise of nine groups that had similar social, economic and political structures. They are believed to have arrived in their current settlement from Shungwaya.

Social organization of the Mijikenda

The Mijikenda were organized in clans comprising of related families.

~  The Mijikenda practiced circumcision. Only boys circumcised. Circumcision marked an entry into an age set whose functions included building huts and advising junior age -sets on how to raid.

~  They believed in the existence of a supernatural power that controlled their destiny. They called their God Mulungu.

~  The Mijikenda worshipped ancestral spirits. Prophets among the Mijikenda were called wafisi.

~  Marriage among the Mijikenda was exogamous (no one was allowed to marry from their clan). They practiced polygamy

~  There was division of labour among the Mijikenda. Children looked after livestock, young men built houses, cattle sheds, hunted and cleared bushes for cultivation..

~  The Mijikenda celebrated social ceremonies in song and dance. There were songs for initiations, childbirth, marriage, harvest and funeral..

Political organization

~  The Mijikenda had a strong clan system. Administration was based on a strong clan system. 4-6 clans lived in a fortified village known as kaya.

~  The existence of a council of elders(Kambi) at clan level to settle disputes and the general administration of the clan

~  An age set (riika) system formed by young men after circumcision and which provided the base from which warriors were obtained.

~  Social and political unity was strengthened through intermarriage between different clans.

~  Judicial matters were handled by the elders’ council which was final court of appeal.

~  The council of elders declared war on warring neighbors.

Economic organization

~  The Mijikenda kept Livestock like sheep, cattle and goats for milk, meat and skin. Hunting and gathering was also done to supplement their food

~  They traded in the coastal trade with the Arabs and with the Akamba from interior.

~   The Mijikenda practiced salt mining which the used as a trading item.

~  The Mijikenda engaged in fishing along the coast as well as on rivers.

~  They practiced crop growing. They grew grains like millet, yams, sweet potatoes,

arrowroots, sorghum, coconut and cassava among other crops mainly for food while the excess were sold to neighbours.

~  They practiced craft making pots and weaving baskets using coconut leaves.


The second largest group in Kenya.

Social organization

~  There were slight variations in the social organizations of the various Nilotic groups in Kenya. However they shared institutions such as the clan-based organization, belief in one God, veneration of ancestral spirits, age-set system, social ceremonies and existence of religious leaders.

~  The family was the basic social unit in many communities. Several related families grouped together to form clans among the Luo, Maasai and Nandi.

~  They believed in one supernatural being. The Maasai referred to him as Engai while the Luo called Him Nyasaye.

~  The communities believed in the existence of ancestral spirits, to whom sacrifices and libations were made to ensure they remained happy.

~  There was the existence of religious leaders whose work was to lead the communitiesduring religious functions and rituals. Some of the religious leaders had assumed political power by 19th c. For example the Orkoiyot among the Nandi and Oloibon among the Maasai.

~  The Maasai and other Nilotic groups had rain makers and diviners.

~  The age-set system was another common social institution. The age sets were formed by those who were initiated at the same time. The institution created a bond among the initiates that cut across the families and clans thus uniting the whole community.

~  There were social ceremonies that accompanied the rites of passage like circumcision, marriage and death.

~  The Luo as their form of initiation extracted six lower teeth. The other groups practiced circumcision. In all the groups, the initiates were taught the community values.

The economic organization

~  The nilotes were nomadic pastoralists who kept Livestock like sheep, cattle and goats for milk, meat and blood.

~  They traded among themselves and also with their neighbours. The kalenjin traded with the Maasai and with the Luo and neighbouring Bantu communities like the Abaluhyia. They sold animal products and red ochre in exchange for grains from the Bantu.

~  They practiced iron-smelting, making implements such as arrow heads and spearheads. This skilled was borrowed from the Bantu.

~  The Maasai also practiced mining e.g. mined iron, salt and red ochre which they used for decoration and as a commodity for trade.

~  There existed variation in the economic activities within a single community like the Maasai. Some sections of the Maasai e.g. the Kwavi practiced crop growing i.e. growing grains and vegetables. The Purko were purely pastoralists

~  They practiced craft e.g. made pots, weaved baskets and leather belts.

~  Raiding other communities for cattle was also a common economic practice.

~  The Luo who lived near Lake Victoria practiced fishing. The Turkana also engaged in fishing on Lake Turkana.

Political organization

~  The Nilotic communities had a decentralized system of administration with all the communities organized on clan basis.

~  There existed councils of elders that administered and ensured maintenance of law and order, settled disputes between clans and other communities.

~  The nilotes had a warlike tradition. Each community had Warriors who defended the community and raided other communities. The Luo reffered to the warriors as Thuondi. The Maasai called them Moran.

~  The age-set system determined political leadership since all those initiated together formed one age-set for life.

~  The institution of religion influenced most of the political affairs of the Nilotic speakers. For example, the Orkoiyot among the Nandi and the Oloibon among the Maasai were primarily religious leaders who wielded political authority in the19th  century.

The Nandi

By 1900 AD, the Nandi had already established their social, economic and political institutions.

Social organization

~  The family was the basic social unit. Several related families grouped together to form clans among Nandi. The family institution was very important in the community. It played an important role in the Kokwet (council of elders) and in the clan activities.

~  The age-set system was an important social institution among the Nandi. Nandi boys and girls were initiated at puberty through circumcision. Circumcision marked entry into adulthood. The initiates were taught the deepest community values during the period.

~  Age sets were formed by those who were initiated at the same time irrespective of the clans they belonged to. In total, there were eight age-sets among the Nandi namely Sawe, Maina, Chuma, Korongoro, Kipkoimet, Kaplelach, Kimnyinge and Nyongi.

~  The Nandi boys became junior warriors after circumcision. They only promoted to senior warriors after the Saket apeito ceremony (slaughter of bullock) that was done after every fifteen years.

~  Marriage within the same clan was prohibited among the Nandi. This was meant to create unity by encouraging intermarriages between different clans.

~  They believed in one supernatural being whom they referred to him as Asis, who was believed to be the protector of the community.

~  The Nandi believed in the existence of ancestral spirits, to whom sacrifices and libations were made to ensure they remained happy.

~  The community also had important religious leaders whose work was to lead the

community during religious functions and rituals, diviners and rain makers.The institution of Orkoiyot among the Nandi was borrowed from that of Oloibon among the Maasai.

Religious functions did the Orkoiyot of the Nandi.

~   He Mediated between God and the people/acting as a priest.

~  He presided over Offering of sacrifices to God on behalf of the people.

~  He advised and blessed the warriors before they went to war.

~  Blessing people before they undertook special activities like planting and


~  He foretold what was going to happen in the future. e.g. success or misfortune in

the community.

Economic organization

~  The Nandi were pastoralists who kept Livestock like sheep, cattle and goats for milk, meat, manure and blood. Cattle were a symbol of status among the Nandi and also a form of dowry settlement.

~  The Nandi cultivated crops such as Millet and sorghum due the fertile soils and favourable climate in areas like Aldai.

~  They also practiced hunting and gathering to supplement their food production.

~  The Nandi raided other communities for cattle. They acquired large herds of cattle through raiding neighbouring communities such as the Maasai. Abaluhyia and Luo.

~  They traded among themselves and also with their neighbours. The Nandi traded with the Maasai and with the Luo and neighbouring Bantu communities like the Abaluhyia.  They sold animal products and red ochre in exchange for grains from the Bantu. The Nandi however were self sufficient in food.

~  They practiced craft e.g. made pots, weaved baskets and leather belts.

Political organization

The family was the basic political unit. It was headed by a father who dealt with internal matters such as discipline, allocation of crops, land and cattle. In matters affecting the neighbourhood, he was assisted by the Kokwet (council of elders) which was made up of neighbourhood heads.Above the Kokwet was the clan organization whose council of elders tackled matters to do with grazing rights.Above the clan, there was a larger socio-political unit comprising different war groups located in the same geographical zone called a pororiet. This formed the highest political unit among the Nandi. The pororiet council of elders comprised representatives from different clansIts functions included negotiating for peace and declaring war .The Nandi boys became junior warriors after circumcision. They only promoted to senior warriors after the Saket apeito ceremony (slaughter of bullock) that was done after every fifteen years.

The Maasai

Social organization

~  The Maasai were divided into two groups; the pastoral Maasai(Purko) and the Agricultural Maasai(Kwavi or Iloikop).

~  The Maasai were organized on clan basis with each clan associated with a particular type of cattle. In total, the Maasai had five clans spread over large areas and not necessarily staying together.

~  Maasai boys and girls were initiated at puberty through circumcision. Circumcision marked entry into adulthood. The initiates were taught the deepest community values during the period.

~  After circumcision, the boys entered an age set to which they belonged the rest of their life.

~  The age set institution created a bond among the initiates that cut across the families and clans thus uniting the whole community.

~  All the boys initiated together also formed a warrior class called Morans and lived in special homesteads called Manyattas away from the rest of the community. For about ten years.

~  They were not allowed to take milk from their mother’s house and were required to adhere to ritual and dietary restrictions.

~  They believed in one supernatural being. The Maasai referred to him as Engai. Prayers and sacrifices were offered to him at the shrines.

~  There was the existence of religious leaders whose work was to lead the communities during religious functions and rituals. They called their religious leader Oloibon.

Functions of Oloibon

~  He presided over religious ceremonies. / He was consulted on all religious matters.

~  He blessed warriors before they went to war.

~  He advised the council of elders.

~  He foretold the future events.

The Maasai and other Nilotic groups had rain makers and diviners.

There were several social ceremonies that accompanied the rites of passage like circumcision, marriage and death. The Eunoto ceremony marked the graduation of the Morans into junior elders. This ceremony is still practiced upto date.

Economic organization of the Maasai

~  The Maasai were nomadic pastoralists who kept Livestock like sheep, cattle and goats formilk, meat and blood..

~  They traded among themselves and also with their neighbours such as the Agikuyu, kalenjin and Taita. They sold animal products and red ochre in exchange for grains from the Agikuyu.

~  They practiced iron-smelting, making implements such as arrow heads and spearheads..

~  They also practiced mining e.g. mined iron, salt and red ochre which

~  They also practiced mining e.g. mined iron, salt and red ochre which they used for decoration and as a commodity for trade.

~  Some sections of the Maasai e.g. the Kwavi practiced crop growing i.e. growing grains and vegetables.

~  They practiced craft e.g. made pots, weaved baskets and leather belts.

~  Raiding other communities for cattle.

Political organization of the Maasai

The largest political unit amongst Maasai was the tribal section, which was a geographically distinct entity which operated as a nation, especially during ceremonies.

Affairs involving inter-clan cooperation were dealt within ad hoc meetings comprising age set spokesmen

Before a Maasai young man became an adult, he underwent the following four stages.

Boyhood (ilaiyak)

The youths at this stage looked after family and clan livestock until they reached circumcision stage at about 15 years.

Warrior hood (Ilmuran)

The stage was joined by young men circumcised together and comprised of ages between 18 and 25 years. They defended the community and conducted raids to boost the clan and tribal flocks. They had a military leader known as Olaiguani.

The stayed in isolation in manyattas undergoing military training in order to graduate into senior warriors. After that they were permitted to marry.

Junior elders

This was the political authority that evaluated the day to day issues of the community.

It comprised heads of households,, aim responsibility was to maintain peace and instruct warriors on how to handle issues in the community. They were permitted to own livestock.

The senior elders

They comprise the senior most age-set. Membership was determined by age and experience. The group performed religious functions and also was responsible for and dealt with difficult judicial and political decisions.The Maasai adopted the institution of Oloibon or prophet that combined socio-religious functions and later own assumed political authority. There were several social ceremonies that accompanied the rites of passage like circumcision, marriage and death. The Eunoto ceremony marked the graduation of the Morans into junior elders. This ceremony is still practiced upto date.

The Luo

Social organization

The family was the basic social unit among the Luo. The Luo community valued large families and therefore practiced polygamy.Marriage among the Luo was exogamous (no one was allowed to marry from their clan).

Several related families grouped together to form clans among the Luo.

They believed in one supernatural being whom they called Nyasaye. They prayed to Nyasaye.The communities believed in the existence of ancestral spirits, to whom sacrifices and libations were made to ensure they remained happy. Sacred shrines and trees existed. He rocks, high hills and even the lake were associated with supernatural power.There was the existence of religious leaders whose work was to lead the communities during religious functions and perform rituals. These included priests, medicine people, rain makers and diviners. For one to be a medicine person, a benevolent spirit called Juogi must possess him or her.The Luo youths as their form of initiation extracted six lower teeth. After that they were allowed to marry.The Luo had several social ceremonies that accompanied the rites of passage like marriage and death.

Economic organization

~  The Luo were originally a pastoral and fishing community. They Practiced livestock keeping for prestige and cultural purposes e.g. dowry and for meat and milk.

~  The carried out Fishing along water courses due to their proximity to the lake. Both men and women conducted fishing, which was a source of food as well as a trade commodity.

~  The Luo Traded with their neighbors. They sold pots, baskets, cattle, fish and livestock for grains, spears, arrows and canoes from the Abaluhyia, Abagusii, Kipsigis and Nandi.

~  They also Cultivated plants like millet, sorghum, etc

~  Most of them practiced hunting and gathering to get additional meat and hides and to supplement the food they produced.

~  They practiced craft. Women specialized in production of pottery products, baskets and clothes

Political organization of the Luo

The Luo were a decentralized community.

The family was the basic political unit among the Luo. The head of the family was referred to as Jaduong. Several related families made up a clan headed by a council of elders called Doho whose main responsibility was to settle inter-family disputes.

Below the Doho were lineage councils called Buch Dhoot that tackled domestic issues

Above the Doho was a grouping of clans called Oganda headed by a council of elders reffered to as Buch piny and headed by a chief elder called Ruoth. The Buch piny comprised representatives from each clan. It was responsible for settling inter -clan conflicts, declaring war and punishing criminals such as murderers.Religious leaders among the Luo also influenced politics. E.g rainmakers and diviners.One of the members of the council of elders was given a responsibility of advising the council on military matters and was therefore a war leader (osumba Mrwayi). Under them was a special group of warriors reffered to as Thuondi (bulls). Their work was to raided neighbouring communities like the Maasai, Nandi and Abagusii and other perceived enemies.


These were the smallest linguistic group in Kenya inhabiting the northern part of Kenya. They are a nomadic Sam speaking group. They comprise the Borana, Gabra, Galla (Oromo), Rendille and Burji.The communities developed complex social, economic and political institutions that were interrupted by the coming of the Muslims and Europeans.

Social organization of the Cushites

The Cushites had a patrilineal society, which means they traced their origins through the fatherThe Cushites believed in a common ancestor which makes their kinship system strong.All the Cushitic communities practiced circumcision of boys and clitoridectomy for girls as a form of initiation. This was a rite of passage into adulthood.After circumcision, the initiates were taught about their adult roles and their rights as members of the community.Circumcision marked an entry into an age set whose functions included defending the community from external attacks, building huts and advising junior age-sets on how to raid.Each age set had a leader with specific duties. They believed in the existence of a supreme god, who was the creator of everything.  He was given different names. The Oromo referred to him as wak(waq).They also believed in spirits which inhabited natural objects like rocks and trees. The Cushites had shrines from which they prayed to their God. Later on, through interaction with their neighbours, all the Cushites became Muslims by the 16thc.The Cushitic speakers were polygamous and their marriage was exogamous in nature.Inheritance was from father to son among the Cushites. The elder son inherited the father’s property and shared it with his younger brothers. Girls had no right to inheritance.The Cushitic life was full of ceremonies. They celebrated life both in song and dance. There were songs for initiations, childbirth, marriage, harvest and funeral.

Economic organization

They had a diversified economic system that catered for their livelihood and supported their lifestyle.They basically practiced Pastoralism/livestock keeping in their semi-arid region – They kept cattle, goats, camel and donkeys. Camels and cattle provided milk and blood and were assigning of prestige. Goats and sheep provided meat. Some Cushites who lived along river valleys practiced substance agriculture where they grew grain crops, vegetables, dates, peas, pepper, tubers and bananas.They also practiced iron smelting and made iron tools e.g. swords, knives, bangles and arrow heads.They hunted wild game for food, ivory, skins (hides) for clothing, bedding and gathered fruits and roots and vegetables. They engaged in craft industry e.g. production of leather items such as handbags, belts etc.Some of them who lived near rivers and along the Indian Ocean practiced fishing.They traded with their neighbours e.g. the Pokomo and the Samburu.

Political organization of the Cushites

All the Cushitic communities like other groups in Kenya, had decentralized forms of government. The clan formed the basic political unit for all the Bantu communities. Each clan was made up of related families.

The social and political system of the Cushites was interwoven that the social divisions, age set system were also important aspects of the political system.Leadership of the clan was in the hands of a council of elders who played a pivoted role in solving disputes, acting as ritual experts, presiding over religious ceremonies, maintaining law and order and making executive decisions affecting the community like declaring war.Among the Cushites a clan was independent of others except when the wider community faced a common enemy or problem.The Cushites developed an age-set system that had some political significance. After circumcision, the boys joined the age-set after initiation to provide warriors who defended the community from external attacks and raid other communities for cattle.The age set system was based on about ten groups each with its own leader. At the end of an age cycle, a ceremony was performed and the senior age sets retired from public life and settled in different territories.

The Somali

The social organization of the Somali.Like Somali were organized into clans each comprising of families whose members claimed common descent. They also had an age set system. Circumcision marked an entry into an age set whose functions included defending the community from external attacks, building huts and advising junior agesets on how to raid. Each age set had a leader with specific duties. They believed in the existence of a supreme god, whom they referred to as wak (waq). He was the creator of everything. They had religious leaders who mediated between God and the people

Later on, through interaction with their neighbours, all the Somali became Muslims by the 16thc.The Somali valued marriage as an important institution. They were polygamous and their marriage was exogamous in nature.

Political organization of the Somali

The Somali had a decentralized political system of administration. The basic political unit was the clan made up of related families. The clan was headed by a council of elders in charge of day to day affairs of the clan e.g. making major decisions and settling disputes and presiding over religious ceremonies.The Somali had an age set system and all male members of the society belonged to an age set. Each age set performed specific roles/duties. From the age set system, there evolved a military organization for community defence. Initiates joined the age set system after circumcision. With the advent of Islamic religion political organization changed. They now had community leaders called sheikhs whose role was mainly advisory.The political system was now based on the Islamic sharia.

Economic organization

  1. a) The Somali were hunters and gathers. They hunted wild game for food and gathered fruits and roots and vegetables.
  2. b) They basically practiced nomadic Pastoralism. They kept cattle, goats, camel and sheep.Their diet was mainly milk, meat and blood.
  3. c) They traded with their neighbours to get what they could not produce e.g. the Pokomo and the Mijikenda from whom they acquired grains.
  4. d) A section of the Somali practiced iron smelting and made iron tools e.g. swords, knives, bangles and arrow heads. They also engaged in craft industry e.g. production of leather items such as handbags, belts etc.
  5. e) Such craft activities were despised among the Somali and were associated with a group whom they referred to as Sab (outcasts).

The Borana

They are a branch of the Oromo or Galla people who came from Ethiopia.

Social organization

The Borana had a complex social organization.The society was divided into clans led by elders whose responsibility was to settle disputes and maintaining law and order. Each clan was made up of related families. The borana had a strong belief in the extended family.The Borana were nomadic. But they had a residential section called the camp that consisted of a few huts of related families. .In the camps, it was the most senior married and competent man who became the head of the camp (abba olla). He would have his wife’s hut built on the extreme left.The Borana had a complex age-set structure called Gada. Each Gada was headed by the most powerful individual among the group members (Abba boku). His duty would be to preside over village meetings, proclaim laws and preside over religious ceremonies.The community had two kinship groups that practiced exogamous marriage.. A man from the Gona kinship would only marry from the Sabbo kinship. Polygamy was allowed.The family among the borana was headed by a man referred to as Abba warra with the wife as the female head of the household (Hatimana)

There was division of labour in the society. The men defended the camps, wells, herds and shrines. They dug wells and organized raiding parties. The men also elected leaders of camps, age sets and Gada class. The women performed household duties, wove baskets for carrying children, prepared leather and built houses. Boys herded sheep, goats and cattle. Elders presided over the court cases.The borana worshipped a powerful God, the creator whom they called Wak (waq). He was worshipped through religious leaders

They had a patrilineal society where inheritance was from the father to the son, and specifically the first son, angafa, who would then redistribute the inherited cattle to the younger  brothers.Their culture was full of ceremonies. For example, there were ceremonies when a Gada class entered or left a Gada grade, there was war ceremony (butta) and a muda ceremony in honor of the kinship leader, kallu.

Economic organization

  1. a) The borana were basically practiced nomadic Pastoralists who kept cattle, goats and sheep. Cattle was slaughtered as part of their religious rituals and also provided raw materials for houses and other local industries.
  2. b) They traded with their neighbours to get what they could not produce e.g. they exchanged their animals with the Mijikenda from whom they acquired grains.
  3. c) The Borana were hunters and gathers. They hunted wild game for food and gathered fruits and roots and vegetables.
  4. d) Those who settled in the fertile region along the tana valley grew crops like beans and pepper.
  5. e) The Borana women engaged in craft industry e.g. production of leather items such as handbags, belts etc. men also made wooden tools, weapons and utensils.
  6. f) The Borana also practiced fishing as they settled along river tana.

Political organization of the borana

Their political system was based on the kinship system where the society was divided into clans comprising related families. There were two moieties (kinships) that were further divided into sub-moieties. The sub-moieties were further divided into clans.

Each moiety was headed by a hereditary leader known as kallu. The kallu of the Sabbo for example came from the dyallu clan of the karrayyu sub-moiety.The kallu’s camp was the spiritual and political centre of the group. His duties included leading in ritual ceremonies, providing judgment in major conflicts between clans.He was elected together with the council of the Gada leaders of each gad class when it prepared to enter a new grade.The kallu were not authorized to bear arms or defend themselves but were to move in company of other members of the society.The borana society was divided into clans led by a council of elders whose responsibility was tosettle disputes and maintaining law and order. Each clan was made up of related families who lived in a residential section called the camp that consisted of a few huts of related families. .Powers were distributed equally between the two moieties at all levels such as in the Gada class, age-set and camp councils as well as in tribal ceremonies.The complex age set system mainly provided a military base for the society. The age sets, Hariyya, were recruited from boys of the same age. Gada class (Luba) was recruited genealogically. There were eleven grades through which the Gada classes passed from birth to death, with each grade lasting eight years. While age set members were of the same age, Gada members were of varied ages.

The age sets formed the age set council that recruited the warriors.Members of the Gada classes formed the Gada council (lallaba) which the responsibility of making decisions for their classes. They also resolved conflicts between non-relatives and mobilized economic activities such as digging wells, organizing societal rituals and ceremonies and directing relatives with their neighbours such as the Oromo and Somali.The councils contributed to the development of an effective political organization.The complexity of the borana institutions strengthened unity among them. However, the coming of the colonialists in the 20th century heavily impacted on these nomadic pastoral community.


The early contacts were initially at the coast but later spread inland. The early visitors included the Arabs, Greeks, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, British, French and the Dutch.

The East African coast

The existing documentaries and archaeological evidence about the historical information on the east African coast include;

~  The Graeco- Roman Documentary which only makes indirect references to the east African coast.

~  The Swahili chronicles written by the people of the coast. E.g the Kilwa chronicle gives account of achievements of coastal rulers before the arrival of the Portuguese.

~  The writings of Pliny, a Roman Geographer who wrote about the high cost of trade with India in his book, The Natural History.

~  Periplus of the Erythrean Sea; by a Greek merchant in 1st C AD describes the people and places along the coast and the Indian Ocean Trade. (Erythrean Sea Trade).

~  Geopgraphia by Claudius Ptolemy makes reference to east African coast and the trade along Somalia and Kenyan coasts.

~  Christian Topography of Cosmos Indico of the 6TH C describes the trading activities on the coast of East Africa.

~  Renowned travelers like Al-Mosudi, Al Idrisi and Ibn Battuta wrote firsthand accounts about the places they visited and the people they met at the coast in the 10th C AD.

~  The existing archaeological evidence in east Africa include the remains of pottery , iron tools, beads and coins which prove the presence of international trade.

Early visitors to the east African coast upto 1500.

Due to the great accessibility of the east African coast, there was widespread interaction between it and the people from the outside world. This was also aided by the monsoon winds that blew vessels / ships to the coast between November and April and took them away between may and October. The earliest visitors were the Egyptians, Phoenicians and Indonesians.Others who came later on included the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Chinese, Arabs, Syrians, Indians and the Portuguese.

The Greeks

Their coming to east Africa is accounted for by the quarrels between the Seleucid rulers in Greece and the Ptolemaic Greeks in Egypt over control of the land route to the east through the Mediterranean lands.The rising demand for ivory made the ptolemies venture into the red sea and finally into the east African coast. Evidence of Greek existence on the coast is the Ptolemic Gold Coin found near Dar es Salam.


In AD 45, Hippalus, a Roman sailor using monsoon wind knowledge reached the red sea and entered the Indian Ocean. The Romans were keen on breaking the Arab monopoly over trade.Evidence of trade between the Romans and the coast is in the writing of a Roman Historian Pliny (23-79AD) who points out the high coast of trade between India, Arabia and china.The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th c AD affected international trading network in the Roman Empire.


They were mainly immigrants from Shirazi on the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf. Their adventure into the east African coast happened during the reign of the Sassanid Dynasty(224-636AD), which was determined to rebuild the Persian Empire that had been destroyed by the Macedonian Greeks, through wealth amassed from international trade.

By the 6th c, the Persians were trading in India and later china, controlling the red sea and parts of Egypt and Arabia.They got involved in the east African trade and even established ruling dynasties9 e.g. the (Shirazi Dynasty) at the coast. They intermarried with the locals and introduced Islamic religion.They were later overthrown by the Arabs. The succeeded in introducing Bowls of glass, swords, beakers and pots to the coast.


They visited the coast in the middle ages. This is evidenced in the work of the Chinese authors during the Sung Dynasty (960- 1279 AD) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), who referred to the east African coast as Tseng- Pat or Pseng- Po.There has also been evidence of Chinese coins dating to 700 AD at the coast.The last Chinese fleet must have reached Mogadishu in 1430AD. The Chinese brought in Silk cloth, porcelain bowls and plates in exchange for Gold\, leopard skin, Rhino Horns and tortoise shells. Porcelain remains have been found at the coast.


The earliest Arab settlers to arrive were the Daybui from Daybul In north western India. They arrived along the east African coast by AD 650 for trade. The earliest Arab settlement was Qanbalu (Pemba). They later settled in manda, Kilwa. Lamu and Mombasa.The Arabs reffered to the Africans as the Zenj (Blacks)

Factors that facilitated the coming of Arabs to the east African coast.

~  The Indian ocean provided the highway through which the traders traveled

~  The traders had the skills of harnessing the monsoon winds (trade winds) they knew what times of the year to come to the coast and what times to go back.

~  The traders had marine technology e.g. they had ship-building technology and knew how to use the compass for navigation of the ocean

~  They ensured the control of the red sea was in their hands to bar the enemy from attacking them

~  The ports of southern Arabia were good calling places on their journey between the east and the west.

~  The deep harbours at the coast were ideal for their ships to anchor, refuel and get supplies.

Reasons for the coming of the Arabs

~  They wanted to trade and control the commercial activities along the east African coast.

~  Some Arabs came as refugees, fleeing from religious and political persecutions in Arabia.

~  They came to spread their religion, Islam.

~  Some came as explorers to explore the east African coast.

~  Some came to establish settlements along the east African coast.

Trade between the East African coast and the outside world

There is sufficient evidence of the existence of regular trading contacts between east African coast and the countries in the Middle East and Far East.

Development and organization of the trade

~  The earliest foreign traders must have been the Romans who traded with the Indians in the Far East. They made stopovers at the east African coast for ivory whose demand had grown tremendously.

~  Muslim Arabs acted as intermediaries in the Indian Ocean trade between the Indians and the Romans. They also exported frankincense and myrrh among other things.

~  Traders from Persia, Arabia and Syria brought glass beakers and bowls, swords, pots, grains, sugar, cloth and beads in exchange for palm oil, tortoise shells, ivory and slaves.

~  The Greek, roman and Chinese traders brought porcelain bowls, daggers, swords, pottery, cowrie shells, glassware, beads and silk in exchange for ivory, rhinoceros horns, bee wax, tortoise shells , coconut oil and mangrove poles. Cowrie shells were obtained from Maldives islands while spices came from Spice Island.

~  East Africa also exported leopard skins, gold, ostrich feathers, copal, copper and iron. Ivory was used in Asia to make bangles, bracelets, piano keys and for decorations

~  The traders relied on the monsoon winds to blow their ships to and from the east African coast.

~  The Indian Ocean trade was conducted through the barter system but later coins were used as a medium of exchange. During barter, the foreigners bartered their goods with gold, ivory and slaves. Seyyid said later introduced copper and silver coins.

~  The middlemen in the trade included the Arabs and Swahili who organized caravans to the interior to acquire local goods which they sold to traders at the coast.

~  As there was no common language spoken, trading was conducted silently, hence the name ‘silent trade’

~  Capital for the trade was provided by the Arabs. Later the Indian banyans started giving credit facilities to the traders which increased the volume of trade.

~  The sultan of Zanzibar provided security to the Arab traders, enabling them to penetrate the interior to acquire goods.

~  The trade stimulated development of towns along the coastline. E.g Rhapta (probably located between pangani and Dar es Salam), Essina and Sarapion were the earliest towns to grow. Lamu Malindi Mombasa, pate and Brava also developed.

~  The merchants settled at various places on the coast and on the islands and interacted with the locals leading to development of the Swahili culture. Factors which promoted the Indian Ocean trade.

(a)  Availability of items of trade from the east African coast and foreigner countries. For example, ivory, slaves, cotton and porcelain.

(b)  The high demand for trade items from the coast by consumers from the outside world was also a promoting factor. This was caused by the uneven distribution of resources. Foreign items were also on demand at the coat.

(c)  The existence of enterprising merchants in both the foreign lands and the east African coast led to promotion of trade links. The Akamba, Mijikenda, nyamwezi and Swahili middlemen for example played a pivoted role in the trade.

(d)  The existence of local trade among Africans which acted as a base upon which the Indian Ocean trade was developed.

(e)  The accessibility of the east African coast by sea. This enabled the foreigner traders to reach the region across the Indian Ocean.

(f)  The existence of the monsoon winds facilitated the movement of the vessels which made it possible for the traders to travel to and from the coasty.

(g)  The existence of peace and political stability at the east African coast created a conducive atmosphere for business transactions. Where there was need, the traders were given security by the sultan of Zanzibar.

(h)  The existence of natural harbours along the coast ensured safe docking of the trade vessels for fueling and off-loading.

(i)  The advancement in the ship building technology in Europe gave great advantage to the traders. This made water transport reliable and regular.

(j)  The existence o the Indian Banyans (money lenders) who gave credit facilities enabled many more people to join the trade.

Impacts of the trade on the peoples of east Africa

(a)  The trade led to intermarriage between Muslim traders with the local Bantu communities giving rise to the Swahili people with a distinct culture.

(b)  There was emergence of Kiswahili as a new language of the coastal people. The language is a mixture of Bantu and Arabic languages.

(c)  The trade led to the spread of the Islamic culture along the coastal region. Stone buildings were constructed, new dressing styles arose (women began to wear buibui while men wore kanzus), new eating habits also evolved.

(d)  The Islamic law, sharia was also introduced.

(e)  Many Africans were converted to Islam. However the religion did not spread beyond the coastal region prior to the 19th c.

(f)  New crops were introduced along the coast. For example, rice, wheat, millet, cloves, vegetables and fruits such as bananas and oranges. Cloth, cowrie shells and spices were also introduced.

(g)  Profits derived from the trade were used to develop towns like Pemba, Mombasa, Lamu, Zanzibar and Kilwa.

(h)  The trade led to the rise of a class of rich merchants exhibiting a high standard of living. African merchants who rose to prominence included chief Kivoi among the Akamba, Ngonyo of the Giriama, Mwakikonga of the Digo, Nyungu ya mawe, Mirambo and Msiri of the Nyamwezi.

(i)  There was decline of the local industries like weaving and iron working which were affected by the influx of foreign goods like cloth fro India and iron tools from Asia and Europe.

(j)  There was destruction of wildlife, especially elephant and rhinoceros due to the increased demand for ivory.

(k)  The increased demand for slaves promoted warfare among the communities as many people were captured during slave raids. It also created fear while others lost their life during the warfare.

(l)  Slave trade also disrupted African economies as able bodied men were captured leaving behind the aged, weak, and children who made little contribution. Many even died of starvation since they could not participate in food production.

(m)  African population in the hinterland greatly reduced as many were sold into slavery.

(n)  Money (currency) was introduced as a means of exchange to replace the barter system of trade.

(o)  East African coast was exposed to the outside world through trade. This paved way for European imperialism later on.

(p)  Trade routes led to the establishment of trade caravan routes which later were upgraded to by the colonialists.

The coming of the Portuguese

Since the 10th century Arabian influence along the coast had been strong. Most of the port towns along the East African coast had been built by Arab Sultans, who brought the Muslim religion to the coastal people.The Portuguese explorer and soldier, Vasco da Gama, was the first European to make contact with the people of the East African Coast. He had been paid by the King of Portugal to find a sea route to India.

The Portuguese at the East African coast 1500 – 1700 A.D

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to have contacts with the people of the East African Coast. They invaded the east African coast in 1498 at a time when the Ottoman Empire occupied most of the Middle East thus blocking the overland route to India from Europe.They were adventurous and in search for the sea route to India. This led them to the East African Coast where they stayed for 200 years.

Reasons for the coming of the Portuguese at the East African coast

  1. a) The need to establish a commercial empire in order to get the products of East Africa e.g. ivory, gold, silks and spices that were mainly controlled by the Arabs merchants.
  2. b) They wanted to obtain control of the main trading towns, e.g. Kilwa, Mombasa etc.
  3. c) They wanted to defeat the Muslim traders and rulers who had monopolized the Indian Ocean trade.
  4. d) They wanted to prevent other European rivals from gaining access to the Indian Ocean Trade e.g. the French, Dutch, and British
  5. e) Desire to get revenue for the development of their country.
  6. f) The Portuguese wished to share in the profits of the Indian Ocean Trade by imposing taxes and forcing wealthy coastal towns to pay tribute to the king of Portugal.
  7. g) The coast had natural harbors where ships could anchor on their way to and from the East for fresh food and water. The Portuguese therefore wanted to establish a calling station for resting, refresh, treating the sick, repairing wrecked ships e.t.c
  8. h) The coast was strategically located and this made it easy to control sea pirates and other rival powers.
  9. i) They wanted to revenge on the Muslim Arabs who had conquered Portugal in 711 AD by converting them to Christianity and stop the spread of Islam i.e. the Arabs had ever run the Iberian Peninsula and forced the Christians to accept Islam.
  10. j) They hoped to get assistance of King Prester John thought to be in the interior of north –east Africa. They hoped the king would help them in their crusade against the Muslims.
  11. k) They had hope of stopping Egyptians and Turks from sending military aid to their fellow Moslems on the coast.
  12. l) They were interested in exploration and adventure; this was a period of Renaissance (means to be born again/change) in Europe. Hence hoped to search for the unknown, new knowledge and sailing across un mapped seas.
  13. m) Desire to acquire revenue for the development of their country.

Portuguese conquest of the coast 1500-1510 (Stages of conquest) Steps taken by the

Portuguese to occupy the East African coast.

~  In 1497 King John 11 sent Padro da Covillha on a land journey  to India to gather information about the Eastern trades and the sea routes.

~  In 1498 Bathromew Diaz sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, thus proving that there was a way round South Africa to the Indian Ocean.

~  Between 1497- 1499 Vasco da Gama at the command of King Emmanuel the fortunate of Portugal visited Mozambique, Mombasa and Malindi on his way to India.  He arrived in Malindi in March 1498 to a warm welcome by the locals.

~  He returned to Portugal in 1499 and gave a report of the flourishing Sofala trade, the Deep Harbour in Mombasa and the existing disunity of coastal people.

~  In response to Vasco da Gama’s expeditions, the king of Portugal sent fleets of ships to conquer the important trading towns of the East African coast.

~  In 1500 Pedro Alvares Cabral attempted to capture Sofala with its Gold trade but he failed.

~  In 1502 Vasco da Gama came back with 19 ships aiming at capturing Kilwa because it was the most important and prosperous. He captured the palace, imprisoned the Su ltan and only released him when he accepted to pay tribute to Portugal.

~  From Kilwa he invaded Mombasa, which tried to get assistance from Malindi but since they were great rivals Malindi refused to give assistance, this disunity made the work of conquest easy.

~  In 1503 Ruy Laurence Ravasco was sent with a number of ships and forced the islands of Mafia and Zanzibar and other towns to pay tribute to Portugal.

~  In 1504, Lopez destroyed gold trade at Kilwa. Attacks were too much on the harbour that trade came to a standstill. But again the Arabs failed to unite to fight the Portuguese.

~  In 1505 Francisco D’Almeida arrived at the coast on his way to Gao where he had been appointed the first Portuguese viceroy (governor) of the Eastern Empire.  With 1500 men and 20 ships, he attacked Sofala which surrendered without struggle because she was tired of Kilwa’s rule and therefore preferred the Portuguese to fellow Arabs.  His forces continued northwards and attacked Kilwa. The Sultan and his followers took off to the bush while the Portuguese looted and burnt down the town before he departed to India. He also conquered Mombasa.

~  In 1506 – 1507 Tristao Da Cunha took on the Northern towns of Socotra, Oja, Brava and Lamu. Towns that submitted without struggles were only asked to pay tribute to Portugal. Malindi was even excused from paying tribute due to her friendship with the Portuguese.

~  In 1509 Alba quiqui captured the remaining towns i.e. the work of conquest was completed with taking the islands of Pemba, Mafia, and Zanzibar.  Mombasa was burnt down.

~  By 1515 the Portuguese had succeeded in conquering most of the coastal towns, bring them under Portuguese rule. However towns like Gedi, Kilifi, Pate, Manda, Mombasa and Lamu continued with resistance. Mombasa was heavily attacked in 1528.

~  In 1585, a Turkish captain, Amir Ali Bey, arrived at the coast as an envoy of the sultan of turkey to free the coastal towns from the Portuguese. Rebellion then broke out between 1585 and 1588 between Ali Bey, the Portuguese, and the people of Mombasa and Zimba warriors. The towns of pate, Siyu and Pemba were attacked and forced to pay heavy fines while manda was completely destroyed.

~  Portugal finally brought all the coastal towns under her control establishing her

headquarters in Mombasa that had been subdued in 1589. in 1593, the Portuguese built fort Jesus

Why the Portuguese build Fort Jesus

  1. a) They used it as a watch tower
  2. b) To hide against attacks by the enemies
  3. c) As military base
  4. d) To offer food security and protection.
  5. e) To act as an armament.
  6. f) To act as a prison for the captives.

~  Portuguese control of the east African coast as greatly supported by the conquest of Hormuz, which made it easier for them to control sea traffic in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Eden and Arabian Sea.

Why the Portuguese defeated the East African Coastal towns/Why the Portuguese were successful

  1. a) They had superior weapons e.g. cannon guns which made terrible noise and threw people in panic as compared to the poor musket guns of the coastal Arabs.
  2. b) They had well trained soldiers with superior skills of fighting compared to the coastal people who had no permanent organized army e.g. Vasco da Gama, Francisco D’Almeida were ruthless army commanders which helped them to defeat the coastal dwellers.
  3. c) They had better and faster ships (carracks) well equipped for naval warfare. The Portuguese soldiers wore Armour on their bodies and helmets on their heads, which protected them from the weapons of the coastal people.
  4. d) The coastal towns were disunited which gave chance to the Portuguese to fight isolated enemies e.g. Malindi refused to unite with Mombasa due to local conflicts. Some cooperated with the invaders giving them food and bases e.g. Malindi and Sofala.
  5. e) Some coastal towns like Kilwa were caught unaware. The Portuguese employed cruel methods of fighting like burning down towns and surprise attacks.
  6. f) The ships acted as stages against the hostile weapons of the coastal people.
  7. g) The coast had natural harbours and was not open to attacks.
  8. h) The constant attacks on the coastal towns by the Galla, Zimba and Turkish e.t.c had weakened their defence.
  9. i) The Portuguese were financially equipped and therefore supported their soldiers because they wanted to control the East African trade.
  10. j) The coastal states had very weak economies that could not sustain prolonged fights especially against the economically strong Portuguese.

Portuguese Administration at the coast

By 1510, the conquest of the East African coast was over and administration fell into the hands of the Portuguese. For easy administration, the coast was divided into two zones;

  1. The area North of Cape Delgado was ruled by the Captain at Malindi.
  2. The area South of Cape Delgado was ruled by Captain at Mozambique.

Both captains were answerable to the Portuguese viceroy at Goa on Indian coast at the General headquarters. Cape Delgado was made the midpoint of the East Africa possession. Sofala was made the regional headquarters but still under the charge of the captain who took his orders from the viceroy at Goa. Later, the Captain in the North was stationed at Mombasa after the construction of Fort Jesus in 1593 because they were rebellious.  Other forts and garrisons were established at Sofala and Kilwa.

The Portuguese captains were responsible for the collections of tributes from coastal rulers.

They imposed the customs dues on all imports and exports.  They were also responsible for the suppression of rebellions on the coast.  The Portuguese had problems with administration because they could not provide enough troops to all garrisons their strongholds.The Portuguese were more interested in gold trade in Sofala. Unfortunately, they failed to develop this trade because of the following;

~  There were wars in the mining areas between the Portuguese and Coastal people.

~  As a result the Portuguese were so cruel that any sign of disobedience was punished with maximum brutality to serve as a warning to others who might choose to rebel. This partly explains the unpopularity of the Portuguese on the coast. The Portuguese also applied the policy of divide and rule by setting one town against the other. For example Malindi against Mombasa.The relationship with the subjects was not good. They lived in isolation of each other by race and religion. The Portuguese established their own settlements, built their own churches and had their own priest. This could be the reason why their religion was rejected and hatred increased.In addition, the few Portuguese officials were corrupt, plundered and ordered destruction on the coastal town. All this earned them hatred and opposition from the people and it was not a surprise that they were nicknamed “AFRITI” meaning Devil.The Portuguese did not mix freely with Africans because they considered themselves to be a special race.During the Portuguese reign, the glory of the coastal states was no more. The high standards of living the coastal people had enjoyed were no more. The trade that had made them rich was declining.  Many buildings were in ruins and there was widespread poverty and misery.

Reasons that led to the decline of the Portuguese at the East African Coast

(Problems/challenges they faced)

  1. a) Portugal was a small country that could not provide enough administrators and officials for such a large coastline that extended from Sofala in the south to Mogadishu in the north.The territory was too big and long for effective control and administration.
  2. b) It had few soldiers and could not keep fortified garrison along the coast.
  3. c) Authority was left in hands of incompetent and corrupt officials who were after enriching themselves.
  4. d) The Africans hated the Portuguese due to differences in religion, that is to say, Muslims against Christians (Portuguese).
  5. e) The Portuguese were cruel, harsh and brutal, they always punished the coastal people whenever they attempted to rebel and made them to be hated.
  6. f) The Portuguese also used divide and rule policy for example, they allied with Malindi against Mombasa.
  7. g) There was decline of trade due high taxes on imports and other restrictions hence smuggling of goods, which affected the Portuguese economy. Due to decline in trade, the people became poor and dissatisfied and they continuously rebelled.
  8. h) The Portuguese failed to support their own allies at the coast, some even betrayed them.
  9. i) Portugal had been forced into a union with Spain between1580–1640 which weakened her control of the trading colonies as she was no longer interested in the overseas empire.
  10. j) Portugal was challenged by other European powers, which began competing with the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean Trade e.g. Dutch, English, French, Turks and others.
  11. k) The coastal people found useful allies against the Portuguese due to their bad rule e.g. Turks, Oman, and Arabs
  12. l) They were faced with constant rebellions along the coast. This greatly disrupted life at the coast e.g. Pate, Mombasa
  13. m) Tropical diseases which claimed their life like smallpox, malaria making it difficult for them to administer the coast effectively.
  14. n) The Portuguese were greatly weakened by a group of cannibals the Zimba, who attacked the East African coast.
  15. o) The unhealthy climate made the area unattractive for them to work for instance, some places where too humid and hot while others were too cold.
  16. p) The distance between Portugal and the East African coast was too far hence reinforcement delayed.
  17. q) There was a problem of communication barrier, the Portuguese refused to learn the African languages and these made their administration difficult.
  18. r) The income obtained from the gold trade was not enough to pay for administration i.e. soldiers and officials.
  19. s) The Capture of Fort Jesus their stronghold in 1698 by the Omani greatly contributed to their decline.

The collapse of Portuguese rule

~  In 1585, a Turkish captain, Amir Ali Bey, arrived at the coast as an envoy of the sultan of turkey to free the coastal towns from the Portuguese. Rebellion then broke out between 1585 and 1588 between Ali Bey, the Portuguese, and the people of Mombasa and Zimba warriors. The towns of pate, Siyu and Pemba were attacked and forced to pay heavy fines while manda was completely destroyed

~  As a result of their ruthlessness, the coastal people became hostile to the Portuguese.

~  Mombasa for example resisted the humiliation they got from the Portuguese appointedsultan

~  The sultan’s heir Yusuf was treated as a servant who resented the people of Mombasa

~  On 15thaugust 1631, during the Christian feast of Assumption in Mombasa, Sultan Yusuf stabbed the captain with a knife, killing him instantly. This sparked off a rebellion where many Portuguese were killed.

~  Yusuf posed a threat to the Portuguese rule until his death in 1637.

~  The people of pate also revolted in 1666. However, their ruler was arrested and exiled to Goa where he was executed

~  In 1622, the Persians drove the Portuguese from Hormuz. In 1650, the Portuguese were expelled from their bases in Muscat by the Omani Arabs under sultan Saif

~  Britain, France and Holland also began to compete the Portuguese in trade.

~  The final blow to Portuguese rule was attack by the Omani Arabs and the seizure of fort Jesus. The coastal Arab towns had appealed to their brothers in Oman for assistance against the Portuguese brutality.

~  In 1652, an Oman fleet sailed to pate and Zanzib ar, overpowered and killed the Portuguese.

~  In 1696, Imam Saif Ibn Sultan of Oman sailed to Mombasa with a large fleet and army. The Portuguese took refuge in Fort Jesus as battle raged on (about 2500 Portuguese men, women and children) the Portuguese were unfortunate as they could not get supplies to sustain the war with 3000 plus Arab soldiers with full packing of the coastal people.

~  In 1697, the Omani forces got access to the Fort and found most Portuguese afflicted with

disease. By December 1698, the Omanis penetrated the Fort only to find all except twelve Portuguese dead. This marked the end of Portuguese rule though they made a temporaryseizure of the fort in 1728 but were overpowered.

~  For the coastal people, it was however a mere change of guard from the Portuguese to the Arabs.




Results of Portuguese stay at the coast of East Africa


  1. a) The Portuguese built Fort Jesus at the coast in Mombasa in1592/3 which became a fortress and later a tourist attraction for centuries.
  2. b) They enriched the Swahili language with an addition of 60 words e.g. emeza meaning table and pesa meaning money.
  3. c) They introduced new crops from South Africa of which many have become staple diet for many East Africans e.g. cassava, pawpaws, maize, oranges, sweet potatoes, guavas, pineapples and mangoes
  4. d) They made an improvement in ship building. During their stay on the coast, many architects came in from India and Europe.
  5. e) There was establishment of closer trading links between the coast and India.
  6. f) They introduced new farming methods for example they encouraged the use of cow dung as manure.
  7. g) They led to the coming of more European and Asian traders and craftsmen especially those who helped in the building of Fort Jesus.
  8. h) They broke the Muslim- Arab monopoly of the Indian Ocean Trade.


  1. a) Trade declined due to the constant wars and rebellions and heavy taxes imposed.
  2. b) There was decline of the coastal towns because many were burnt down and left in ruins for example Kilwa and Mombasa.
  3. c) There was widespread poverty and misery among the coastal people due to decline in trade.
  4. d) There was heavy loss of lives during the attacks. There was depopulation due to the many wars in the areas
  5. e) There was destruction of property like buildings and crops, which led to famine and starvation.
  6. f) The coastal people suffered oppression and brutality under harsh rule of the Portuguese.
  7. g) Their religion, Christianity, made no impact at the coast because they lived far from their subjects and stagnation of the Islamic faith because discouraged preaching.
  8. h) Smuggling developed because the Portuguese had failed to establish proper trading links with the Interior.
  9. i) Some towns were prevented from trading with their initial partners which led to their decay e.g. Gedi
  10. j) They led to the European interest at the coast hence leading to the colonization in the 19th Century.


The Omani Arabs (Imams of Omani) replaced the Portuguese as the rulers of the East African coast after the capture of fort Jesus in 1698.The new rulers initially administered the region through some Arab families;

~  The Mazrui (Mazaria) family which ruled Mombasa

~   The Nabahan Family which ruled Lamu.

The civil wars back home made it hard for the Omani Arabs to control the coast immediately. There were also threats of Persian invasion. Constant rebellion from coastal towns against Omani governors posed a serious challenge to Omani rule. Pate for example refused to pay tax and even murdered the imam’s messengers. Towns they were loyal to Oman were attacked.The Mazrui established themselves as independent rulers of Mombasa and ordered towns like pate, Pemba and Malindi to pay allegiance to them. Their greatest allies were the Mijikenda who promised them support in case of Omani attack.The struggle between the Mazrui and the Imams of Oman (1741-1840)

The coastal towns led by Mombasa resisted Oman’s conquest due to the following reasons.

  1. a) The Omani wanted the revenue from the taxes levied on trade.
  2. b) The towns also wished to maintain their independence as they were during the Portuguese rule.
  3. c) The towns were also encouraged by the prevailing weaknesses in Oman due to civil wars and the Persian threat.
  4. d) The harsh and ruthless rule and manner in which the Oman rulers collected taxes.
  5. e) Mombasa had fought against the Portuguese and did not wish to be under control of another foreign power.

The struggle

The appointment of Mohammed Ibn Azthman al Mazrui as the new governor of Mombasa coincided with the death of the Oman Imam Saif Ibn- Sultan of the Yorubi and his replacement with Ahmed Bin Said al-Busaidi.The new Mombasa governor refused to recognize the new imam and declared the independence of Mombasa from Oman. The sultan had him murdered and fort Jesus seized. A year later, the brother of the murdered governor recaptured the town and the fort. This became the century long struggle between the al-busaidi and al-Mazrui families.Taking advantage of the problems in Oman, Mombasa expanded her power and control over the coastal towns (she took over pate in 1807 and attacked Lamu in 1810). Lamu appealed to Oman for assistance.

Seyyid Said and the struggle

Further political changes happened in Oman. Seyyid said rose to power as the imam (Seyyid) of Oman. His father, the ruler of Oman had died in a sea battle in 1804 when he was only 13 years. His cousin Badr Ibn saif took over. In 1806, Said stabbed Badr to death fearing domination. With the assistance of the British he had entrenched his position as the Seyyid of Oman at the age of 15 years. The British even promised him support in claiming the east African coast.He then sent a governor to build a fortress in Mombasa and to order all towns to recognize the power of Oman. Mombasa’s new governor Abdullah Ibn Ahmed defied the order and even continued to attack Brava.

By 1817, Seyyid said had succeeded in freeing Pate from Mazrui rule. In 1822, with the help of Zanzibar, an Oman ally, he liberated Pemba and Brava from Mombasa. In 1823, he gained control of the Bajun Islands. He ordered that no town should trade with Mombasa.In 1824, the sultan of Mombasa offered Mombasa to become a British protectorate to protect him from the Oman rule. The new powerful position of Mombasa was however short-lived upto 1826 due to the terms of the Moresby anti-slavery treaty between Seyyid said and the British.The animosity between Mombasa and Oman continued. In 1837, there was a dispute in Mombasa over the succession to the vacant office of the Liwali. This became an opportune chance for Seyyid said to lure the members of the Mazrui family into fort Jesus where he killed them.

Seyyid Said; Sultan of Zanzibar 91840-1856)

After that Seyyid said consolidated his power and control over the coast as well as the interior of east Africa. He then transferred his capital from Muscat to Oman.

The transfer of the capital to Zanzibar from Muscat was due to the following reasons:

  1. a) Seyyid said desired to effectively control the coastal towns through the centrally located Zanzibar.
  2. b) Zanzibar had a pleasant climate compared to Muscat which was hot and dry. It also had

fresh water, adequate rainfall and fertile soils that favoured clove growing.

  1. c) Zanzibar was easily defensible as an island. It was easy to sea the enemy from far and launch an attack from the island.
  2. d) The good deep harbours of Zanzibar I which ships could anchor were attractive.

Zanzibar’s central position also favoured development of long distance trade.

  1. e) The town had a long history of loyalty to Oman throughout the Mazrui- busaidi

struggles. Seyyid said appointed Liwalis to rule important towns. They were give the responsibility of collecting custom dues levied at each port. The Arabs in the local towns were allowed to rule themselves. Seyyid said was keener on the commercial empire than p olitical leadership. He stated “I am nothing but just a merchant”.

Seyyid said developed an economic programme based on agriculture and international trade.

The development of plantation Agriculture

Seyyid sad encouraged settlers from Oman and Zanzibar to take advantage of the fertile sols and good climate at the coast to settle in Mombasa. Malindi, Lamu and Pemba venture into agriculture.Plantation agriculture largely depended on slave labour.The people of Mombasa extended plantation agriculture into the mainland, acquiring land from the Mijikenda in exchange for gifts. They planted rice, maize, millet, beans, sesame and sorghum. Along the island, large plantations of coconut mango trees, cashew nuts and citrus fruits were developed. Grain plantations were developed around Malindi and Takaungu whose land was largely unoccupied and the orma were no longer a threat.

By 1870, about 1400 to 1500 slaves worked on plantation farms in Malindi which had become the granary of Africa producing all kinds of grains, mangoes, coconut, mangoes and oranges.Seyyid said also established a clove plantation in Zanzibar. He also encouraged people to grow coconut trees by putting in place a policy that for eve coconut tree cut, three were to be planted. Plantation agriculture intensified slave trade.

The Slave Trade in East Africa

Slave trade: The buying and selling of human beings

Slavery: The state of being enslaved: It’s a system where by some people are owned by others and are forced to work for others without being paid for the work they have done.

It involves capturing, transporting of human beings who become the ‘property’ of the buyer. The slave trade was one of the worst crimes against humanity. The trade was started by Arabs who wanted labour for domestic use and for their plantations. However, they were later joined by Europeans..

Reasons for the rise of slave trade

~  During the second half of the 18th century, France opened up larger sugar plantations on the islands of Reunion, Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean. African slaves were thus recruited from East Africa to go and work in those plantations.

~  Africans were considered physically fit to work in harsh climatic conditions compared to the native red Indians and Europeans. This greatly increased the demand for the indigenous people (slaves).

~  The increased demand for sugar and cotton in Europe led to their increase in price and therefore more labour (slaves) was needed in the British colonies of West Indies and America.

~  Strong desire for European goods by African chiefs like Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe forced them to acquire slaves in exchange for  manufactured goods such as brass, metal ware, cotton cloth, beads, spirits such as whisky, guns and gun powder.

~  The existence and recognition of slavery in East Africa societies. Domestic and child slavery already existed therefore Africans were willing to exchange slaves for European goods.

~  The huge profits enjoyed by middlemen like Arab Swahili traders encouraged the traders to get deeply involved in the trade.

~  The suitable winds and currents (monsoon winds) which eased transportation for slave traders greatly contributed to the rise of slave trade.

~  The Legalization of slave trade in 1802 by Napoleon 1 of France increased the demand for slaves in all French Colonies.

~  The increased number of criminals, war captives, destitute forced African chiefs to sell them off as slaves.

~  The Oman Arabs contributed to the rise in the demand for slaves. This is because they acted as middlemen between the African Swahili people, the Portuguese and French traders. They therefore worked very hard to get slaves in order to obtain revenue from them.

~  The invention of Spanish mines in West indices increased slave demands to work in the mines.

~  The exodus of slaves from East Africa to Northeast Africa, Arabia and Persia contributed to the increase in the demand for slaves. It led to an enormous number of slaves obtained from East Africa being transported to other countries.

~  The movement of Seyyid Said’s capital to Zanzibar led to an increase in slave trade. This is because when Seyyid said settled in Zanzibar in 1840, he embarked on strong plans to open up slave trade routes to the interior of East Africa. This boosted slave trade, whereby the number of slaves being sold at the slave market in Zanzibar annually by that time, reached between 40000 and 45000 thousand slaves.

~  The outbreak of diseases like Nagana led to an increase in slave trade. This is because the beasts of burden (i.e. camels, donkeys, etc) could not be taken on many of the caravan routes. It therefore necessitated people themselves to be involved in the transportation of the trade goods and ivory. Such people included porters who were regarded as slaves, or free Africans who could sell their services in return for cloth and other trade goods.

~  Development of long distance trade that needed slaves to transport goods from the interior of East Africa.

~  Plantation farming increased in some areas, especially the clove plantations were slaves worked.

Organization of slave trade in E. Africa

The middlemen involved were;

  Arab Swahili traders

  African chiefs.

Ways of obtaining slaves

  Selling of domestic slaves in exchange for goods like beads, guns, glass etc

  Selling of criminals, debtors and social misfits in society by the local chiefs to the Arab slave traders.

  Prisoners of war could be sold off.

  Porters were sometimes kidnapped, transported and sold off to the Arab traders.

  Raiding villages, this would begin at night with gun shoots and people would scatter consequently leading to their capture.

  Through inter tribal wars many Africans become destitutes and these would be captured by the slave traders.

  Tax offenders were sold off by the African chiefs.

  They were also captured through ambushes during hunting, travelling and gardening.

  Slaves would be acquired from the main slave trade market in Zanzibar.

  Other Africans are also said to have gone voluntarily in anticipation of great wonders and benefits from the Arab Swahili traders. Slave journey: - Slaves’ journey was a difficult one. They moved long distances on foot.

  Chained, whipped and sometimes killed on the way.

  Had little food and water and experienced extreme suffering.

This is illustrated by a Quotation from Dr. David Livingstone’s Last Journal.  London 1878:“We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead …we saw others tied up in a similar manner, and one lying in the path shot or stabbed for she was in a pool of blood. The explanation we got invariably was that the Arab who owned these victims was enraged at losing the money by the slaves becoming unable to march.”

~  The main slave market where slaves were auctioned was at Zanzibar.

~  The journey across the India Ocean was horrible.

~  Crowded in ships with hardly any space to breath. Ships carried anything from 250 to 600 slaves. They were very overcrowded and packed like spoons with no room even to turn.

~  Whenever they saw anti-slave trade people, slaves would be thrown in the ocean

~  As a result many died in the process.




Effects/Impact of slave trade on people of E. Africa

Positive effects

  1. a) New foods were introduced through trade routes like maize, pawpaws, rice, groundnuts both at the coast and in the interior.
  2. b) Plantation farming increased in some areas, especially the clove plantations were slaves worked.
  3. c) The interior was opened to the outside world this later encouraged the coming of European missionaries. Many European Christian missionaries came to East Africa to preach against slave trade and to campaign for its abolition.
  4. d) The trade routes became permanent routes and inland roads which led to growth of communication networks.
  5. e) Swahili was introduced in land and is now being widely spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Eastern Congo.
  6. f) Islam as a religion was introduced by Arabs and it spread, especially in Yao land and in Buganda land.
  7. g) A new race called Swahili was formed through intermarriages between Arabs and some Africans.
  8. h) There was growth of Arab towns such as Tabora and Ujiji inland.
  9. i) There was emergence of dynamic leaders such as Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
  10. j) Slave trade strengthened the large and powerful states, which could easily get access to guns at the expense of small ones.
  11. k) Slave trade led to a situation whereby power became centralized and no longer with the small, local authority (segimentary societies) mainly to enable African chiefs directly control slave trade.
  12. l) Slave trade encouraged large-scale trade whereby contact was established between the trade masters and indigenous/local population.
  13. m) Africans were dispersed to other parts of the world e.g Arabia, America and West Indies. In Africa, Sierra-Leone and Liberia were founded to accommodate former slaves from Europe and America.

Negative effects

  1. a) African population was reduced; people who would have been great leaders and empire builders were killed. It is estimated that over 15 to 30 million people were sold in to slavery while other millions died in the process being transported.
  2. b) Slave trade brought misery, suffering and lowered the quality of people in East Africa this is because they were reduced to ‘commodities’ which could be bought and sold on land.
  3. c) Villages and families were destroyed and broken up by slave raiders and never to be reunited this later resulted in to loss of identity.
  4. d) Diseases broke out among the overcrowded slaves for example the Spaniards introduced Syphilis and soon it spread to other traders.
  5. e) Slave trade led to displacement of people and many became homeless and destitute many and stayed in Europe with no identity.
  6. f) Economic activities such as farming were disrupted. This is because the young and able craftsmen, traders and farmers were carried off, causing economic stagnation as the economic workforce depleted.
  7. g) Progress slowed down, which resulted in famine, poverty and destitution and helplessness.
  8. h) There was a decline in production of traditional goods such as coffee, beans, bark cloth and iron which greatly hindered the cash economy.
  9. i) There was a decline in African industries which also faced a lot of competition from imported manufactured goods for example the Bark cloth and iron working industries.
  10. j) Guns were introduced into the interior which caused a lot of insecurity and increased incidences of wars for territorial expansion.
  11. k) Clans and tribal units, languages were broken and inter-tribal peace was disturbed for example Swahili language replaced the traditional languages in the interior.

Abolition of slave trade

Reasons why it was difficult to stop slave trade

~  Slavery existed before in Africa societies that is to say, domestic slavery and internal slave trade, which provided a favourable situation for continuation of the lucrative  slave trade.

~  The Abolition movement which had begun in Britain and her overseas territory first took effect in West Africa. The decline in West African trade encouraged the expansion of trade in East Africa especially with America and West Indies.

~  Slave trade was difficult to stop because of division of African tribes against each other .This meant that African tribes would find it difficult to unite together and resist the slave

traders, who raided their societies using organized bands of men.

~  Disregard of human life, many African rulers tended to put less value for the lives of their subjects whom they ruled for example quite often, a ruler of a tribe would easily order his warriors to attack the villages of his subjects and seize their property, kill some of them.

~  Active participation and willing cooperation of African chiefs and coastal traders who were making a lot of profits made the slave trade last for so long.

~  Many European countries depended on the products of slave labour in West Indies and America for example, British industries depended on raw sugar, raw cotton and unprocessed minerals from America which she was not willing to lose.

~  European slave merchants and Africans involved in the trade were blinded by the huge profits made from the trade.

~  There was smuggling of slaves outside the forbidden areas. Slave traders would pretend to sail northwards when sighted by British patrol ships but would change course after British navy ships had disappeared.

~  Other European countries refused to co-operate with Britain to end slave trade because they had not yet become industrialized, and therefore they still benefited from it for example Portugal and Spain.

~  The only economic alternative of slave trade was Agriculture which was not reliable compared to the booming slave trade.

~  The anti slavery campaign was too expensive for Britain alone to compensate slave owners.

~  Stopping slave trade in the interior was difficult because Arabs were in control  of large areas.

~  The East African coastline was long which delayed the anti-slavery group penetration in the interior.

~  Due to the tropical climate, most British personnel were affected by malaria which hindered the stopping of Slave trade.

~  Seyyid Said and Barghash were always unwilling to end slave trade at once due to fear of losing revenue and risk of rebellion by Arabs who found it profitable.

~  The anti-slavery group was small compared to the East African Coast.

~  European powers continued with slave trade, they shipped the slave cargos in to ships bearing American Flags.

Factors that led to the abolition of slave trade

It was the British government that began the abolition of the slave trade during the years,1822 – 1826 . This was because of the pressure by various groups based on different factors;

  1. a) Rise of humanitarians in Europe such as Christians and scholars condemned it on moral grounds. The missionaries wanted it to be stopped because they wanted good conditions for the spread of Christianity. The formation of the humanitarian movements in England aimed at stopping all kinds of cruelty including slave trade, flogging of soldiers and child labour.
  2. b) Industrialization in Britain was one of the main forces behind the abolition .E.g. Britain industrialists urged its abolition because they wanted Afr icans to be left in Africa so that Africa can be a source of raw materials for their industries, market for European manufactured goods and a place for new investment of surplus capital.
  3. c) Formation of Anti-slavery movement and the abolitionist movement in 1787. Its

chairman was Granville Sharp and others like Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce who gathered facts and stories about the brutality of slave trade and slavery to arouse public opinion in Britain.

  1. d) Religious revival in Europe, Anglicans preached and condemned slave trade as being opposed to laws of God and humanity. Catholic popes also protested against the trade and prohibited it. In 1774, many religious leaders served as examples when they liberated their slaves in England.
  2. e) The French revolution of 1789 and the American revolution of 1776 emphasized liberty, equality and fraternity (brotherhood) of all human beings. As a result, people began to question whether anyone had a right to deprive fellow man of his liberty when he had done wrong.
  3. f) The British desire to protect their national interests, British planters wanted slave trade stopped to avoid competition with other European planters .This is because other planters were producing cheaper sugar, British sugar accumulated hence the need to stop over production.
  4. g) The rise of men with new ideas e.g. Prof. Adam Smith(challenged the economic

arguments which were the basis of slave trade when he argued convincingly that hired labour is cheaper and more productive than slave labour, Rou sseau spread the idea of personal liberty and equality of all men.

  1. h) Slaves had become less profitable and yet had led to over population in Europe.
  2. i) Influential abolitionists like William Wilberforce ( a British member of parliament ) urged the British government to legislate against the slave trade in her colonies.
  3. j) The ship owners stopped transporting slaves from Africa and began transporting raw materials directly from Africa and America to Europe, which led to a decline in slave trade.

Steps in the abolition of slave trade

The movement to abolish slave trade started in Britain with the formation of Antislavery movement. The British government abolished the slave trade through anti slave laws (Legislation), treaties and use of force. The Anti – slavery movement was led by Granville sharp, other members were Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and others.

~   The first step was taken in 1772 when slavery was declared illegal and abolished in Britain. The humanitarians secured judgment against slavery from the British court.

~   In 1807, British parliament outlawed slave trade for British subjects.

~  1817 British negotiated the “reciprocal search treaties” with Spain and Portugal.

~  Equipment treaties signed with Spain 1835 Portugal 1842 and America 1862.

~  In E. Africa in 1822 Moresby treaty was signed between Captain Moresby and Sultan Seyyid Said it forbade the shipping of slaves outside the sultan’s territories. British ships were authorized to stop and search suspected Arab slave-carrying dhows. ~  In 1845, Hamerton treaty was signed between Colonel Hamerton and Sultan  Seyyid Said. It forbade the shipping of slaves outside the Sultan‘s East African possessions, i.e., beyond Brava to the north.

~   In 1871 the British set up a parliamentary commission of inquiry to investigate and report on slave trade in E. Africa.

~  In 1872 Sir Bartle Frere persuaded Sultan Barghash to stop slave trade but not much was achieved.

On 5th March 1873, the Sultan passed a decree prohibiting the export of slaves from main land and closing of slave market at Zanzibar. Zanzibar slave market was to be closed within 24 hours.

~  1876 the Sultan decreed that no slaves were to be transported overland.

~  1897 decree left slaves to claim their freedom themselves

~  1907, slavery was abolished entirely in Zanzibar and Pemba.

~  In 1927, slavery ended in Tanganyika when Britain took over from Germany after the 2nd world war.

Effects of abolition of slave trade

  1. a) The suppression of slave trade led to loss of independence that is to say, it confirmed among the Arabs and Swahilis that the Sultan had lost independence over the East African coast, and that he was now a British puppet .
  2. b) The suppression of slave trade led to development and growth of legitimate trade which provided equally profitable business to both Europeans and African traders.

Many ship owners diverted   their ships from transporting slaves to transporting raw cotton and raw sugar from Brazil and America.

  1. c) It accelerated the coming of European missionaries to East Af rica who emphasized peace and obedience thus the later European colonization of East Africa.
  2. d) Disintegration of the sultan Empire. This is because it loosened the economic and political control which the sultan had over the East African nations .His empire in E.A. therefore began to crumble .This gave opportunity to other ambitious leaders like Tippu-Tip to create an independent state in Manyema ,where he began selling his ivory and slaves to the Belgians in Zaire.
  3. e) The abolition of slave trade was a catalyst to the partition of East Africa where by Britain took over Kenya, Zanzibar and Uganda and Germany took over Tanganyika.
  4. f) Slave trade markets were also closed for example Zanzibar in 1873 following the frère treaty signed between Sultan Barghash and Bantle Frere.
  5. g) Islam became unpopular as many converted to Christianity.
  6. h) African societies regained their respect and strength as they were no longer sold off as commodities.

Development and organization of long distance trade

Local trade refers to the exchange of goods among members of a community.

Regional trade involves exchange of goods between a community and her neigbouring communities.Long distance trade was the exchange of trade goods between communities over long distance, for example between the east African interior and the east African coast.

The organization of long distance trade

~  The communities that participated in the long distance trade were the Akamba, Swahili, Arabs, Yao, nyamwezi, Mijikenda and Baganda.

~  The trade developed because of the demand for ivory in Europe and the United States of America, slaves for plantation agriculture at the coast and in Mauritius and reunion sugar plantations

~  Ivory and slaves from the interior were exchanged for cloth. Utensils, ironware, zinc and beads at the coast.The system of trade were barter.

~  The middlemen included the Mijikenda and the Akamba who obtained slaves and ivory from the interior. The Akamba adopted the long distance trade after the outbreak of famine in 1836 and due to the central location of their country.

~  The Akamba organized caravans that left for the coast on weekly basis to sell ivory, gum copra, honey, bees wax, rhinoceros horns and skins. They had prosperous traders like chief Kivoi who is remembered for organizing the trade.

~  They set up markets and routes in the interior.

~  The source of slaves and ivory extended as far as Mt. Kenya region, Baringo and the shores of Lake Victoria.

~  The trade led to the development of Mombasa and Lamu as important market points.

~  The Waswahili and Mijikenda traders were also used in the trading caravans to the interior.

~  By 1860s, Arabs and Swahili traders started penetrating to the interior of Kenya as far as Uganda.

~  In Kenya, the main trading centres were taveta, Mbooni hills, elureko in Wanga and Miazini near Ngong and along Lake Baringo.

~  By 1870, the Akamba dominance in the trade declined as a result of competition from the Arab and Waswahili traders who began penetrating into the interior to get goods from the source.

~  Movement between the interior and the coast was carried out in caravans along well defined routes.

~  The trade routes became insecure due to the Oromo and Maasai raids.

~  The abolition of slave trade also affected the long distance trade.

~  In Tanganyika, the Yao, nyamwezi, Arabs and Waswahili were great traders. The Yaoexchanged tobacco, hoes, and animal skins at Kilwa with imported goods like cloth and beads. They were also the principal suppliers of ivory and slaves to Kilwa. The Yao were the most active long distance traders in east Africa.

~  The Arabs and Waswahili traders organized caravans into the interior and set up markets and trade routes. They were given security by Seyyid said who signed treaties with Chief Fundikira of the Nyamwezi to allow the Arab traders to pass through his territory.

~  They established interior Arab settlements at Tabora which became the centre of Arab culture.

~  The nyamwezi organized trading expeditions under their chiefs upto the coast with ivory, copper, slaves, wax hoes, salt and copra. They returned with cloths, beads and mirrors. They established trade routes such as the route from Ujiji via Tabora to Bagamoyo. They travelled to Katanga in DRC for iron, salt and copper. By 1850 nyamwezi merchants such as Msiri , and leaders like Nyungu ya Mawe and Mirambo played a key role in the trade development.

~  When the Arab and Waswahili traders arrived in Buganda, the kabaka welcomed them because he needed their goods such as beads, cloths, guns etc. He also wanted assistance in aiding his neighbours. E.g the invasion of Busoga in 1848 was assisted by the Arab traders. From the raids to Bunyoro, Toro, and ankole and Buvuma and Ukerewe islands, the Baganda acquired cattle, ivory, slaves and grains which the sold to the Arabs.

~  The Khartoumers also practiced long distance trade. They raided the northern part of Uganda for ivory and slaves.

~  Arab and Waswahili traders ventured into the Bunyoro kingdom by 1877 for ivory.

~  There were three main trade routes that linked east African coast and the interior;

  1. a) From Mombasa through the Mijikenda area onto Taita-taveta then branching into two. One leading to Kilimanjaro onto the Lake Victoria region the diversion was to evade the hostile Maasai. . The other branch proceeded northwards from taveta across Galan River into Ukambani then to mt Kenya region and further west. Taveta became an important point on these routes.
  2. b) The route from Kilwa to Yao then branching southwards to Cewa in Zimbabwe.
  3. c) From Bagamoyo to Tabora where it branched northwards to Buganda and another branch to Ujiji then to Zaire.


Effects of the Long distance trade on the people of East Africa

  1. a) The trade led to Development of towns e.g. Mombasa, Lamu, Kilwa, Pemba and Zanzibar.
  2. b) It increased the volume of local and regional trade as varieties of new goods were introduced.
  3. c) There was the Emergence of a class of wealthy Africans along the coast and the interior as Arab, African and Waswahili merchants acquired a lot of wealth. E.g. Kivoi of Ukambani, Ngonyo of Mijikenda, Tippu tip, Msiri, Nyungu ya mawe of nyamwezi, Mwakikonga of the Digo etc.
  4. d) There was Introduction of foreign goods such as beads, cloth and plates to the peoples of East Africa.
  5. e) The trade led to Introduction of new crops to the coast e.g. bananas, rice sugarcane and mangoes.
  6. f) Arab and Waswahili traders introduced Islam to the East African Coast. They also introduced Islamic culture along the coast.
  7. g) Development of plantation agriculture in Malindi and Mombasa due increased slave trade.
  8. h) It led to the development of trade routes and market centres in the region. Such routes later became important highways during the colonial rule and upto today.
  9. i) Traders gave reports about the coast, its strategic and commercial stability leading to the colonization of East Africa.
  10. j) It led to the development of a money economy that replaced barter trade
  11. k) The trade facilitated the colonization of east Africa as the interior was exposed to the outside world.

Development and organization of international trade

The east African coast also participated in international trade during the 19

Th century with traders from different countries such as USA, Britain and France.

Factors that facilitated the development of international trade

  1. a) The existing earlier trade links between east Africa and the Far East before this period.
  2. b) The existence of regional trade which became a means through which goods such as ivory were acquired from the interior to be used in the international trade.
  3. c) The role played by Seyyid said through encouraging the foreign traders to come to the coast. He even signed treaties with them. He also gave letters of introduction to the Arab caravans leading into the interior.
  4. d) The improvement of the monetary system by Seyyid said facilitated the trade. He introduced the small copper coins from India to supplement the silver currency (Maria Theresa dollars and the Spanish Crown). He also employed the services of the Indian Banyans or Baluchis (Money Lenders) who organized credit facilities for the caravans going into the interior.
  5. e) There was a high demand for goods from the coast and the international community. Trade goods on demand were also readily available. E.g Gold ivory slaves cloths, beads, and guns.
  6. f) The existence of deep natural harbours and the attractive beaches lured many foreigners to the region.
  7. g) The existence of a class of wealthy merchants facilitated the trade.
  8. h) The establishment of specific trade routes and markets such as Zanzibar, Kilwa and Mombasa facilitated the movement and exchange of goods.
  9. i) The sultan’s identification of Britain as the sole trading agents in the interior overcame any rivalries which could have led to competition and decline of regional trade which would have in turn affected the international trade.
  10. j) The development of a sound trading policy by Seyyid said to ensure international market for his grains, coconuts and ivory. He developed trade links with Europe and America by signing treaties with USA in 1833 that opened a consulate in Zanzibar in 1837. He signed a similar treaty with Britain in 1839 that opened a consulate in Zanzibar in 1941. With France in 1844 and Germany in 1871.The arrival of IBEACo with William McKinnon further strengthened international trade links and increased the volume trade.

Consequences of international trade

  1. a) Through the trade, the east African coast was exposed to the outside world.
  2. b) Some of the European traders later spread their faith thus leading o the spread of Christianity in east Africa.
  3. c) The international trade fostered good relations between the east African coast and European nations and USA.
  4. d) The contacts between the coast and European powers later contributed to the colonization o east Africa by Britain and Germany.
  5. e) New trade goods and crops were introduced to the coast.
  6. f) Participants in the trade grew richer and exhibited high standards of living.
  7. g) The slave trade led to sufferings, killings and increased warfare.



Christian missions were organized efforts to spread the Christian faith for the purpose of extending religious teaching at home or abroad. Their coming of Christian missionaries to East Africa and Africa in general was based on a number of motives which were humanitarian, economic, political and social in nature. The Portuguese were the first to introduce Christianity to the east African coast in the 15th c.This attempt however had little success. By the 19th century, a number of missionary groups worked in East Africa and these included;

  1. The Church Missionary Society
  2. The Holy Ghost Fathers
  3. The University Missionary Society to Central Africa
  4. The White Fathers
  5. The Methodist Fathers
  6. The Mill Hill Fathers
  7. The London Missionary Society

Reasons for the coming of Christian missionaries in East Africa

  1. a) The missionaries had the ambition to spread Christianity to the people of East Africa. This would be through preaching and teaching the holy gospel so that many would get converted to Christianity.
  2. b) They wanted to fight against slave trade in East Africa. Earlier travelers like John Speke and James Grant, H.M. Stanley, Dr. David Livingstone and others had reported about the evils of slave trade in East Africa.
  3. c) They wanted to check on the spread of Islam in East Africa from the coast with intentions of converting many to Christianity.
  4. d) Some missionaries came because they had been invited by certain African chiefs, For example, Mutesa I of Buganda wrote a letter through H.M Stanley inviting missionaries to Buganda.
  5. e) They came to establish legitimate trade in East Africa. They, for instance wanted to trade in items like glass, cloths, etc. as Dr. Livingstone told Cambridge University students, “I go back to Africa to make an open pass for commerce and Christianity…..” Similarly, his speech in 1857 emphasized the unity between Christianity and Commerce.
  6. f) The missionaries also loved to adventure and explore the interior of East Africa. For example Dr. John Ludwig Kraft of CMS is said to have been the first European to see Mt.

Kenya while Johann Redman was the first to see Mt. Kilimanjaro.

  1. g) They had a mission to clear the way for the colonization of East Africa. The missionaries were tasked by their home governments to preach ideas of love, respect, brotherhood, forgiveness, tolerance and non violence so that when the colonialists come, they would meet less resistance from the East Africans.
  2. h) It’s also argued that missionaries wanted to “civilize” East Africans. They argued that they came to stop some of the barbaric acts and customs e.g. Female Genital Mutilation among the Kikuyu in Kenya, human sacrifices and the practice of killing twins.
  3. i) The information they gave about important places like the source of the Nile, fertile soils, river falls and the climate all attracted the missionaries into East Africa. Early contacts by travelers like Stanley, Speke and Grant, among others encouraged missionaries to come.
  4. j) The expulsion of some of the missionaries from other parts of Africa led them into East Africa. For example Johann Ludwig Kraft and Johann Redman are said to have been expelled from Ethiopia around 1842 before they chose to relocate to East Africa.

Missionary Activities in East Africa

The pioneer missionaries in East Africa were the Church Missionary Society led by the Germans John Krapt and Johann Rebmann who arrived in East Africa around 1844 and 1846 respectively. Krapt arrived and established a mission station at Rabai.

When they realized they were not making any great impact at the coast, the two moved into the interior visiting the Akamba and Taita. The CMS set up stations in Taita and taveta.They were the first Europeans to see Mount Kilimanjaro in 1847. Krapt discovered the source of River Tana and was the first European to see Mount Kenya in 1849.

In 1949, Jacob Erhardt, a Germany explorer joined them and became the first European to draw a crude map of east Africa fro then stories he heard from traders.

In 1862, the united Methodist Church led by Thomas Wakefield arrived from Britain and settled at the coast. They established a station at Rabai. They also set up mission stations at Jomvu and Lamu. They were able to convert some people among the Mijikenda.

In 1863, the University Mission Society to Central Africa moved to Zanzibar where a mission was started from Re-union and later to Bagamoyo. Cardinal Lavigerie’s formation of the White Fathers Mission in Algeria (1863) extended to other parts of Africa. In 1875, Freetown Mission a centre for freed slaves was established. By 1889, about 1400 slaves had settled in Freetown. In 1877, the Church Missionary Society mission arrived in Buganda while the white fathers arrived in 1879. In 1891, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland arrived in Kenya and began their work at Kibwezi in Machakos. In 1898, the Church of Scotland Mission arrived at Kikuyu and set up a mission station at Thogoto. Members of the African Inland Church from the United States of America established their station at Nzaui in Machakos. They then spread to Kijabe, Nandi, Kabarnet and Nyakach in Nyanza. The catholic missionary societies, like the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Consolata Fathers arrived in Zanzibar but later moved to Mombasa in 1890 . They advanced interior and founded stations among the Akamba and among the Agikuyu towards the end of the Century. The Holy Ghost fathers established a station at St Austin’s near Nairobi in 1899 while the Consolata fathers from Italy opened a station in Nyeri in 1907The Mill Hill Fathers reached Kenya from Uganda.In 1902, the Friends Missions arrived at Kaimosi. By 1914 there were many missionary societies working in western Kenya. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Quakers (Friends Mission) and the Church of God Mission. The roles of these missionaries varied enormously depending on the colonial context and their relations with the colonial authorities.

Missionaries in Tanganyika

The missionaries here enjoyed the support of the sultan of Zanzibar, Seyyid Said.

At Zanzibar, the Roman Catholic missionaries began to follow the lead of CMS in taking interest in East Africa. The CMS began a freed slave centre at Freetown in 1875 where the freed slaves were taught Christianity and formal education. The slave villages later became Christian outposts. The CMS finally reached Uganda in 1879 where they were later joined by the White Fathers from Tabora and Ujiji.In 1863, a group of missionaries from the Holy Ghost Fathers arrived from Reunion where they had been working among freed slaves and began their work in Zanzibar. They also began a freed slave settlement at Bagamoyo. By 1885, they had set up five villages that were to act as Christian outposts

Missionary work in Tanganyika was motivated by the reports given by Dr, David Livingstone on the horrors of slave trade.In 1863, the University Mission Society to Central Africa under Bishop Tozer moved to Zanzibar where a mission was started from Re-union and later to Bagamoyo.  Dr.Livingstone of UMCA also worked I Ujiji in 1871 where he met with Henry Morton Stanley, a journalist who had been sent to look for him.

In 1875, the London Missionary Society set up a mission post around Lake Tanganyika.

Missionaries in Uganda

The pioneer missionaries were the members of the CMS based in Tabora, Tanganyika.

The first protestant missionaries were sent from England in 1876 after a letter that was sent by Henry Morton Stanley confirming Kabaka Mutesa I’s invitation. They came in through Tabora and Usukuma and reached Rubaga, mutesa’s capital in 1877 where they set up a church. In 1879, the Roman Catholic Missionaries and White Fathers followed also from Tabora and Kibanga.The Protestants and Catholics were supported by Kabaka Mwanga though he did not want them to work outside the capital and beyond the royal family. This arrangement did not favour Missionary work in Uganda.Soon there ensued rivalry between the Catholics and protestants. The kabaka had also embraced Muslims and African traditionalists to the level of generating the infamous religious and political conflicts that rocked the kingdom eventually leading to its colonization.Missionary work expanded upto lake Nyasa. For example the Scottish Mission of the Livingstone Mission and the church of Scotland Mission set upstatations around lake Nyasa in 1876.

Activities of Christian missionaries in East Africa

The following were the activities carried out by the Christian missionaries in East Africa.

  1. a) Missionaries carried out evangelization. They tried to convert and baptize many people into Christianity from their paganism and Islam.
  2. b) Christian missionaries carried out linguistic research and came up with new developments in language. Dr Kraft for example translated the Bible into Swahili and wrote a Swahili dictionary and grammar hence making it easy for people to understand the Bible more.
  3. c) The Christian missionaries built many churches in East Africa many of which are still in existence. They for example set up a church at Zanzibar, Rubaga and Rabai missionary station near Mombasa. This enhanced evangelization into the local population.
  4. d) They carried out exploration work into the discovery of various East African physical features. For example, Kraft was the first European to see Mt. Kenya in 1849 while Rebmann was the first to European see Kilimanjaro in 1848.
  5. e) Christian missionaries set up stations for free rehabilitation services for example in 1868 the Holy Ghost Fathers set up a home for the free slaves at Zanzibar.
  6. f) Christian missionaries participated in skill development in East Africa. They for example participated in modernizing Agriculture and carpentry by setting up agricultural institutionsand carpentry workshops for training.
  7. g) Christian missionaries were also influential in establishing educational institutions and training efficient class of African clergy (catechists) who were close and more understandable to the local communities. This helped and enhanced the propagation of faith.
  8. h) Christian missionaries were at times involved in political processes that were beyond spiritual jurisdiction. They for example participated in the overthrow of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda. They also acted as front runners in the colonization process.

Reasons for the success of missionary work in East Africa

  1. a) The missionaries faced no strong opposition from any religion. Islam was only greatly dominant at the coast.
  2. b) The evils of slave trade made East Africans welcome missionaries as liberators. Their campaign against slave trade won them much support from different tribes in East Africa.
  3. c) The support they got from some of the local chiefs and kings led to their success. For instance, the sultan of Zanzibar gave them immense support. Mutesa I of Buganda and Mirambo of Nyamwezi all gave them protection as well as rights to do their work in their territories.
  4. d) The earlier explores helped to map out potential areas of East Africa for smooth missionary work. For instance, H.M Stanley had identified Buganda as a hospitable community for the missionaries and they were later welcomed by the Kabaka of Buganda in 1877.
  5. e) The support missionaries got from their home governments led them to success. This was inform of finance and physical manpower for instance colonial governments   gave protection to the missionaries whenever they were challenged by local chiefs or other threats. For instance Captain Lugard supported the Prot estants in the religious wars in Buganda.
  6. f) Some missionary groups sought for alliances with African chiefs. Such treaties of friendship made their work easy since the chiefs would call on their subjects to take on the missionary teachings.
  7. g) The missionaries’ efforts to translate the bible into several local languages helped them succeed for example Kraft translated the New Testament of the Bible into Swahili and wrote a Swahili dictionary and a Grammar book.
  8. h) The missionaries also received the support of African converts in spreading the Gospel. Converts could now teach in their mother tongue and therefore overcame the language barrier.
  9. i) The industrial revolution had provided such technology like the printing press which made printing of bibles and other academic work easy.
  10. j) Their efforts in life saving services like medical care (Quinine) won them great admiration among the people of East Africa that few were ready to oppose them. The discovery of quinine also facilitated their work as it cured tropical diseases.
  11. k) The missionaries’ practical skills enabled them to survive even when their supplies from home delayed. They for instance adopted agriculture as soon as they settled anywhere. This ensured steady supply of food.
  12. l) The building of the Kenya Uganda railway greatly encouraged missionary work in the interior. The missionaries could now travel between the coast and the interior.
  13. m) Political stability in East Africa favoured missionary work because missionaries could settle.
  14. n) The emergence of the African independent church movement boosted the spread of

Christianity. African initiatives to Africanize Christianity encouraged its growth in East Africa..

  1. o) The death of Dr. David Livingstone in 1873 and other earlier missionaries increased the determination by many groups to see missionary work succeed in Africa, and East Africa in particular. E.g. the London news paper wrote after his death, “the work for Africa must hence forth begin in earnest where Livingstone left it off.”
  2. p) Establishment of resettlement centers for freed slaves e.g. at Bagamoyo and Frere town near Mombasa where skills like carpentry, and agriculture were taught. Such communities thus looked at missionary work as “a life- saving mission”

Problems faced by missionaries in East Africa

Christian missionaries in East Africa were faced with various problems which clipped their activities at times. These include:

  1. a) They faced the problem of language barrier. This was because East Africa had a multiplicity of languages hence rendering communication between the missionaries and the local people very difficult.
  2. b) There was a problem of the influence of Islam. Arabs being the first group of people to arrive at the coast and interior had deep rooted Islam into the people thus making it difficult for the people to easily adopt Christianity. For example, by the time Sir Edward Frere arrived in East Africa (1873) Rebmann had only 6 converts.
  3. c) Existence of tropical diseases was yet another problem faced by the Christian missionaries. Tropical diseases like malaria, small pox, claimed many missionary lives thus making progress in their activities very difficult since they could be left very few in numbers.
  4. d) Another hardship was caused by geographical barriers. These included hilly areas, rivers, lakes and forests. These hindered their free movement to various places thus a threat to their activities.
  5. e) Divisions and quarrels between various missionary groups for example Catholics versus Protestants was a hindrance to their activities. This could create divisions and biases among the believers thus weakening their capacity to convert more converts.
  6. f) Poor transport was a hindrance to the missionary activities in East Africa. This was due to undeveloped roads at the time to help in the movement of missionaries from one place to another.
  7. g) Presence of hostile tribes in East Africa was also a problem that faced Christian missionaries. The Nandi and Maasai who believed that strangers were not supposed to pass via their land could attack and kill many missionaries thereby reducing their numbers compared to the increasing number of converts.
  8. h) The presence of wild animals was also a threat to the missionary activities in East Africa. Man enters in Tsavo National Park consumed and threatened many whites. This clipped their activities at times.
  9. i) The missionaries faced the problem of lack of supplies. They for example lacked enough money, accommodation and drugs. This was because they originated from very far (Europe) thus making it difficult for them to have full time and constant supplies. Such put their lives at risk and could sometimes lead to death.
  10. j) The Christian missionaries faced the problem of stiff contradiction and rivals between European missionaries and traditional Africans. Customs like polygamy, satanic worship, etc were deep rooted into African communities which proved a threat for the missionaries to successfully uproot them.
  11. k) The missionaries made their work difficult by involving in politics and judicial systems which were beyond spiritual jurisdiction. Local leaders could misinterpret them as political rivals and organize their masses for resistance against missionary activities.

Effects of missionaries in East Africa

(a)  They spread Christianity and baptized many converts. Catechists were also trained who helped in the spread of Christianity for example, in Kenya by 1911 many people had been converted and many cathedrals and churches were built like the Kikuyu churches (Charismatic Arathi or spirit churches.)

(b)  African religious beliefs, culture and traditions were despised and demoralized for example the birth and murder of twins, human sacrifice.

(c)  They established hospitals and clinics which offered modern medicine plus research in tropical diseases like malaria, small pox, yellow fever and sleeping sickness which had claimed many lives. For example, the Mission Hospitals at Rabai, Thogoto, Kaimosi e.t.c.   Dr Albert Cook built Mengo hospital.

(d)  They introduced the European system of management and styles of dress and architecture which have been adopted by many people in East Africa today.

(e)  They put to an end the inter-tribal or inter-village wars and established a stable and peaceful society under one faithful leader (centralization).

(f)  They studied African languages and translated the Bible into various languages. For example Kraft translated the New Testament of the Bible into Swahili, Bishop Edward Steere based inZanzibar learnt and studied Swahili and translated books from English to Swahili, published the New Testament and the entire Bible in 1891.

(g)  They established printing presses like Marianum press and published newspapers.

(h)  They opened up primary and secondary schools as well as training collages for teachers and trade schools for craftsmen e.g. Alliance High School, Kisubi Vocational School. In the technical schools, carpentry and brick laying skills were obtained.

(i)  A new class of elite emerged. Africans educated mainly in English and French emerged, these later served as doctors, lawyers, clerks, teachers, catechists, agriculturalists and priests who played a great role of spreading Christianity. For example, in 1890, Africans

were ordained as priests of the University Mission to Central Africa in Tanganyika.

(j)  They paved way for the improvement of agriculture through establishing experimental farms and plantations where new crops, better methods of farming and equipment   were introduced for example cotton was introduced by Kenneth Boroup in 1903 and Africans were taught how to use a plough and how to grow coffee.

(k)  Missionaries improved communication and transport which in turn led to the opening up of the hinterland of Africa. The building of strong boats and ships gave Europeans courage to travel far from home.

(l)  Missionaries destroyed local industries like craft industry e.g. blacksmiths, pottery work were all destroyed and replaced with European products e.g. manufactured items like cups, saucepans, etc.

(m)  They contributed to the rise of nationalism. This was made possible through education where the African elite emerged and started demanding for independence e.g. Tom Mboya, Obote, Nyerere, and Kenyatta.

(n)  They fought slave trade which was later abolished and equality and liberty for all was encouraged in East Africa.

(o)  Mission stations were developed in towns like Rabai missionary station near Mombasa.

Role of Christian missionaries in the colonization of East Africa

  1. a) Missionaries signed treaties which were later used by colonialists to take over colonies e.g. Tucker, a British Missionary interpreted the 1900 Buganda Agreement to the regents of Kabaka Daudi Chwa II. This led to loss of political, economic and social powers to the British protectorate government. Sir Harry John stone who signed on behalf of the British government confessed that;
  2. b) Missionaries supplied information to the colonialists which they utilized to plan how to effectively impose their colonial rule on how to crash the African resistance. In the religious wars in Buganda, the British fought behind the Protestants.
  3. c) In fact there was a reciprocal relationship between missionaries and the colonialists that is why missionaries laid the ground work before the partitioners offered missionaries protection for the success of their evangelization mission.
  4. d) The Church missionary society managed to raise enough funds for Imperial British East African Company for its staying in Uganda for at least 2 or more years. The church missionary society and Captain Lugard viewed that the company’s withdraw would live theBritish and the protestant party in a dangerous position versus Moslems.
  5. e) Missionaries enhanced the growth of tropical raw materials like coffee, cotton to satisfy the British industrialists urge but disguising everything in Christianity. Bishop K. Boroup for example introduced cotton in Uganda.
  6. f) They appealed to their home governments for protection in case of attack. It is in this light that Britain came to Uganda during the religious wars of 1884-1892 and later occupied Uganda.
  7. g) They created a collaborating class by luring it religiously and materially. This class helped colonialists to fight resistors despite the fact that they were all Africans.
  8. h) In their evangelization role, they brain washed Africans with biblical teachings as “love your neighbor as you love yourself”, “blessed are the humble for the kingdom of God is theirs”, etc. With these preaching’s they made potential resistance important.
  9. i) Religion was a mechanism of divide and rule. The converts and the non-converts hated each other which caused division to the advantage of the Europeans.
  10. j) Collaboration with chattered companies, European Christian missionaries and their converts worked hand in hand with the Imperial British East African Company to defeat Kabalega’s resistance.
  11. k) Missionary stations served as military bases from where the European colonial forces

launched attacks on the resisting Africans. African Lugard used old Kampala hill as a military base against Kabalega.

  1. l) Mission stations served as colonial government headquarters. The established mission infrastructure was used to help in the establishment and sustenance of European colonial rule.
  2. m) Colonialists lacked skilled manpower, so the missionaries by design or accident were very faithful servants of the colonial government i.e. they were Colonial government servants.
  3. n) They created a peaceful atmosphere for the germination of colonialism in areas of hostility. This is because they emphasized the centralized leadership where peace and obedience were expected.
  4. o) Missionaries also trained manpower through introduction of education which was used by colonialists. This was done through teaching those academic subjects and manual skills like use of a plough and how to grow coffee.
  5. p) They acted as interpreters e.g. Tucker in the 1900 Buganda agreement.
  6. q) Through conversion of the Buganda chiefs and pages before Buganda commoners it meant that each party i.e. the Church Missionary Society and France had gained converts. This was a political security of sympathy to the Christian missionaries as against the Kabaka in Buganda’s leadership. This indirectly undermined the Kabaka’s authority and respect i.e. his traditional power base was being eroded.


What is citizenship?

This refers to the legal right of a person to belong to a particular country. A Kenyan citizen is a person who has the legal right to belong, live and do freely all that has to do with their life in Kenya.


Ways in which Kenyan citizenship can be acquired.

  1. a) By birth.
  2. b) By registration.

Citizenship by birth

The following are the Ways through which citizenship by birth is acquired in Kenya.

  1. a) A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.
  2. b) A child found in Kenya who is, or appears to be, less than eight years of age, and whose nationality and parents are not known, is presumed to be a citizen by birth.
  3. c) A person who is a Kenyan citizen by birth and who has ceased to be a Kenyan citizen because the person acquired citizenship of another country, is entitled on application to regain Kenyan citizenship.

Citizenship by registration

Conditions for qualification to apply for Citizenship by registration are as follows:

  1. a) If a person has been married to a Kenyan citizen for a period of at least seven years.
  2. b) If A person who has been lawfully resident in Kenya for a continuous period of at least seven years applies to be registered.
  3. c) If a child who is not a citizen, is adopted by a citizen and applies to be registered.
  4. d) Citizenship may be granted to individuals who are citizens of other countries that allow Kenyans citizenship in their countries.

Revocation of citizenship

The revocation of citizenship by registration may happen under the following circumstances.

  1. a) If a person acquired citizenship by fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact.
  2. b) If the person has, during any war in which Kenya was engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with any business that was knowingly carried on in such a manner as to assist an enemy in that war.
  3. c) If the person has, within five years after registration, been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years or longer.
  4. d) If a person has, at any time after registration, been convicted of treason, or of an offence for which a penalty of at least seven years imprisonment may be imposed.

Citizenship by birth may be revoked under the following circumstance

  1. a) If the citizenship was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact by any person.
  2. b) If the nationality or parentage of the person becomes known, and reveals that the person was a citizen of another country.
  3. c) If the age of the person becomes known, and reveals that the person was older than eight years when found in Kenya.The concept of “Dual citizenship”.

   a citizen by birth does not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country.

Rights and responsibilities of a Kenyan citizen

Human rights

Human rights refers to the accepted principles of fairness and justice- or the universal moral rights that belong equally to all people in their capacity as human beings.

Components of human rights

Every human right must fulfill these three fundamental conditions;

  1. a) Condition of life, which is necessary for development of human personality
  2. b) A Social character (since it presupposes existence of other members of the society)
  3. c) It must be enjoyed equally by all members of the society.

The constitution of Kenya contains the rights of the individuals and special groups such as children, the youth and people with disabilities. It gives the state the responsibility of guaranteeing these rights. The rights are contained in chapter 4 of the current constitution under the bill of rights. This chapter is not merely an integral part of the constitution of Kenya; it is the fundamental basis for the establishment of the state.Human rights and fundamental freedoms are recognized and protected in the constitution because they preserve the dignity of individuals and communities, and promote social justice

The rights and freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights

  1. Right to life

Life begins at conception and no child should be deprived of life deliberately. Abortion is not therefore permitted unless occasioned by the need for emergency treatment or life of the mother is in danger.

People who attempt to commit suicide are also punishable on the strength of their right

Limitations of the right to life

 A court of law can sentence one to death if found guilty of an offence punishable by death


Instances when the right to life may be taken away:

 When one is defending one’s life or country as is the case during war.

 When defending one’s property against violent attack.

  When a law enforcement officer’s life is endangered, for example when apprehending armed criminals.

  1. Equality and freedom from discrimination

Every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law. This means that both men and women are equal before the law. Any form of discrimination is illegal and is prohibited in the constitution.

  1. Human dignity

Every person’s dignity should be respected and protected. One must not ridicule or embarrass other members of society.

  1. Freedom and security of a person

This right protects a person from being detained without a good reason and without trial. No person will be subjected to physical or psychological torture, corporal punishment or cruel and inhuman treatment. Each citizen must also protect the freedom and security of others. It is unlawful for one to subject his or her spouse to either psychological or physical abuse.

  1. Freedom from slavery, servitude and forced labour

No one should be held in servitude or slavery or perform forced labour. Every employer should treat his or her employees with dignity and not to force them to work.

  1. Right to privacy

Every person has a right NOT to have him or herself, his or her property searched, or his or her possessions seized. Not revealing a person’s family or private affairs unnecessarily or private communications interfered with.

Exceptions to this right:

The law allows police officers, tax inspectors and other government agents to search private homes or business premises for purpose of health inspection, tax collection or any other officially sanctioned reason.

  1. Right to assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition

Every citizen has a right to assemble and participate in peaceful demonstrations and even present petitions to public authorities


Those demonstrating must not interfere with peace of others for example through harassment of motorists and property destruction.

  1. Political rights

Every citizen is free to make political choices, which includes the right to form, or participate in forming, a political party and to participate in the activities of, a political party.Every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections based on universal suffrage and the free` expression of the will of the electors for any elective public body or office. Every adult citizen has the right, without unreasonable restrictions, to be registered as a voter; to vote by secret ballot in any election or referendum and to be a candidate for public office, or office within a political party and, if elected, to hold officer responsibility.It is illegal to prevent other people from participating in elections, buy votes etc.

  1. Freedom of movement and residence

Citizens have a right to free movement and ownership of property in any part of the country.


Citizens should not obstruct efforts of any citizen to move freely and reside and own property in any part of the country.

  1. Economic and social rights

Every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care.

Every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation.Every person has the right to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality.Every person has the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities.Every person has the right to social securityEvery person has the right to education.A person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment.The State must provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependants.Nb-it is on the strength of this right that the government is providing free primary education.


Every citizen must pay tax.

  1. Consumer rights

Consumers have the right to goods and services of reasonable quality.

Consumers have the right to the information necessary for them to gain full benefit from goods and services.Consumers have the right to the protection of their health, safety, and economic interests.Consumers have the right to compensation for loss or injury arising from defects in goods or services.


It is one’s responsibility to question the quality of goods and services being offered, to enable one get value for money.

The traders and other service providers have a responsibility to provide quality goods and services to fellow citizens.

They should give truthful information when advertising their products.

  1. Right to fair labour practices

Every worker has a right to fair labour practices like fair remuneration, reasonable working conditions, the right to join or practice in trade union activities and the right to go on strike .Every employer has a right to join an employers’ association and participate in its programmes and activities


One must respect the right to fair labour practices of one’s employees. Employees on the other hand must conduct themselves responsibly, even during strikes, to avoid causing physical injury to innocent people, or destroying property.

  1. Right to clean and healthy environment

Every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment. It is our duty to ensure that the environment is protected for the benefit of present and future generations.

The following are the obligations set by the government in order to achieve a clean and healthy environment:

  1. a) Ensure sustainable exploitation, utilization, management and conservation of the environment
  2. b) Work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least ten percent of the land area of Kenya.
  3. c) Encourage public participation in management, protection and conservation of the environment.
  4. d) Establish systems of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit and monitoring of the environment.
  5. e) Eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment.
  6. f) Utilize the environment and natural resources for the benefit of the people of Kenya.
  7. g) Protect and enhance intellectual property and indigenous knowledge of biodiversity and the genetic resources of the communities.


Every person has a responsibility to protect and conserve the environment and ensure ecologically sustainable development, and use of natural resources.

  1. Freedom of conscience, religion, belief and opinion

Every person, whether individually or as a group, has freedom to manifest any religion or belief through worship, practice, teaching or observance, including observance of day of worship.One cannot be denied employment or educational opportunity because of belonging to a particular religion or because of one’s belief or religion.A person cannot be forced to engage in any act that goes against his or her  belief or religion.


Every citizen must be careful not to infringe upon this freedom

  1. Freedom of expression

This guarantees all Kenyans the freedom to seek, receive or impart ideas or information. It also guarantees freedom of artistic creativity, academic freedom, and freedom to conduct scientific research


In the exercise of this freedom, everyone is called upon to respect the rights and reputation of others. He/she should not spread propaganda with the intention t provoke others to war or to violence.

It is unlawful to engage in hate speech.

  1. Freedom of media

The freedom and independence of the media is guaranteed. The state should not interfere with the media.


The media industry should report impartially and avoid inciting members of the public.

The media should provide fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions

  1. Access to information

Every person has a right to access information held by the state, or by others, which may be required for the protection of any right or fundamental freedom. The state is expected to make public any important information affecting the nation.Every person has a right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects the person.


A person should not misrepresent the information accessed, or misuse it for selfish gain. It is also illegal to sell public information for monetary gain.

  1. Freedom of association

Every person has the right to form, join and participate in the activities of an association of any kind, provided that the association is not engaged in illegal activities, such as stealing or killing.

  1. Protection of the right to property

Every person is entitled to own property either individually or as a group, in any part of the country. However the property has to be legally acquired.

This right provides all Kenyans a fair opportunity to invest in property and thus, prosper.





All citizens must respect this right. It is unlawful for one to deprive a person of his or her property without good reason.The state, in acquiring privately owned property must ensure adequate compensation granted promptly and in full

The state has an obligation to respect the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya.

  1. Right to language and cultur

Every person has the right to use a language, and embrace the culture of the person’s choice.Every person has the right to form or join cultural groups. Every person is also protected from being forced to join any such group.Each linguistic group is free to use their language, practice their culture, and form associations and other organs of the civil society.It is unacceptable to force another person to perform, observe or undergo any cultural practice or rite.


This right should not be used to undermine national unity.

Other citizens should be allowed the freedom to enjoy diverse culture, including members of one’s own family.

  1. Right to family

An adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties. Parties to such a union enjoy equal rights. Both parties have a responsibility to respect the rights of their spouses during marriage and even in the event of its dissolution.It is wrong to deny one’s spouse access to marital property after separation or divorce.The constitution also recognizes marriages conducted under traditional, religious, personal or family law. Marrying of underage persons and forced marriages are outlawed in the constitution.

  1. Fair administrative action

Every person should be subjected to an efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair administrative action. This promotes efficient administration in public offices


The officers of the state have a responsibility to accord every person fair administrative action.The right requires that a person be given written reasons for any administrative action that will adversely affect a right or freedom of the person.

  1. Access to justice

Everybody should access justice and a reasonable fee will be charged to enhance this, if required. If this is not free, many people will not access justice which will continue to be a preserve of the rich people.




Everybody has a responsibility to facilitate fair play and access to justice for all. Any action aimed at blocking justice is unlawful and invites punishment. For example, shielding criminals or attempting to bribe law enforcement officers to prevent them from arresting a criminal. Aiding a criminal to evade arrest, concealing criminal acts; and lying to help culprits evade punishment.

  1. Right of arrested persons

An arrested person has;

  1. a) The right to be informed promptly in a language that the person understands of the reason for arrest, the right to remain silent and he consequences of not remaining silent.
  2. b) The right to remain silent. – The right of a person to choose to talk or to remain silent.
  3. c) The right to communicate with an advocate and other persons whose assistance is necessary (freedom of speech with all those who will assist him or her in the case.)
  4. d) The right of not being compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against the person.
  5. e) The right t be held separately from persons serving a sentence ( should not be held in prisons alongside those already convicted)
  6. f) To be brought to court as soon as reasonably possible, as but not later than twenty four hours after being arrested.
  7. g) To be charged or be informed of the reason for the extension of detention or release, at the first court appearance.
  8. h) To be released on bond or bail, on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial, unless there are compelling reasons as to why one cannot be released.
  9. Fair hearing

Every person has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved through a court hearing be resolved in such a manner that will accord him or her fair and public hearing. An accused person has the following rights;

  1. a) To be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
  2. b) To be informed of the charges.
  3. c) To have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence.
  4. d) To a public trial before a court.
  5. e) To have the trial begin and be concluded with few delays.
  6. f) To be present when being tried.
  7. g) To be represented by an advocate and be informed of this right immediately. Depending on the circumstances, the accused may be assigned an advocate by the state and at the state’s expense.
  8. h) To remain silent and not testify during the proceedings.
  9. i) To be informed in advance, of the evidence the prosecution intends to present, and to have reasonable access to that evidence.
  10. j) To challenge the evidence.
  11. k) To refuse to give self-incriminating evidence.
  12. l) To have the assistance of an interpreter if the accused person cannot understand the language used in the trial.
  13. m) If convicted, to appeal, or apply for review by a higher court.


  1. The accused person has the responsibility of obeying instructions of the court.
  2. They must behave well in court and outside the court
  3. They should respect the rights of the accusers as well as their advocates.
  4. Accused persons should behave as the law spells out while awaiting the verdict of the court. Whatever the verdict, they should abide by the law.
  5. Rights of persons detained, held in custody or imprisoned.

A person, who is detained, held in custody or imprisoned under the law, retains all rights and fundamental freedoms in the bill of rights. Except those that are impractical and inapplicable under the circumstances.A person who is detained or held in custody is entitled for an order Habeas Corpus- This is a law that states that a person who has been arrested should not be kept in prison longer than a particular period of time unless a judge in a court has decided that it is right. It is the right of the person who is detained, held in custody or imprisoned to be treated in a humane manner.


All citizens have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of those detained, held in custody or imprisoned are respected. For example the judicial staff , prison staff and the police should respect the constitutional rights of all persons without discrimination.

Fundamental rights that might not be limited:

  1. Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  2. Freedom from slavery or servitude.
  3. The right to a fair trial.
  4. The right to an order of habeas corpus

Rights enjoyed by Children in Kenya

  1. a) Every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth
  2. b) Every child has the right to free and compulsory basic education.
  3. c) Every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter and health care.
  4. d) Every child has the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.
  5. e) Every child has the right to parental care and protection, which includes equal

responsibility of the mother and father to provide for the child, whether they are married to each other or not.

  1. f) Every child has the right not to be detained, except as a measure of last resort, and when detained, to be held for the shortest appropriate period of time.
  2. g) Every child has the right to separate from adults and in conditions that take account of the child’s sex and age.
  3. h) Every child has the right to a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.

Rights enjoyed by Persons with disabilities in Kenya

(a)  A person with any disability is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and to be addressed and referred to in a manner that is not demeaning. A person with any disability is entitled

(b)  A person with any disability is entitled to access educational institutions and facilities for persons with disabilities that are integrated into society to the extent compatible with the interests of the person.

(c)  A person with any disability is entitled to reasonable access to all places, public transport and information.

(d)   A person with any disability is entitled to use Sign language, Braille or other appropriate means of communication.

(e)  A person with any disability is entitled to access materials and devices to overcome constraints arising from the person’s disability.

Rights of the Youth in Kenya

(a)  Right to access relevant education and training.

(b)  Right to have opportunities to associate, be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life.

(c)  Right to access employment.

(d)  Youths are protected from harmful cultural practices and exploitation.

Rights of Minorities and marginalized groups in Kenya

  1. a) Minorities and marginalized groups have the right to participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life.
  2. b) Minorities and marginalized groups have the right to be provided special opportunities in educational and economic fields.
  3. c) Minorities and marginalized groups have the right to be provided special opportunities for access to employment.
  4. d) Minorities and marginalized groups have the right to develop their cultural values, languages and practices.
  5. e) Minorities and marginalized groups have the right to reasonable access to water, health services and infrastructure.

Rights of older members of society in Kenya

  1. a) Right to fully participate in the affairs of society.
  2. b) Right to pursue their personal development.
  3. c) Right to live in dignity and respect and be free from abuse.
  4. d) Right to receive reasonable care and assistance from their family and the State.

Circumstances, which may force the Kenya government to limit the freedoms and rights of an individual.

  1. a) Conviction of murder by a court of law limits the right to life
  2. b) When planning for a criminal activity one loses the freedom of movement/liberty
  3. c) When government develops a place one loses the freedom to own property
  4. d) Freedom of worship is denied if one uses it to undermine the government /create disunity
  5. e) Freedom of assembly can be limited if internal security is threatened
  6. f) Personal liberty can be denied if one has an infectious disease e.g. rift valley fever

Other responsibilities of a citizen

  1. a) Every person has a responsibility to contribute to positive development in the country by working hard and honestly, irrespective of the type of work or profession one is in.
  2. b) Every citizen is expected to participate in the democratic process. One has the moral responsibility to vote and even present him/herself to be voted for provided he/she fulfils all the requirements of the position.
  3. c) A responsible citizen should actively contribute views on matters affecting the community. This includes taking Part in national debates.
  4. d) A responsible citizen must be mindful of other peoples’ welfare. For example guiding visitors, assisting the disabled, the aged, children, as well as the less fortunate members of the society in ways in which they need the assistance.
  5. e) A good citizen should report law breakers, and even those suspected of having intentions to break the law to the relevant authorities.
  6. f) A responsible citizen should ensure proper utilization of public and private facilities including toilets, water points, post offices, public telephone Booths etc.
  7. g) A responsible citizen must maintain high moral and ethical standards. One must refrain from telling lies.

Values of good citizenship

Values and principles of governance in Kenya

  1. a) Patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people.
  2. b) Human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, nondiscrimination and protection of the marginalized.
  3. c) Good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.
  4. d) Sustainable development.

Values of good citizenship

  1. a) A good citizen has a duty to be patriotic to the country. He/she should be ready to place the interests of the country above one’s own selfish interests. One sh ould volunteer for a national cause, for example engaging in freedom from hunger walk, helping victims of disasters, volunteering to help the country in times of war and using talents such a sports and music achieve personal goals and to promote the country.
  2. b) A good citizen must take part in activities that foster national unity including economic activities such as agriculture and trade which boost the economy.
  3. c) A good citizen participates in democratic process either by volunteering themselves to be elected, or by taking part in electing of leaders at national or county levels.
  4. d) A good citizen maintains and protects human dignity. He/she has an obligation to dissuade people from engaging in acts that deprive others of their human dignity such as mob justice.
  5. e) A good citizen observes equity by respecting the interests of every citizen, regardless of race, ethnicity or age) A good citizen respects social justice. A person who protests against the grabbing of public land and destruction of the environment such as Wangari Maathai demonstrates good citizenship.
  6. g) A good citizen respects inclusiveness in society. He/she does not ignore any member of society in making of decisions on matters affecting all citizens
  7. h) A good citizen respects equality of all citizens
  8. i) A good citizen respects human rights. He/she not only respects his /her right but also the rights of others in society
  9. j) A good citizen is expected to ensure that there is no discrimination against any member or section of the population to ensure the protection of the marginalized in the society.
  10. k) Good citizenship entails support for good governance. He/she has a duty to pay taxes to the government so that it can generate the revenue required to finance activities for the benefit of all.
  11. l) A good citizen has an obligation to maintain a high level of integrity in society. H/she should desist from corrupt practices and even report such acts to relevant authorities.
  12. m) A good citizen has a duty to maintain transparency and accountability. Public servants should be accountable for their actions and maintain high level of transparency.
  13. n) A good citizen supports government by taking part in projects that ensure sustainable development in the country- through participation in environment friendly projects.

Importance of being a good citizen

  1. a) Being a good citizen promotes peace and stability hence development.
  2. b) A good citizen promotes law and order hence enjoyment of rights and freedoms.
  3. c) Good citizenship promotes cordial relationship and social peace.
  4. d) It reduces government expenditure on security organs necessary for maintaining law and order.
  5. e) It promotes the good name of a country hence encourages tourism which is important for our development.
  6. f) It curbs against social vises like corruption, nepotism or tribalism since a good citizen can not indulge in such activities.
  7. g) It promotes good relationship with neighbors.


What is National Integration?

Integration means unification into a whole. – The act of combining or bring together various parts in a way that makes them one.National integration refers to the process by which various components of a nation are brought together into a whole leading to national unity.

Importance of National Integration

Why is National Integration a priority in Kenya?

(a)  National integration Helps in social and economic development through enhanced national unity.

(b)  It develops a sense of national direction, facilitating unified goals and co-operation.

(c)  It enhances political stability and security by eliminating suspicion.

(d)  Promotes peaceful c-existence of different tribes and races hence leading to peace and harmony.

(e)  Promotes collective responsibility due to easier, more efficient and accurate communication.

(f)  It enables a country to develop a sense of direction as national goals are communicated to the people in the spirit of national integration.

(g)  It leads to achievement of easier, more accurate communication as the nation increases efforts of national integration.

Factors that promote national unity in Kenya

  1. a) The constitution. This is a set of rules agreed upon by a group of people who have chosen to live together. It provides for equality of all Kenyans before the law. It Guarantees equal opportunities to all Kenyans. It Provides protection to individuals against any form of discrimination/bill of rights. It provides for a unitary government
  2. b) The curriculum aims at ensuring that pupils and students focus on issues that unite them. The integrated education system encourages the children to accept one another as Kenyans. Teaching of history in schools encourages unity. Religious studies taught in schools promote respect for the Supreme Being and fellow human beings. Music and drama festivals in schools promote unity among students.
  3. c) One government. Our one government, with the three arms is recognized by each Kenyans a body that runs the affairs of the nation.
  4. d) The presidency. Kenya has one president despite the diversity in parties and tribes. The presidency unites Kenyans.
  5. e) National language. The use of Kiswahili as the official language enables Kenyans to interact freely. Kiswahili became a national language in 1975. It helps overcome communication barriers and gives Kenyans a sense of belonging and identity
  6. f) Economic growth. The government attempts to provide social amenities to Kenyans without bias. It has tried to achieve equitable distribution of economic resources. Urbanization promotes socialization and co-existence among Kenyans.

There also the use of a common currency giving Kenyans a sense of nationhood. The policy of offering equal employment opportunities to all Kenyans has enabled Kenyans to work in various parts of the country where they interact freely.

  1. g) National activities. National holidays remind Kenyans of their history. Agricultural shows enables different economic sectors display and advertize their goods. Games and sports promote unity as they bring together people of different communities for a common cause.
  2. h) Mass media. The mass media in Kenya is instrumental in ensuring that information is disseminated to all at the same time. It enables Kenyans from all pats to contribute to national debates.
  3. i) Symbols of National unity. National anthem promotes a sense of belonging among Kenyans and gives them an identity. Existence of the national flag symbolizes national unity.
  4. j) The government encourages social, economic interaction among Kenyans e.g. through marriages, worship etc.

Factors that undermine national unity in Kenya

  1. a) Tribalism – this is the practice of favouring people who are from one’s own ethnic group in employment, admission to schools and allocation of resources. Others end up being discriminated against thus leading to hatred and enmity.
  2. b) Nepotism –this is the practice of people favouring their relatives. This vice is similar to tribalism
  3. c) The unequal distribution of resources causes animosity between those who are favoured and those who are not.
  4. d) Political wrangles / Ethnic conflicts / clashes discourage co-operation among the citizens.
  5. e) Corruption – asking for and offering of bribes to obtain and give services violates people’s rights to equal treatment. Corruption creates suspicion and hatred among people since those who cannot afford to bribe feel cheated and frustrated.
  6. f) Discrimination on the basis of gender denies people the right to participate equally in national development.
  7. g) This is discrimination on the basis of colour/ race. This creates hatred and suspicious among people. This was a common cause of disunity during the colonial days.
  8. h) Religious conflicts. In Kenya, conflicts between the Muslims and Catholics in 2000 led to destruction of a catholic church in Nairobi. Intolerance of other people’s religions creates disunity.
  9. i) Party membership. Multipartism in Kenya has to some extend become a cause of disunity.

The country regularly becomes polarized on party lines especially when we near general elections. Sometimes members of parties such as TNA, ODM, UDF, URP etc don’t see eye to eye during campaigns. There has also been discrimination on the basis of party membership.

  1. j) When people lack basic needs such as food, education, health, shelter and clothing, anti-social behaviour arise. For example, stealing and violence. Criminal activities create fear and suspicion and therefore discourage national unity.
  2. k) Lack of knowledge creates intolerance of other people’s views and lack of appreciation of the development taking place around. This may create unnecessary division.

Steps have been taken by the Kenyan government to promote national integration since independence.

  1. a) The government has developed national symbols like the flag, anthem, and the court of arms. These symbols have helped to identify us as one nation.
  2. b) Immediately after independence the then only major opposition party, KADU was disbanded to have a single party system. However this did not work for long as

Multipartism was inevitably reintroduced.

  1. c) The government also set up a national curriculum in our educational institutions. This creates a sense of oneness despite the diversity.
  2. d) Declaring Kiswahili a national language. In 1975, Kiswahili was made a national language of communication as a step towards curbing rampant tribalism. This has greatly assisted as Kenyans of different diversity can communicate.
  3. e) Promotion and fostering Harambee spirit. This has led to Collective participation in development programmes by people from different groups which have promoted national unity.
  4. f) During the reign of president Moi the Nyayo philosophy of peace love and unity was introduced. It stressed the concept of being mindful of other people’s welfare. It is closely related to the principal of mutual social responsibility as embodied in African socialism.
  5. g) A new constitution in Kenya was promulgated in august 2010. This constitution promises a lot of hope in terms of unity as it may be an important tool of fighting all vices that have discouraged unity. It also stresses equal rights for all.
  6. h) The government has tried to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor through the creation of an equalization fund under the new constitution. Through this fund, development easily trickles down to reach the disadvantaged.
  7. i) Abolition of racial schools hence enrolling students of different backgrounds in the same schools. /Ethnic balance in public institutions.
  8. j) The teaching of history in schools has helped to create a sense of oneness as Kenyans realize that they share a common history.
  9. k) Promotion of games, sports, drama and cultural activities. National games at school and college level have been a source of interaction. This is a way of developing a common culture in the country
  10. l) The government has made use of media to propagate unity.
  11. m) Abolition of ethnic organizations and groupings.
  12. n) Promotion of national public service i.e. civil servants can serve anywhere in the country..

Conflict resolution

Conflict refers to a situation in which people or groups are involved in serious disagreements, or disputes.Conflict resolution refers to the process of settling a dispute when it occurs

Levels of conflicts found in Kenya

  1. a) Individual versus individual. This is where two people disagree for political, economic or social reasons.
  2. b) Group versus group. This type of conflict involves one group against another also due to political, social and economic reasons.
  3. c) Individual versus state. Such a conflict of an individual against the state may be political especially one feels his/her rights are being violated by the state.
  4. d) State versus state. This is a case where a state is in disagreement with another state maybe over boundary like was the case between Kenya and Uganda during the reign if Idi Amin dada
  5. e) Group versus state. This may be caused by for example a trade union demanding the improvement of the terms and conditions of service of its members. For example the standoff between KNUT and KUPPET on one hand and the government over harmonization of the salaries of teachers with those of civil servants in 2012 leading to a countrywide strike in September 2012.

The factors that cause conflict

(h)  Difference in views arising from background beliefs, social and political standing and values.

(i)  Economic differences. E.g. when consumers feel exploited by businessmen, when employees feel exploited by employers. Etc.

(j)  Political differences based on ideological orientation i.e. capitalism versus socialism.

(k)  Social differences, for example tribal clashes, religious conflicts, racial discrimination, age/sex differences.

(l)  Limited land/economic resources-unfair distribution of land, mineral resources, water resources, etc.

Peaceful methods of conflict resolution

  1. a) Diplomacy/negotiation. This is a dialogue between two warring parties in order to reach an agreement over a dispute. The following steps are followed in negotiation;
  2. Fact finding- negotiation starts with finding out all the facts about the conflict that is to be solved. At this stage, the laws or guidelines to be followed are also looked at.
  3. Discussion. During this stage, a friendly environment is cultivated to enable discussion of workable solutions. This is usually a give and take situation.
  4. Reaching an agreement. The points of agreement reached should be fair to both parties with both feeling they have benefited. Each party should be willing to comprise for negotiation to succeed.
  5. b) Arbitration –this is like an informal court where a neutral person (arbitrator) is chosen to resolve the dispute by listening to both sides and help them reach an acceptable decision.

Arbitration procedure:

  1. Both sides involved in conflict presents their case as they know it to the arbitrator.
  2. After listening to the complainant’s story, the arbitrator makes questions to clarify some aspects of the story. The other group may also seek clarification.
  3. The second group then responds to the story by the first group by a representative. The arbitrator again asks questions for clarification.
  4. On grounds of applicable rules, the arbitrator should consider the facts and then make a decision.
  5. c) Mediation – a person who is not involved in the conflict tries to help the warring parties reach an amicable agreement. The parties involved must be willing to listen and come up with good ideas that can help them solve the disagreement.

Steps followed in mediation:

~  Step 1. The mediator explains the rules as a means of helping the two parties reach an agreement and not imposing a decision on them.

~  Step 2. Giving the two parties involved in the conflict chance to explain in their own words what the problem is. The Complainant explains first and then the defendant.

~  Step 3. The mediator, after listening, summarizes the stories from each party and also identifies the facts.

~  Step 4. The Mediator suggests the solutions and invites the two parties to give their opinions of the solutions proposed.

~  Step 5. Depending on the two parties’ reaction, the solution is looked at afresh and then an acceptable solution identified.

~  Step 6. The acceptable agreement reached is then written down and each party has to be committed to it.

  1. d) This is where one party takes the other to court and the court makes judgments that are bidding on both sides.
  2. e) Legislation – where the parliament passes laws to control conflict.
  3. f) Workshops – this is where conflicting parties talk in the presence of facilitators and tries to work out a resolution to the problem.
  4. g) Arms inspection – the government in order to build confidence and prevent misunderstanding between warring parties carries it out.

Negative methods of conflict resolution

  1. Subjugation (use of war)
  2. Avoiding responsibility and refusing to accept defeat
  3. Appeasement/compromise.

Under what circumstances violent method may be used in resolving conflict?

  1. When law and order is broken and the alternative is the use of force
  2. In case of serious social unrest
  3. Striking students or workers, street mobs and bandits
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