An Assessment Of The Demographic Impact Of

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An Assessment Of The Demographic Impact Of Colonial Kenya. Essay, Research Paper In order to study demography, an understanding of related variables is essential; population size and distribution, gender, birth and death records, fertility, mortality (infant and adult), natural increase, life expectancy and data on migratory movements. All of these are terms associated with ‘demography’ and factors that would preferably need to be studied when considering the demographic change in Colonial Kenya. However, in assuming that the colonial period began with the Berlin Conference of 1886 dividing Africa up between the Colonial Powers of Europe (the Scramble for Africa), and eventually came to an end at Independence in 1963 (for Kenya), the population data for most of this

period are estimations or inadequate enumerations and therefore unreliable for an accurate study. (The first official census in Kenya wasn’t until 1948). The figures obtained are perhaps more use as a guideline to trends and patterns rather than as specific quantities. In light of the aim – to determine the demographic change in Colonial Kenya, on instinct, one view would be that when the Europeans arrived in Kenya, the European population increased and the African population decreased, due to the resulting famine and disease etc. On closer inspection of methods of enumeration, results and specific examples, it is evident that the whole phenomenon is much more complex and that the arrival of the ‘white man’ to this vast continent sparked off a new phase of history, that

was to have immense effects on the native population. Before studying the enumeration of the Native population and the results themselves, it is first necessary to understand the vast numbers of Non-Natives we are dealing with, enabling us to judge the impact on the African population. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans to Kenya, Indians had been using East Africa as a trading ground and slaving route for centuries. Also, Arabs had established its trade in this region, with the Sultan of Oman relocating his Empire in Zanzibar in 1832. However, it has been noted that in 1848, ” White men had never been heard of in Kikuyu ” (Southall, 1961, p163) At that time, explorers, such as the R.G.S in search of the Nile; missionaries; traders, such as the Imperial British East Africa

penetrating into inland Kenya in 1889; and officials determining the straight-line boundaries through-out the land. It would not have been considered an issue to the Africans that within decades their land would be invaded by the ‘white man’. In 1897, Sir Arthur Harding estimated that there were 391 Europeans and Euroasians in Kenya (Kuczynski, 1949, p144). At this time, the method of enumeration was personal observation and guesswork. By 1901, this figure had increased to 506, and 596 in 1903. Up till this time the numbers had remained relatively low, but in 1903, there began a planned ‘white’ colonisation scheme. Commissioner Eliot, in 1904, said regarding Kenya, ” The interior of the Protectorate is a white man’s country.” (Eliot, The East African Protectorate,

p103. cited by Kuczynski, 1949, p146) According to various sources – Census Reports, British Colonies Statistical Tables, East Africa Protectorate Colonial Reports, the general consensus was that, apart from minor setbacks in 1906 and during World War One, when the European population remained stationary or slightly declined, the population increased at an unprecedented rate. From 886 in 1904 to 1 738 in 1908, and 2 137 in 1909, when the Kenyan Plateau was opened up for development, (mainly by the Dutch from South Africa). After World War One in 1919, the total was put at 5 914 and increased to 9 651 in 1921 – three times the amount of ten years previously. The population increased over the next ten years until the census of 1931 put the total at 16 812. (All figures are