Magazine article Geographical

FJ Jackson, Dr MacKinnon and James Martin with Chief Kamiri Making a Treaty with the Kikuyu, 1889

Magazine article Geographical

FJ Jackson, Dr MacKinnon and James Martin with Chief Kamiri Making a Treaty with the Kikuyu, 1889

Article excerpt

This image illustrates a pivotal moment in the history of the Kikuyu tribe in what is today Kenya and the start of a sickening story that still resonates today After the major European powers agreed among themselves the rights to pursue legal ownership of land in Africa in the Berlin Treaty of 1885-86, the Imperial British East Africa Company took steps to occupy land in what is now Kenya in 1886. Although this photograph gives the impression of an amicable agreement, many historians believe that the Kikuyu and other tribes signed under duress. The Kikuyu engaged in violent resistance from the start, including burring down a British fort in 1890. In response, the British Army carried out punitive expeditions. In one episode in 1903, the King's African Rifles, equipped with machine guns, took more than 11,000 livestock and trilled around 1,500 Kikuyu and Embu, sustaining only three casualties in the process. Subsequent years saw the British appropriate a large proportion of fertile Kikuyu land, much of it for white settlers. …

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