Kenya Colony

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Main article: History of Kenya
Colony of Kenya and Protectorate of Kenya
Flag of the Colony of Kenya Coat of arms
God Save the King (1920–1952)
God Save the Queen (1952–1963)
Capital Nairobi
Languages English (official)
Swahili, Kikuyu, Kamba, Luhya, Luo, Gusii, Meru, Nandi–Markweta also spoken
Government Colonial administration
 •  1920–1936 George V
 •  1936 Edward VIII
 •  1936–1952 George VI
 •  1952–1963 Elizabeth II
Commissioner or Governor
 •  1920–1922 (first) Maj-Gen Sir Edward Northey
 •  1937–1939 ACM Sir Robert Brooke-Popham
 •  1963 (last) Malcolm MacDonald
Historical era 20th century
 •  Established 11 June 1920 (Colony) 13 August 1920 (Protectorate) 1920[1]
 •  Independent as Kenya 12 December 1963
Currency East African shilling
Preceded by
Succeeded by
East Africa Protectorate
Kenya (Commonwealth realm)

The Colony and Protectorate of Kenya was part of the British Empire in Africa from 1920 until 1963. It was established when the former East Africa Protectorate was transformed into a British Crown colony in 1920. Technically, the "Colony of Kenya" referred to the interior lands, while a 16-kilometre (10 mi) coastal strip (nominally on lease from the Sultan of Zanzibar) was the "Protectorate of Kenya" but the two were controlled as a single administrative unit. The colony came to an end in 1963 when a black majority government was elected for the first time and eventually declared independence as Kenya.

The Colony of Kenya was established on 11 June 1920 when the territories of the former East Africa Protectorate (except those parts of that Protectorate over which His Majesty the Sultan of Zanzibar had sovereignty) were annexed by Britain.[2] The Kenya Protectorate was established on 13 August 1920 when the territories of the former East Africa Protectorate which were not annexed by Britain were established as a British Protectorate.[3] The Protectorate of Kenya was governed as part of the Colony of Kenya by virtue of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the Sultan dated 14 December 1895.[4][5][6]

In summary, the "Colony of Kenya" referred to the interior lands. The "Protectorate of Kenya" was a 16 km (10 mi) coastal strip together with certain islands which remained under the sovereignty of the Sultan of Zanzibar until the independence of Kenya.[7]

In the 1920s Indians objected to the reservation of the Highlands for Europeans, especially British war veterans. Bitterness grew between the Indians and the Europeans.[8] The population in 1921 was estimated at 2,376,000, of whom 9,651 were Europeans, 22,822 Indians, and 10,102 Arabs.[citation needed] Mombasa, the largest city in 1921, had a population of 32,000 at that time.

The Colony and the Protectorate each came to an end on 12 December 1963. The United Kingdom ceded sovereignty over the Colony of Kenya and, under an agreement dated 8 October 1963, the Sultan agreed that simultaneous with independence for Kenya, the Sultan would cease to have sovereignty over the Protectorate of Kenya.[9] In this way, Kenya became an independent country under the Kenya Independence Act 1963 which established the "Dominion of Kenya", with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the first prime minister.[10] Exactly 12 months later on 12 December 1964, Kenya became a republic under the name "Republic of Kenya".[11]


  1. ^ Kenya Protectorate Order in Council, 1920 and dated 13 August 1920
  2. ^ Kenya (Annexation) Order in Council, 1920 and dated 11 June 1920
  3. ^ Kenya Protectorate Order in Council, 1920 and dated 13 August 1920
  4. ^ Kenya Protectorate Order in Council, 1920, S.R.O. 1920 No. 2343 & S.I. Rev. VIII, 258, State Pp., Vol. 87, p.968.
  5. ^ "Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 762
  6. ^ "Kenya Annexation Order, Kenya Gazette 7 Sep 1921". Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Brennan, James R. “Lowering the Sultan’s Flag: Sovereignty and Decolonization in Coastal Kenya.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 50, no. 4 (2008): 831–61.
  8. ^ Morgan, W. T. W. "The'white highlands' of Kenya." Geographical Journal (1963): 140-155. in JSTOR
  9. ^ "Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 762
  10. ^ History of Kenya government webpage. Retrieved 2015-07-24
  11. ^ "Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 762

Further reading[edit]

  • Kitching, Gavin N. Class and economic change in Kenya: The making of an African petite bourgeoisie 1905-1970 (Yale University Press, 1980)
  • Lonsdale, John, and Bruce Berman. "Coping with the contradictions: the development of the colonial state in Kenya, 1895–1914." Journal of African History 20#04 (1979): 487-505.
  • Mungeam, Gordon Hudson. British rule in Kenya, 1895-1912 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1966)
  • Ochieng, William Robert. A history of Kenya (Macmillan Kenya, 1985)
  • Ochieng, William Robert, and Robert M. Maxon, eds. An economic history of Kenya (East African Publishers, 1992)
  • Wolff, Richard D. Britain and Kenya, 1870-1930: The Economics of Colonialism (Transafrica Publishers, 1974)

External links[edit]