White Highlands

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The White Highlands is an area in the central uplands of Kenya, so-called because, during the period of British colonialism, European or white immigrants settled there in considerable numbers. They were attracted to the good soils and growing conditions, as well as the cool climate. Many Kenyans use the rich soil to grow crops.

The East Africa Protectorate, founded in 1905, encouraged British immigration. By the time the Kenya Colony was established in 1920, about 10,000 British people had colonised the area. The colony granted settlers 999-year leases over about 25% of the good land in Kenya. The original indigenous occupants of the land were predominantly from the Kalenjin, Maasai and Gĩkũyũ. Later, members of the Gĩkũyũ and other allied tribes, the Embu and Meru mounted a rebellion against the British control of central Kenya in the Mau Mau Uprising, which was a major factor leading to the country's eventual independence in 1964.

The Maasai, who are pastoralists, found the amount of grazing land considerably reduced as the White Highlands expanded.

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