The Historiography of the British Empire-Commonwealth: Trends, Interpretations and Resources

By Robin W. Winks | Go to book overview

BRITISH EAST AFRICA

George Bennett

BRITAIN BECAME INVOLVED in East Africa through her position in India. The Bombay government was particularly interested in the activities of Seyyid Said of Muscat as he moved in the first half of the nineteenth century to Zanzibar. That island became the base for a predominantly British exploration of the East African mainland but, through the German challenge of 1884-85, the whole of the area did not fall immediately to Britain. Her strategic interests in the route to India led first to the occupation of Egypt and then to a desire to control the whole of the Nile Valley. Thus the Imperial British East Africa Company, chartered in 1888, was urged to drive for Uganda. When control of this area with the building of a railway proved to be beyond its resources, the British government assumed control, proclaiming the Protectorates of Uganda in 1894 and, in 1895, of British East Africa, the later Kenya. The latter appeared to be largely empty. It could not support the railway built up from Mombasa to Lake Victoria and completed in 1901. For this reason the British government then encouraged the immigration of both Europeans and Asians, the former predominantly as farmersettlers and the latter to fill jobs as clerks and craftsmen that the local African population did not then seem capable of performing. This produced the peculiar characteristic of British East Africa: it was a meeting place for people of three continents, Europeans, Asians, and Africans. British control was rounded off by the acquisition of Tanganyika as a mandate after World War I. This completed Cecil Rhodes's dream of an all-red route from the Cape to Cairo and caused some, in the British government and elsewhere, to consider the possibility of federating the whole British area from the Sudan to South Africa. Examination by successive commissions1 showed that East Africa

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1
The information in these reports and in their minutes of evidence is of such fundamental importance to any student of the area as to make them worth listing: Report of the East Africa Commission (Ormsby-Gore) Cmd. 2387 ( 1925); Reportof the Commission on Closer Union of the Dependencies in Eastern and Central Africa

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The Historiography of the British Empire-Commonwealth: Trends, Interpretations and Resources
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors ix
  • Introduction 3
  • The American Continental Colonies in the Empire 23
  • The Empire Since 1783 46
  • Canada 69
  • Australia 137
  • New Zealand 174
  • The British Territories in the Pacific 197
  • South Africa 212
  • British Central Africa 237
  • British East Africa 248
  • British West Africa 261
  • Egypt and the Sudan 279
  • Great Britain and Inter­national Trusteeship: the Mandate System 296
  • Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus 312
  • Ireland's Commonwealth Years, 1922-1949 326
  • The British West Indies 344
  • India 357
  • Pakistan 396
  • Ceylon 421
  • Burma 448
  • Malaysia 460
  • Commonwealth Literature: Developments and Prospects 493
  • Appendix: An American Report 523
  • Index 529
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