New Syllabus



Trade is the exchange of goods or services for money or other commodities for mutual benefits. It is basically the buying and selling of goods.

Trade originated during the New Stone Age. During this period, man began a settled lifestyle. He became specialised in various activities such as weaving, pottery and livestock keeping. This specialisation made some people to produce certain items which others did not produce. The need of satisfying various essential material needs therefore led to emergence of trade.

Methods of Trade

Barter trade and currency trade are the two existing forms of trade in the world.

Barter trade.

Barter trade is the oldest method of trade in the world. It existed even during the Old Testament time. Barter trade exists even today. This occurs when people exchange goods for other goods. In this case no established medium of exchange is used. In certain occasions, services are exchanged for goods. The goods may also be exchanged for services.

Barter system was very popular before the introduction of money. For instance a cow could be exchanged for a number of goats. A basket of millet could be exchanged for a basket of maize or beans.

The people of ancient Ghana exchanged their gold with the people of North Africa for salt.

This form of trade did not succeed very well where there was language barrier. Barter trade exists even today. In Kenya, certain commodities e.g. agricultural products are exchanged for machinery and oil.

Advantages of barter trade were:

  1. There was direct exchange of goods or services for goods.
  2. It encouraged people who were exchanging goods for goods to get involved in actual production of the items. This kept the communities busy.
  3. Barter trade enabled people who had no goods for exchange to acquire goods they wanted by merely rendering services to those who had.
  4. It enabled people to acquire the goods they did not produce themselves.

Disadvantages of barter trade were:

  1. Barter trade was not very convenient because sometimes people could not acquire the commodities they intended to exchange their goods for. For example one may have intended to exchange a bag of maize with a bag of millet just to find that there was no millet in the market.
  2. The method was tiresome because all those who wanted to exchange goods had to carry those goods to the market sometimes for long distances.
  3. Since in normal trade there is a buyer and a seller, it became difficult to specify who the buyer or seller was because both were just exchanging items and there was no specific buyer or seller.
  4. It was difficult to transport bulky goods to the market.
  5. It was difficult to value goods being exchanged to ensure that the deal was fair for both parties exchanging items.
  6. Barter trade was not very successful where the people exchanging goods had no common language to ease communication.
  7. It was not easy to exchange certain items such as a bull or a donkey because if the other party did not have sufficient goods for exchange, a bull or a donkey could not be split into smaller units to match with the goods available.

The Currency trade

This method of trade involves the use of money as a medium of exchange. The medium of exchange must be acceptable and convenient to people.

Money may be used to purchase commodities or to pay for services. Money is also used a measure of value. Today, people value their property in terms of money. Objects which have ever been used as money before the introduction of modern currencies are cowrie shells, iron bars, bronze, salt, gold and silver.

The major world currencies are:

  1. i) US Dollar
  2. German Deutsche Mark
  • British Sterling Pound
  1. French Franc
  2. Canadian Dollar
  3. Mexican Peso
  • Japanese Yen
  • European Union Euro

Advantages of currency trade are

  1. It is easy to carry money when going to buy items because it is not heavy.
  2. Money can be split into smaller units which enables people to purchase any quantity of goods in the market.
  3. Items are valued easily in terms of Shillings, Dollars, Yen, Pound Sterling, etc. This makes the buyer to have an idea of the value of various items in advance.
  4. Currency trade brings about clear definitions of the terms buyer or seller. In this case the buyer is the one who gives out money to acquire goods while the seller is the one who gives out goods to acquire money.
  5. When one receives money for goods delivered or sold, he can save it in banks or store it without fear of any damage such as decay for a long time.

Disadvantages of currency as a medium of exchange are

  1. i) Currency can easily loose value (purchasing power) as it happened in Uganda during the era of President Idi Amin.
  2. If there are no goods available for buying, money becomes useless. Many a times people have starved almost to death during famine due to shortage of food to buy with the money they have.
  • Use of currency in business has encouraged robbery, pickpocketting and many other forms of crime.

Types of trade

There are three types of trade namely: local trade, regional trade and international trade.

Local Trade

Local trade is the exchange of goods within the same community at the village level. It may also involve the neighbouring communities or people who share a common boundary.

People who conducted local trade established markets on the community boundaries or in a central place where people from a number of villages met to exchange goods. People exchanged goods they had for the things they did not have. This type of trade exists in Kenya even today where local county councils have established markets in certain trading centres. Local trade covers a small area.

The origin of local trade

Local trade originated from the time early man began a settled lifestyle. It was facilitated by the need to acquire what one did not have from those who had. The environmental differences also contributed the emergence of this type of trade.

The development of local trade

Local trade developed as human population increased. The increase in population led to demand for various items such as food, clothing, pots and ornaments. Some people became specialised in making iron tools, others in making items such as pots, baskets and bark-cloth while others became pastoralists and kept cattle, sheep and goats.

The blacksmith obtained meat from the pastoralists and grains from the cultivators. The pastoralists needed knives and spears from the blacksmiths. The cultivators needed iron hoes; knives for harvesting; millet, sorghum and axes for clearing fields for cultivation. The demand for goods therefore encouraged local trade to develop and markets were established where people met to buy and sell things.

The organisation of local trade

People established markets at the most convenient places for all. They set market days when they would meet to exchange goods. At the beginning, the form of trade was mainly barter. Later there was introduction of money (currency) which acted as a medium of exchange.

During this trade, people transported their commodities on their heads and backs. Some communities such as the Maasai used donkeys to carry their goods to the markets while the Somali and the Boran used camels.

People who traded were provided with security by local leaders.

Some established local merchants bought the items and resold them to other traders far away beyond the local boundaries. For example ivory was sometimes bought from the local markets in Samburu and Baringo and then transported to the coast where it was bought and shipped to Asia.

The impact of the local trade

Local trade led to intermarriages between people of different villages and people of neighbouring communities.

It contributed to the unity of family members who constituted a community. This is because the interaction of people in the markets united them. Local trade enabled people to acquire what they did not have from those who had.

It laid the basis for other types of trade such as the regional and the international trade because some of the goods sold at regional and international levels were bought from local markets by the traders and eventually sold far away from the sources.

Local trade enabled some people such as Chief Kivoi of Ukambani to acquire skills in trade thereafter becoming experienced long distance traders. Where members of one community traded with members of another community there was development of languages through word borrowing as well as cultural exchange.

In this case members of each community would borrow some cultural practices which became known to them as they interacted in the markets.

Regional Trade

Regional trade is the exchange of goods within a specified part of a continent or region. It can be trade between different communities in a region who are living apart.

This trade involves a bigger geographical area than the one covered by local trade. It also involves more traders. An example of regional trade is the Trans-Saharan trade.

The origin of the Trans-Saharan trade

It is not known exactly the time this trade started but it was going on between 1000AD and 1500AD. The people of West Africa and those from North Africa exchanged goods from very early times even before the Sahara dried up into a desert. The desert trade was later revolutionised by the introduction of the camel in the first century AD.

The development of the Trans-Saharan trade

The Trans-Saharan trade began developing after the introduction of the camel which replaced the use of oxen and horses which were used by traders before the Sahara turned into a desert.

The people involved in this trade were the local inhabitants of West Africa such as the people of ancient Ghana, Mali and Songhai. There were also desert communities like the Tuaregs, the Berbers and the Arabs from North Africa. Later Europeans and Jewish traders who had settled along the North African coast became engaged in this lucrative trade.

The people of West Africa (Western Sudan) sold Gold, ivory, slaves, gum, ostrich feathers, colanuts and hides and skins to the people of North Africa and in return obtained horses, silk cloth, beads, cotton cloth, spices, mirrors, needles, dried fruits and salt from the North African traders. The salt sold was obtained from Targhaza, Taodeni and Ghadames while the gold brought for sale was obtained from Wangara, Bure and Budu mines.

The main trade routes were that which connected Fez and Sijilmasa in Morocco with Audaghost in West Africa and passed through Targhaza. The other started from Tunis in Tunisia through Ghadames, Ghat and Agades in the Sahara desert to Hausaland. Another one ran from Sijilmasa through Tuat, Gao and reached Timbuktu. The other one started from Tripoli and went past Fezzan to Bornu via Bilma. There were several other minor ones which made the trade routes to resemble a cobweb. All these routes touched the salt mines in the desert as salt was a commodity of trade very much needed by the people of western Sudan.

Some Trans-Saharan trade routes and sources of goods

The Trans-Saharan trade developed due to the following reasons:

  1. The trade commodities which the traders from both sides demanded were available.
  2. The trade goods themselves were in great demand. For instance the people of West Africa demanded salt while the people of North Africa demanded gold.
  3. The West African rulers provided the traders with security.
  4. The desert Tuaregs guided traders; provided them with water, food and accommodation; showed traders direction; acted as interpreters; provided traders with security while crossing the desert and cared for the oasis where traders obtained water.
  5. There were established trade routes in the desert which provided considerable transport and communication services to traders.
  6. There were enterprising professional merchants who conducted trade across the desert.
  7. There were means of transport provided by use of camels, horses and donkeys.
  8. There was sufficient capital to finance trade.
  9. The local trade which existed in North Africa and West Africa laid the basis for the Trans-Saharan trade.

The development of the Trans-Saharan trade was hampered by some of the obstacles traders encountered as they conducted their business across the desert. Some of these obstacles were:

  1. Traders lost direction in the desert.
  2. They were attacked by desert robbers. This occurred when the Tuaregs changed their role of guides to that of robbers.
  3. vggbThe traders were affected by numerous sandstorms which blocked the routes they followed.

  1. The trades were also affected by weather variations because sometimes it became too hot and at other times too cold.

  1. The distance traders travelled across the desert was too long and scaring.

  1. Traders were sometimes in danger of attacks by dangerous desert creatures such as snakes and scorpions.

  1. There was communication barrier due to lack of a common language. This made it necessary for traders to use the Tuaregs as their guides and interpreters but later they became unreliable when they began stealing goods from traders.

  1. There was lack of adequate basic needs such as food and water especially in the desert.

iii) The organisation of the Trans-Saharan trade

The Trans-Saharan trade was conducted by the people of western Sudan and the people of North Africa. The traders from North Africa crossed the Sahara desert by use of camels. The traders travelled in large caravans some with about 1000 camels and hundreds of people for security reasons.

The Tuaregs and Berbers were recruited to act as guides (takshifs) to the traders. These guides provided the traders with security. It took about three months to cross the desert. For this reason the traders had stopping places at the oases where they bought food and water for themselves and for their camels. It is the Tuaregs who maintained the oasis and acted as interpreters. When the traders reached western Sudan, they sometimes gave their goods to the local agents on credit. The form of trade was mainly barter.

The rulers of West Africa controlled the trade and provided security to traders. In return the traders paid taxes to the rulers. The main items of trade included gold, salt, horses, hides and skins, beads and cloth. When the time to travel back to North Africa reached, the North Africa traders employed people to be left trading on their behalf. The merchants stored goods in specific gathering points which acted as distribution centres. They mainly travelled one way in a year.

The problems the Trans-Saharan traders encountered

The Trans-Saharan traders faced a lot of problems as they carried out their business. The traders travelled long distances across the Sahara desert. Their journeys were tiresome and they had insufficient food and water. Sometimes the trade goods became exhausted.

The traders were frequently interrupted by hostile desert communities who wanted to steal their goods and by dangerous sandstorms which blocked their way. Traders lost direction and they were sometimes attacked by dangerous desert creatures. There were frequent shifts of trade routes. Traders were sometimes robed by desert dwellers.

The impact of the Trans-Saharan trade

The Trans-Saharan trade had several consequences:

  1. The trade led to development of urbanisation for example towns such as Gao, Timbuktu and Jenne.

  1. The trade led to the decline of empires such as ancient Ghana and Mali while others such as Songhai emerged.

  1. Islamic religion and culture were introduced.

  1. Intermarriages between North Africans and West Africans were promoted.

  1. The Trans-Saharan trade led to a class of wealthy merchants who participated in the trade.

  1. New cultures were introduced such as eating habits and new styles of dressing.

  1. The trade led to the introduction of foreign architectural designs in West Africa.

  1. The Trans-Saharan trade contributed to the establishment and development of diplomatic ties between West Africa and North Africa.

  1. There was growth of agricultural production as a result of the introduction of new crops.

  1. The sharia laws were introduced in the administration of West Africa.

  1. The trade exposed Africa to the outside world.

  1. The trade led to the development of communication between North and West Africa.

The decline of the Trans-Saharan trade

The Trans-Saharan trade began to decline in the 15th century and disintegrated completely in the 19th century following colonisation of West Africa by the Europeans. The factors which contributed to its decline were as follows:

  1. a) The gold mines in western Sudan got exhausted. This discouraged traders from coming to West Africa because the main trading commodity was not available.

  1. b) The Morrocans invaded West Africa in the 16th This undermined the trade because it created anarchy and insecurity in the region. The Morrocans wanted to capture this prosperous trade.
  2. c) The political instability in West Africa together with the decline of empires such as Mali and Songhai increased anarchy and insecurity in the region.

  1. d) West Africa was invaded by the Almoravids and the Tuaregs. This further increased insecurity along the major trade routes.

  1. e) The Tuaregs who guided the traders changed their roles from that of guides to that of robbers.

  1. f) The emergence of the Trans-Atlantic trade attracted the West African traders who were formerly involved in the Trans-Saharan trade. This led to reduction of the volume of goods and traders who participated in the Trans-Saharan trade.

  1. g) The Turks invaded North Africa creating insecurity along the caravan routes.

  1. h) The colonisation of West Africa by the Europeans reduced regional links and encouraged European exploitation of West African resources therefore undermining the Trans-Saharan trade.

  1. i) The British anti-slave trade pressure and eventual abolition of slave trade led to decline of the Trans-Saharan trade.

  1. j) Rivalry between caravans and the stiff competition of the traders sometimes resulted to wars which scared traders.

  1. Moroccan ports along the Mediterranean Sea were invaded by the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers in the late 15th century and early 16th This disrupted trade.

  1. European merchants began penetrating into the interior of West Africa for trade. They diverted the flow of goods such that goods were later taken to the West African coastal town such as Port Elmina and Accra.

International Trade

International trade refers to trade between nations. In modern international trade, nations within the same continent are included. The international trade of the period before the mid 20th century which is our main concern involved nations particularly those in different continents and which were not part of one geographical region.

This ancient international trade developed as a result of the improvement in water transport. This was achieved mainly through the construction of strong ships and acquisition of better knowledge of navigation which enabled sailors to explore and acquire knowledge about foreign lands overseas. An example of the international trade was the Trans-Atlantic trade.

The Trans-Atlantic trade

  1. i) Origin

The Trans-Atlantic trade began after the Portuguese explored the West African coast in the 15th century and after the Spanish sailor, Christopher Columbus sailed to Americas.

In the 16th century the Americas became colonised by the Portuguese and the Spanish. These two nations began to open up and develop their acquired territories through mining and establishment of sugar plantations. Attempts to use the Red Indians as labourers eventually failed. There was need to import Africans to supply labour in the mines and sugar plantations. This attempt marked the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The increased demand for sugar, tobacco and cotton in the European countries led to the establishment and growth of more and more plantations in Americas. A lot of labourers were therefore needed to work in the growing plantations.

Africans were more suited to plantation farming because they were handy and could work effectively in hot climates. They were used to tropical diseases and could survive longer. The Africans were also used to physical strains and hardships. All these made Africans to be regarded as the most potential suppliers of labour in the American plantations.

iii) The development of Trans-Atlantic trade

The first African slaves were the twenty people who were captured and taken to Henry the Navigator in 1442. By 1510 a large number of African slaves from Guinea were exported by the Portuguese to the Spanish colonies. Later slaves were transported directly form Guinea coast to the West Indies.

At first the Portuguese were the leading slave exporters. In the 17th century, the Dutch took the leading role as more Europeans settled in Americas and increased the demand for slave labour.

The French and the British involved themselves in this lucrative trade. The British captured the leading role from the Dutch and they dominated the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 18th century.

The increased demand for precious stones, sugar, cotton and tobacco in the European markets and the demand for fire arms, cloth, alcoholics, tobacco, utensils, glassware ornaments, sugar, sweets and iron bars in West Africa accelerated trade.

The Trans-Atlantic trade developed and grew rapidly due to the following factors:

  1. The commodities which were required by the Africans as well as the Europeans and Americans, were available in the three continents that took part in trade.

  1. The goods were also in great demand in the continents especially during the industrial revolution.

  1. The West African coast had natural harbours where ships anchored.

  1. The West African rulers provided foreign traders with security.

  1. There existed enterprising merchants in America, Europe and West Africa who engaged in trade.

  1. The steamships provided efficient transport and communication means between the three continents.

  1. The acquisition of new knowledge of navigation enabled sailors to sail across the deep and stormy seas and oceans.

  1. The decline of the Trans-Saharan trade enabled a big volume of goods to be taken to the West African coastal markets.

iii) The organisation of Trans-Atlantic trade

The Trans-Atlantic trade was well organised inform of a triangle which connected Europe, Africa and America. It involved European traders, African middlemen and American plantation owners.

Ships loaded with European manufactured goods such as fire arms, cloth, wines and spirits, cigarettes, iron bars, utensils, glassware, ornaments and sweets left Europe and anchored along the West African coast. Slaves captured in the interior of West Africa were marched along the coast. There were established places where the slaves were kept while awaiting shipment.

The ships from Europe were unloaded and the European manufactured goods exchanged for slaves, colanuts, precious stones, hides and skins. The ships were once more loaded with the West African commodities which were shipped across the Atlantic ocean to Americas.

In Americas, the slaves were sold through auction. The ships were then filled with indigo, cotton, tobacco, rum, sugar, rice, timber and the precious stones like gold and silver. They were then shipped to European markets.

How the slaves were obtained during the Trans-Atlantic trade

  1. Raids were conducted for capturing slaves.

  1. Free men were kidnapped and thereafter sold as slaves.
  2. Two communities conducted wars and the one which was defeated had is people captured as slaves.

  1. Leaders sold criminals and even some of their innocent subjects.

  1. Slaves were battered with other commodities African traders required.

  1. Children and women were enticed with sweets and thereafter captured.

  1. The weaker states were forced to pay tributes imposed on them by use of slaves.

  1. The people who failed to pay debts were captured and sold as compensation. Alternatively, they surrendered a family member to be sold instead.

The impact of the Trans-Atlantic trade

  1. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade caused immense pain and suffering to innocent Africans who were captured, chained, beaten and forced to walk long distances to the West Africa coast.

  1. The trade caused an incalculable number of deaths especially during inter community wars, raids and during shipment. The death tool is estimated to be about 20 million.

  1. There was a decline in the local industries because the able bodied people were sold away leading to loss of labour and because of sale of cheap manufactured goods.

  1. There were changes in the role of chiefs who instead of protecting their people sold them as slaves.

  1. There was intensification of warfare in a bid to capture slaves. This resulted to division among and within communities which caused bitterness and disunity of the Africans. The wars between communities were accelerated by the acquisition of firearms.

  1. A class of slave merchants emerged in West Africa. Examples of the slave merchants were Jaja of Opobo and Nana of Isekri. The two were very powerful and wealthy.

  1. Some states such as Asante, Benin, Oyo and Dahomey rose to power and expanded due to the great wealth obtained from trade.

  1. The Trans-Atlantic trade led to expansion of urban centres along the West African coast where commodities were exchanged. Such towns were Whydah, Accra, Porto Novo and Badgry.

  1. To some extent some parts of West Africa where raids were conducted became depopulated. This contributed in retarding economic development in those areas.

  1. The European traders intermarried with the people of the West African coast giving rise to halfcaste (mulato).

  1. Africans developed a taste of the European goods.

  1. Some weaker kingdoms such as Ketu declined due to constant raids conducted by stronger states such as Dahomey.

  1. The Trans-Atlantic trade contributed to the decline of the Trans-Saharan trade because the goods flowing Northwards across the Sahara desert got reduced and instead were taken to the West African coastal markets.

  1. Some powerful rulers such as King Geso of Dahomey emerged as a result of the introduction of fire-arms.

  1. The trade encouraged slave raids which destroyed property. Houses and crops for instance were burnt into ashes during slave raids.

  1. The Trans-Atlantic trade led to the development of agricultural plantations in the Americas.

  1. The trade gave rise to people of African descent in Americas. These are referred to as American Negroes.

  1. The final blow as a result of this trade was that West Africa was colonised and therefore came under European control.

The decline of the Trans-Atlantic trade

The Trans-Atlantic trade declined in the 19th century because of a number of factors. The industrial revolution in USA led to use of machines to work in the farms. Slave labour was no longer necessary.

There emerged the humanitarian movement and the Christian Missionaries in Britain who considered slave trade and slavery as unjust and inhuman. A typical example of humanitarians was Sir William Wilberforce who presented the issue of slave trade and slavery to the British parliament. Dr. Livingstone also advocated slave trade to be abolished.

Some economists and scholars were of the feeling that free labour was more paying and productive than slave labour. Some of them argued that mass migration of the Africans should be discouraged to ensure retention of the markets for the European manufactured goods. The decline of plantation economy in America and the Carribeans reduced the demand for slaves for use in the farms. Also the slaves in the Carribeans and America resisted because they wanted to be left free from being enslaved.

Lastly, some Europeans felt that it was necessary to retain Africans in their motherland so that they could produce raw materials needed in the European industries. In order to achieve this, it was necessary to abolish the Trans-Atlantic slave trade which was draining Africa of its labour force.

Review Questions

  1. a) Define the following:
  2. i) Barter trade
  3. ii) Currency trade

iii) Local trade

  1. iv) Regional trade
  2. v) International trade
  3. b) Explain the advantages of using currency over barter trade.

  1. a) Explain the origin and organisation of local trade.
  2. b) Discuss the factors which contributed to the development of the

Trans-Saharan trade.

3 a) Describe the role of Takshifs during the Trans-Saharan trade.

  1. b) Give five trade routes traders followed during the Trans-Saharan trade.

4 a) what problems did the traders encountered during Trans-Saharan


  1. Discuss the effects of the Trans-Saharan trade on the people of western Sudan.

5 a) What factors contributed to the development of the Trans-Atlantic


  1. b) Explain the impact of the Trans-Atlantic trade under the following headings.
  2. i) Social impact
  3. ii) Economic impact

iii) Political impact

6 Why did the Trans-Atlantic trade decline in the 19th century?

Students’ Activities

  • Visit the nearest shopping centre and find out the problems the traders encounter as they carry out their business.

  • Draw relevant maps indicating the trade routes during the Trans-Atlantic trade and Trans- Saharan trade.

  • Demonstrate the methods used to obtain slaves and the way they were finally transported to the market along the West Africa Coast and sold.


Development of Transport and Communication

Transport is the movement of people and goods from one place to another. Communication is the transmission of information in form of news, messages and ideas over some distances. It includes sending and receiving of information.

The early forms of transport included land transport, water transport, human transport and animal transport. Human transport involved carrying goods from one place to another on one’s back, head and shoulders. Animals were also used to carry goods and people on their backs from one place to the other.

The earliest forms of communication were smoke signals, drum beats, messengers, horn blowing and written messages on scrolls and stone tablets.

Traditional Forms of Transport

  1. a) Land transport

This form of transport involved movement of people and goods on land. They either walked or they were transported by use of tamed animals which pulled carts and wagons.

Land transport developed mainly because of the invention of the wheel. The invention of the wheel made transport easier because at first it was used to move war chariots and carts which carried agricultural produce. This also encouraged the development of trade and wars. The invention of the wheel therefore eased transportation of bulky loads and speeded transportation of people to various destinations. It also facilitated travel over long distances within a limited period of time. Wheeled vehicles were pulled by horses, donkey and oxen. The invention of the wheel was followed by the development of roads.

  1. b) Human transport

Human transport involved carrying of goods from one place to the other on the backs, shoulders and heads. Sometimes people used shoulder poles to transport goods. The slave traders in East Africa captured slaves and forced them to carry ivory from the interior to the East African coast.

Human transport exists even today. It is common to see Kenyan women carrying firewood, coffee, picked tea and cattle feed either on their heads or back.


  1. c) Animal Transport

After man domesticated animals, he learnt that some could be used to transport goods from one place to the other. These animals carried loads on their backs and they also pulled wheeled vehicles such as carts and wagons.

The beasts of burden such as camels, oxen, horses and donkeys were also referred to as pack animals. Donkeys were commonly used in Kenya by the Maasai and the Kamba to fetch water. In many other places, donkeys carried trade goods to the markets. Oxen transported people and goods from one place to the other. They were also used for ploughing.

Oxen drawn carts

Horses were used to transport soldiers during war times. The soldiers sometimes fought on horseback. Horses also pulled chariots which transported soldiers to battle fields.

A camel was a very efficient beast of burden in the desert because it could stay for a long time without water or food. This is because it has a store of fat in its hump. Camels were used to transport goods during the Trans-Saharan trade.

Other animals which are used for transport are elephants, water buffaloes, dogs and Llamas.

  1. d) Water transport

Water transport began due to the need to cross rivers and lakes to look for food on the other side.

Man’s first boat like vessel was made of a tree trunk. It was later improved by hollowing it to make a dug-out canoe.

Man also discovered that he could make rafts with animal skins or from bundles of reeds tied together. The canoes and rafts were used to move across the shallow waters.

The Phoenicians, the Egyptians and the Greeks made the earliest ships many years before the birth of Christ. These ships were used in seas and oceans. The Arabs made dhows that were driven by wind.

A dhow

Development of modern means of Transport

Modern means of transport involves road transport, railway transport, water transport, air transport and space exploration by use of rockets.

Road transport

The Romans were the first to introduce good quality roads which were of very high standards. This occurred before the birth of Christ. Roman roads survived for hundreds of years because they were well drained and durable. These roads were used by carts chariots and wagons which were pulled by horses, donkeys and oxen.

In the 17th and 18th century, British engineers began constructing better roads and bridges. Some of these engineers were George Wade, John Macadam and Thomas Telford. These engineers brought about the construction of high quality roads that were durable and well drained.

By the close of the 19th century various modes of modern transport such as bicycles and motor vehicles had been invented and were in use especially in Europe. The invention of the pneumatic tyres by Dunlop to replace the solid ones and the invention of steam power engines revolutionised land transport. Etienne Lenoir from France invented the first internal combustion engine.

A German citizen, Nicholas Otto, invented the four-stroke compression engine. Later in 1883 Gottliep Daimler of Germany came up with an efficient and portable petrol engine which he used to make the first motorcycle and later petrol driven car which was the first ever made.

Others who joined in the league of manufacturing vehicles were Karl Benz of Germany and Henry Ford of USA who founded Ford motor company in USA and began manufacturing cars for sale.

The vehicle industry since then has been greatly improved. Vehicles that move at very high speed have been introduced. This has resulted to many accidents. As a result of this, in January 2004, Kenya government took the following measures to reduce the increasing number of accidents on the Kenyan

Roads and to make travel comfortable and enjoyable:

Modern cars

  1. i) All motor vehicles were to be fitted with seat belts.
  2. All public service vehicles were to be fitted with speed governors and were to move at a speed not exceeding 80 kilometres per hour.
  • The carrying capacity of public service vehicles was reduced.
  1. Drivers and conductors of public service vehicles were to be permanently employed.
  2. Drivers and conductors of public service vehicles were to be issued with uniforms and badges and photographs for identification.
  3. Drivers and conductors of public service vehicles were required to have certificates of good conduct.

There are millions of motor vehicles in the world today. The number is still increasing each day because they are manufactured in thousands each day in the world.

Railway transport

The idea of making railway lines came earlier than the invention of the locomotive engines. For instance the Germans used wooden rails for their trucks. The trucks were pulled by horses and donkeys. Later iron rails replaced the wooden rails.

The first steam engine that could be mounted on a truck was made by Richard Trevithick but it was slow and heavy. It was George Stephenson, a coal miner in England who came up with the best and powerful steam locomotive which was called the Rocket. Later diesel and electric engines were designed. A German called Rudolh Diesel designed a diesel engine. The Siemens brothers designed the electric locomotives in Britain.

After these inventions the railway transport spread to other parts of the world. The European colonialists developed the railway transport in Africa in the 19th century and 20th century.

Water transport

The first sailing ships were propelled by wind. These ships were made of wood. When steam power was discovered, ships began being propelled by steam engines.

A ship of the 17th century

A Scottish engineer known as William Symington built a steamship which was driven by a paddle wheel. An American called Robert Fulton built a steamship called Clermont that was used to carry passengers between Albany and New York. Some years later, internal combustion engines were invented. Since then oil replaced the power from coal in driving engines.

From 1881 iron and steel ships began replacing wooden ships. From 1840s, fast moving ships were developed when propellers or screws replaced paddle wheels. Between 1953 and 1962, the Americans were able to make war ships called submarines which used nuclear power.

The ships of today are propelled by very powerful engines and are resistant to strong waves.

Air transport

The first person to fly used a balloon. The use of balloons was followed by the introduction of airships that carried passengers within the first half of the 20th century. The airships used hydrogen gas that caused accidents because it was highly flammable. The Wright brothers made the first aeroplane that used a petrol engine. Their findings helped to develop aeroplanes that were used in the First World War.

Further improvements of engines brought about the development of jet planes that carry many passengers and travel at supersonic speed.

An aeroplane

Space Exploration

The first satellite was launched into orbit round the earth by the Soviet Union in 1957. The USA also sent satellites into orbit round the earth in 1961. Yuri Gagarin from Soviet Union became the first man in space.

The USA sent the first man, Neil Armstrong, to the moon in 1969. Since then a number of countries have engaged themselves in space exploration. The USA for example have a programme called Space Shuttle which helps to promote space exploration.

Impact of modern means of transport

The development of modern means of transport has positive and negative impact in the world.

Positive impact

The development of water transport, railway transport, road transport and air transport has improved trade between nations because it has quickened movement of business people and urgent documents and messages relating to trade.

Goods are quickly and easily transported from one place to another. Job opportunities have been created in the transport sector. For example people have taken careers such as driving, mechanics, engineering and piloting.

Industries for manufacturing engines, spare parts and other accessories have been established. Air transport has encouraged international co-operation and facilitated quicker and easier movement of perishable items such as fruits and meat. It has also enabled pests such as locusts to be sprayed from the air. It has enabled countries to conduct student exchange programmes.

Air transport has encouraged space exploration by use of satellites. Geologists have used aeroplanes to explore and map oil pools. Geographers have used aeroplanes when conducting aerial survey.

Water transport has provided cheaper means of bulky goods across seas and oceans for example the transportation of crude oil, machinery, agricultural products and chemical fertilizers. It has also promoted the fishing industry.

In addition railway transport encouraged settlers to settle in the colonies acquired by their mother countries. It also encouraged migration of people to other places and enhanced colonisation. Railway transport encouraged urbanisation on railway junctions. It encouraged mining and farming as it opened up remote areas during the colonial rule in Africa.

Road transport has helped to link communities leading to rapid cultural interaction. Road transport has also enabled many countries to have effective administration through quick transportation of administrators and police to the areas they are needed.

Negative impact

Modern means of transport have encouraged pollution of environment. Trains and vehicles emit fumes while aeroplanes produce a lot of noise. When ships carrying oil or mercury wreck, they contaminate the ocean waters and cause destruction of marine life.

Modern means of transport have led to loss of life of many people due to accidents. Plane and vehicle hijacking has increased. There is piracy in seas and oceans. International terrorism has been encouraged through air transport. Modern transport has encouraged wars because ships, vehicles, trains and aeroplanes transport soldiers and weapons during wars.

Traditional forms of communication

The traditional forms of communication involve smoke signals, drum beats, messengers, horn blowing and written messages on scrolls and stone tablets. Communities used these forms of communication to make their members informed of what was happening and what was expected of them. The messages were sent quickly and easily over considerable distances.

The traditional forms of communication alerted people of impending dangers in times of war. For instance warriors used them in times of crisis to inform others of the approaching enemies. Lastly they enabled relatives who were living apart to keep in touch with each other.

Smoke signals

Fire was lit in the areas that were visible for example on hills. The smoke produced was used to convey certain information. The smoke signals reached people very fast. It was a convenient method because firewood was readily available and therefore making it easy to make fire.

The method was disadvantageous in the sense that smoke signals could not be sent at night because smoke could not be visible. Smoke signals could not be used during cloudy and foggy weather.

For the message to reach, people had to be on lookout. It was not possible to use this method to communicate with people who were blind. It was difficult to make fire during the rainy season on hilltops. Strong winds also hampered lighting of fire. Sometimes the receiver could wrongly interpret the message signalled. The message was also never recorded or stored for future reference. Confidential messages could not be transmitted without being revealed to people.

Drum beats

Many communities used drum beats as means of communication. People made special drums for communicating. The drums were made in such a way that they produced different sounds. Messages were conveyed through the sounds. The Buganda people used drums for communicating. The Ibos of Nigeria used talking drums to communicate matters concerning deaths and festivals. Sounds from drums were heard by people who were several kilometres away.

This method was advantageous because messages were sent quickly. Sending the messages was not tiresome. People knew the meaning of the sounds produced by the drums so communication was easy.

The method however had some disadvantages. The drums could not be heard by people who were separated by hills because of echoes. Sometimes people could interpret the sounds wrongly.

Drumbeats required specialists to send accurate sounds for accurate interpretations. Deaf people could not communicate using the method.


Messengers were people who were sent to deliver messages by word of mouth. They travelled on foot for some distances before they conveyed the messages to other messengers who also conveyed the messages to others. This continued until the message reached the recipient. These organised groups of messengers were known as runners. The messengers relayed the information and sometimes brought the feedback. They made people of a community to keep in touch with one another and to be aware of what was happening. Messengers informed rulers of the approaching enemies.

The disadvantages of this method were as follows:

The messengers sometimes gave wrong information in case they forgot the message. Sometimes the message could be distorted. Messengers were at times attacked by wild animals and killed. This resulted to the failure to deliver messages.

Sometimes messengers delayed the information in cases of sickness or an accident. Messengers delivered limited ranges of messages because of the problems of memory. The information relayed could not be easily kept confidential.

The relay method was tiresome because one had to run for considerable distances.

Horn blowing

Horn blowing was a method which was widely used among the African communities to send important messages. Sometimes horn blowing was used to call people for urgent meetings. It gathered warriors together in times of war. Special horns were blown to call hunters together especially among the Ameru people of Kenya.

Horns were also blown to alert people about important ceremonies such as circumcision among the Chuka people who are part of the Meru communities. Use of this method was advantageous in the sense that horn blowing could be used successfully at any time of both day and night except when it was raining heavily accompanied by thunderstorms because people could not hear.

Horns relayed specific messages and could be used in all seasons. They spread messages very fast without delay. Horns were obtained from domesticated animals such as cows and goats and from wild animals such as antelopes and gazelles.

The disadvantage of this method is that people who were specialised in blowing horns to produce meaningful sounds were required. Sometimes the messages could be wrongly interpreted if the horns were not accurately blown.

People who were deaf could not get the message. People could not use the method to communicate with others if they were separated from them by mountain ranges and hills. This is because the hills acted as a barrier and reflected the sound back.

Written messages on scrolls and stones tablets

A scroll was a roll of paper which was rolled round a piece of wood for writing on. Scrolls were used in Egypt, Greece, China and Japan.

Before the introduction of papers, the Egyptians used several sheets of papyrus to make a long sheet, which was known as a Scroll. They wrote messages on the scrolls. Part of the Old Testament Bible was written on scroll.

Stones were also shaped and messages written on them. These were called stone tablets. The Ten Commandments in the Bible were at first written on stone tablets. These stone tablets are sometimes called clay tablets. Writing was done on wet clay which later dried and left permanent marks. In Mesopotamia this type of writing was called cuneiform.

Developments in modern means of communication

The modern means of communication are Telephones, Televisions, Radios, Telegraphs, Electronic mails, Facsimile transreceivers, Telex, Pager, Internet as well as the print media which includes newspapers, magazines, journals and periodicals. All these send messages over long distances. They also keep people informed of what is happening and enable them to keep in touch with one another.


The first telephone was invented in 1875 by Alexander Graham Bell. It enabled speech to be transmitted along wire. The following year it became possible to send the first telephone messages after Thomas Edison made improvements on the initial model.

At one end speech sound was converted into electric vibrations while at the other end the vibrations were converted into original speech. The telephone provides a very quick means of communication that enables the caller to get immediate feedback. Today, the telephone is competing stiffly with mobile phones.

Modern Telephone

The Cellphone

Cellphones are the so called mobile phones. They are manufactured by a number of companies and they use radio waves for transmitting messages.

Mobile phone service providers in Kenya such as Safaricom and Kencell companies have established transmitter-receivers which detect radio signals sent by cellphones. The transmitter-receivers then send the signals back to the phones.


Cellphones vary in sizes and they are convenient as means of communication. They can be used anywhere so long as there is the network.

The only disadvantages of cellphones is that they are easily stolen. Some phones have poor reception while others are very delicate and can get damaged easily. cellphones cannot be used in places where there are no sources of electrical power because their batteries require continuous charging. They are expensive to buy and also to maintain.


The invention of the cathode ray tube in USA enabled the development of the modern television to take place.

This enabled people to receive news through sound while seeing pictures on screen. The televisions also became educational and entertainment facilities. The first televisions showed black and white pictures. Later colour televisions were introduced.

Today televisions are important because they entertain people, provide educative programmes and provide local and international news. However, the televisions are expensive to buy and require power from electricity or batteries which are expensive to buy and maintain. It is only the middle and upper class people who can afford to purchase and maintain televisions.


The first wireless messages were sent in form of electromagnetic signals through frequencies by Guglielimo Marconi. The wireless telegraphy became popular and more experiments were carried out which led to the transmission of speech by radio waves.

During the First World War, more experiments were carried out. In 1920 the first radio broadcast was made in Britain by the Marconi Company. The same year the Westinghouse Company also begun sending out regular radio broadcasts in America.

The British Broadcasting Company (B.B.C) began its regular transmissions in 1922. The first BBC radio broadcast was transmitted in Kenya in 1928. Later during the Second World War English and Kiswahili programmes were introduced in Kenya. The radio transmitted local and foreign news.


Today the radio has become a very useful means of communication. It sends messages to distant places in the shortest possible time. The radio transmits educative programmes in form of Radio broadcast to schools as well as local and foreign news.

It also provides programmes to the general public, which give them awareness on HIV/AIDS, good morals, need for unity and how to become good law abiding citizens.

The radio serves a large number of people at the same time and it is cheaper to use than many other means of communication. It plays a big role in promoting trade through advertisement.

Lastly the radio entertains many people with songs and plays. This is possible because anybody can listen to the appropriate radio programme transmitted in a language he or she understands best.


Two scientists namely, Charles Wheatstone and William Coke invented the electric telegraph in 1837. The initial telephone wires were laid along railway lines in Britain inorder to alert railway officials about the movement of the locomotives.

Later an American scientist called Samuel Morse improved the telegraph communication by inventing one which never used needles but used a code of dots and dashes. This new device came to be known as Morse Code. It was used to send telegrams to many parts of the world. In Kenya the telegraph wires were laid down during the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway.

Electronic Mail (E-mail)

Electronic mail sometimes called E-mail is a device which allows computer users locally and internationally to exchange messages. The E-mail allows distribution of messages (mails) to and from computers in a network. Each user of the E-mail has a mailbox address to which messages are sent. Messages sent through e-mail arrive within a very short period irrespective of the distance the sender is. Messages sent merely take seconds to reach.

The E-mail has some advantages when used as a means of communication:

  1. It delivers messages very fast.

  1. It is cheap because the cost of delivering messages far away is relatively low.

  1. Volumes or several copies of messages can be sent at the same time.

  1. The same message can be sent to many different people instantly.

  1. The E-mail messages are secure and one does not need to own a computer to use the facility. All one is required to do is to open an account through an Internet Service Provider.

Facsimile transreceivers (Fax)

This is a machine which enables transmission of written information like drawings, diagrams and maps in their exact form. Messages to be transmitted are fed into the machine which is connected by a telegraphic or telephone wire to a similar machine elsewhere which produces the message in photographic detail.

The sender makes first contact by telephone and then presses a button at the sending point. Both the sending machine and the receiving machine have drums with photographic papers. When the drums on both sides start to revolve, the facsimile copy is produced at the receiving end. The facsimile copy produced is exactly the same as the original copy at the sending end. It is transmitted in about half a minute.


This method of sending information is advantageous in that actual information is transmitted within a very short time.

One disadvantage is that it is more expensive to send messages using facsimile transreceiver compared with some other means of communication such as e-mail and telephone over short distances. However, the method is cheaper when used to transmit messages over long distances.


Telex uses a teleprinter which prints messages and send them to the other places instantly. Telex machines are switched on the whole day. The telex subscribers have numbers which must be typed and the exchange operator advises when the connection is made so as to start typing the messages.

When information is typed on a teleprinter, it is automatically typed and reproduced the same time by the machine at the receiving end in typescript. Today teleprinters are used all over the world to send urgent messages.


This is a device which enables the where about of a person to be located so that the person can be brought on telephone to hear a message and perhaps also reply to it immediately. It involves sending a signal that is received by a particular person who is alerted by the beeping of the pager.

It is common where people do not sit in offices but move from one place to another within a specified area. Its disadvantages are that it only receives a signal and one cannot send back the reply using the machine. It operates within a specified area where the signals can reach.


This is a computer network made up of thousands of networks world-wide. Millions of world computers are connected to the Internet and the number is still increasing at alarming rate.

There is no single individual, organisation or government which may claim ownership of the Internet. However, some organisations develop technical aspects of the Internet network and set standards for creating applications on it, but no single governing body is in control.

The backbone through which the Internet traffic flows is owned by private companies. All computers on the Internet communicate with one another using the transmission control protocol.

An Internet user has access to a wide variety of services which include shopping opportunities, real-time broadcasting, interactive collaboration, file transfer and electronic mail.

Users of Internet can search and find information of interest aided by special software and data stored in ready usable formats. This is called information browsing. Individuals are able to gain access to a wide range of information topics.

The Internet allows a person to use electronic mail and to transfer data in form of files across the Internet from one side to the other. The Internet also allows people to use other computers across the network. The use of computers is becoming popular in Kenya today. Many people and organisations are trying to connect their computers to the Internet so that they can interact with the rest of the world.

The impact of modern means of telecommunication

  1. The development of telecommunication has improved communication in the entire world by easing communication within countries, between various countries and between citizens and their governments as well as communication among individuals themselves.

  1. It has helped to improve travel. Pilots in ships and planes for instance communicate with others in control stations by use of telecommunication facilities.

  1. Trade has been promoted due to the development of telecommunication services which provide speed and efficiency of business transactions through advertisements.

  1. Radio and television provide mass entertainment to people all over the world. They have also kept people busy during their leisure time.

  1. Telecommunication technology has created employment opportunities for many people in the world.

  1. It has been used in modern warfare to communicate and to provide information to soldiers in war.

  1. It has enabled astronomers to explore the outer space in order to conduct space research. Satellite communication is mainly for this purpose.

  1. Many people have been able to learn a lot of new things as they watch the television and listen to radio programmes.

  1. Telecommunication services have enabled people to learn the cultures of other people in the world. The television has played a great role in achieving this therefore promoting cultural interaction.

  1. Means of communication such as the telephone enable direct delivery of messages to the recipients.

  1. The message can be delivered very fast within seconds to a person very far away by use of telephone, telex, fax and e-mail.

  1. The computers have enabled storage of information while the Internet has enabled access to other information in computers world wide. This is a great achievement in the development of telecommunication.

Print media

The print media includes communication through Newspapers, Magazines, Journals and Periodicals.


These are written messages containing local and foreign events. Before the introduction of regular newspapers, messages reached people through word of mouth and short letters posted to them or pinned on the notice boards for anyone to read.

The Germans were the first to introduce the newspaper system following the invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg in 1440. By the close of the 18th century almost all the countries in Europe except Britain had regular newspapers.

Britain however introduced the first newspaper entitled the Daily Courant in 1702. More and more publications followed in Britain after 1861 when printing of newspapers was legally allowed. Newspaper printing and circulation then spread to the rest of the world.

Newspapers are printed on daily or weekly basis. They contain news, advertisements and various articles on many fields.

In Kenya for example, we have daily newspapers such as the Daily Nation, The East African Standard, Kenya Times, The People, Taifa Leo, and weekly newspapers such as Sunday Nation, Sunday Standard and Taifa Weekly.


Magazines resemble newspapers except the fact that they are not published frequently. They may be published after a week, after a fortnight or after a month or even three months. Magazines cover articles, stories and announcements.

During the colonial rule Jomo Kenyatta was the editor of a magazine entitled, “Muigwithania”. Since independence, we have had magazines like the Kenya Gazette, Parents, Today, Weekly Review and Finance among others.


These are newspapers which deal with certain specialised subjects for instance they may deal with trade, medicine, education, science and specific topics in history. They are published at certain intervals.

We may therefore have titles such as ‘The Journal of African History’, The Medicine Journal and The Scientific Journal but each of them covering a specific area in a specified field.


These are magazines or other publications published at regular intervals for instance on weekly or monthly basis.

Advantages of print media

  1. Written information through the print media is preserved for a long period without being distorted, forgotten and damaged.

  1. Written of information through print media can be done any time because it is not effected by weather or any other physical aspects.

  1. It is cheap to store and also transport written material such as newspapers and magazines that contain written information.

  1. It is easy to use written information in the print media for future reference because one can easily review the message when necessary.

  1. It is easy for the literate to get information and directives from the government by use of newspapers and magazines.

  1. Newspapers and magazines are used to advertise business. This promotes business transactions.

  1. Ideas are able to spread fast.

  1. Printing and sale of newspapers and magazines has created employment opportunities.

  1. Print media provides foreign news therefore enabling people to be aware of what happens outside the country.

  1. Print media is not discriminative because it serves all the people who can read since newspaper and magazines are written using several languages. For instance, some newspapers are written in English, others in Kiswahili and some in various local languages (mother tongues)

Disadvantages of print media

  1. They can be used to spread propaganda.

  1. They can be used to tarnish the name of individuals for example the politicians.

  1. They sometimes include information that is not suitable for young children. This can affect the morals of the youth.

Review Questions

1 a) Define transport and communication.

  1. b) Explain why the camel is regarded as the best beast of burden for use in deserts.

2 a) Outline the impact of the invention of the wheel.

  1. b) Describe the main stages in the development of water transport.
  2. c) What is the impact of the development of modern water transport.
3 a) List the inventions, which helped to promote road transport.
b) What was the impact of the development of rail transport.

4 a) Explain the development of space exploration.
b) Describe the advantages of the development of air transport.

5 a) Identify the traditional forms of communications.
b) Explain the importance of radio as a means of communication.

6 a) What is the print media?
b) Discuss the impact of modern telecommunication.

Students’ Activities

1 In groups discuss the problems of various means of transport and communication.

  • Collect newspapers and magazines and then in groups classify the types of news reported.


Development of Industry

Industrialisation is the process of producing goods from raw materials. Before the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, wood, wind and water were the major sources of energy in the world.

The sources of energy


Before the 19th century wood was an important source of energy. Wood was used for cooking, boiling water and warming houses in winter. In the early 19th century, it was also used for making charcoal that was used for smelting iron. Wood was also used to heat water to prepare the steam power for driving steam engines and steam ships.


Energy from wind was used for pumping water from mines and wells. It was used to separate grains from husks (winnowing). Wind energy was used for driving ships and boats for instance the Arab dhows. Wind energy was also used to operate windmills used for grinding grains into flour. The balloons also used wind energy to fly.


Water provided energy for operating spinning and weaving machines. It operated water mills for grinding flour. Water also provided energy for operating water pumps. It was heated to produce steam power.

Uses of metals in Africa


Bronze is a mixture (alloy) of copper and tin. Bronze was used to make weapons such as daggers, arrowheads, swords, axes and spears. It was used to make tools which included chisels and hoes. It was used to make ornaments and utensils.

Bronze was also used to make containers, bronze sculptures and musical instruments such as flutes.

Lastly, bronze was used for making stones for constructing pyramids in Egypt and also for decorating king’s palaces.


Gold is an attractive metal that was used by rulers to decorate their palaces. It acted as a sign of wealth. The rulers of the Asante Kingdom in West Africa regarded gold as their sole property. Anyone who obtained a gold nugget had to hand it over to the king.

Gold was used to make golden ornaments and sculptures. It was an important commodity of trade among the people of the Mwene Mtapa Kingdom and the city-state of Kilwa that minted gold coins. Gold was also used to make knife handles, utensils and containers.


Copper was found in many parts of Africa such as Egypt, Zaire and Zambia. Copper was used to make ornaments such as bangles. It was used to make tools such as needles and to mint copper coins that acted as a sign of wealth and medium of exchange.

Copper utensils were also made from it. It was also used for decorating the kings’ palaces and for making brass and bronze alloys. Copper was used to make water pipes in Egypt. Lastly it was used for making weapons.


There were several early iron working centres in Africa such as Meroe, Nok, Taruga, Axum, Korotoro, Kwale and Kavirondo gulf. These early iron-working centres were famous for making a variety of iron tools such as hoes, knives and axes. In some places cattle bells and jingles for festivities were made.

Iron was widely used for making high quality weapons of the time such as daggers, swords, spearheads, arrowheads and stabbing knives.

Gold sculptures which represented people were made in West Africa in Nok and Taruga iron working sites. The Bantu are associated with the spread of iron working technology in Africa.

The spread of iron working technology had the following impact:

  1. More land was cultivated due to the introduction of better iron tools such as hoes and axes which cleared forests.
  2. Trade increased especially between the blacksmiths and the cultivators.

  1. It encouraged migrations because the iron weapons made the migrating communities to have confidence of conquering others and settling in their land since security was guaranteed.

  1. The iron weapons made some communities to expand through conquest. This led to the growth of strong states such as Nubia, Mwene Mtapa, Buganda, Axum and Ancient Ghana.

  1. The iron making in Africa encouraged wars because people acquired superior iron weapons which gave them courage to advance and conquer others.

  1. Iron working encouraged job specialisation. Some people became blacksmiths others began making specific items such as knives, daggers, axes, hoes and spear heads.

  1. There was rapid increase in food production because of increase in farmlands.

  1. The early mining centres attracted more people. This encouraged urbanisation.

  1. Iron weapons enables various communities to improve their systems of defence.

  1. The weak communities were displaced by the stronger ones and sometimes assimilated during migration.

  1. In some areas iron became a medium of exchange.

Uses of various sources of energy during the Industrial Revolution in Europe


Coal was the main source of energy in the 19th century. It heated water to very high temperatures to produce steam which drove water pumps for removing water in the coal mines. Coal was used to produce steam for driving steamships and the locomotives. It was also used for heating and lighting houses.

Today, coal is used for generating electricity and providing power for industries.


The use of petroleum became popular during the industrial revolution. At first oil was used to light lamps which were used in houses and streets.

When the first internal combustion engine which used petrol was invented by Gottlieb Daimler, petroleum began being used for driving motor vehicles. Petroleum was also used for lubricating machines in factories and for generating thermal – electricity. Petroleum was used as medicine by the Chinese and the Indians. Today petroleum products are used in industries to make drugs, synthetics, plastics and fertilisers.

The disadvantages of petroleum

It is expensive to mine. Once extracted and exhausted it cannot be renewed. Lastly it pollutes the environment.


Steam was produced by heating water to very high temperatures. When steam was produced it was used as follows:

  1. To drive heavy machines in factories.

  1. To pump out water out of mines.

  1. To drive steam driven vehicles.

  1. To drive steam driven trains and locomotives.

Steam locomotive

  1. To drive steamships and steam boats.

  1. To operate spinning and weaving machines.


There are two forms of electricity, Hydro-electricity and Thermal electricity. Hydro-electricity is produced by converting the energy of moving water to electrical energy. Thermal electricity is produced by burning oil or coal to provide heat which is used to produce steam which turn steam turbines and hence generate electricity.

The electrical power was used and is still used as follows:

  1. To drive machines in industries and factories.

  1. To light houses.

  1. To drive electric trains and cars

  1. To heat houses.

  1. To supply power to radios, televisions, cinema and computers.

  1. To supply power to refrigerators and electric cookers.

  1. For welding.

  1. To boil water.

  1. To fence game parks.

Uses of iron and steel

The smelting of iron started very early when communities started separating it from rock. In the 18th and 19th centuries new iron smelting techniques were discovered. This came about because iron was very much in demand during the Industrial Revolution especially in the transport sector where it was used for making ships, trains, rails and bridges. Iron was also used to make textile machines, water pipes and ploughs.

In the mid 19th century, Henry Bessemer discovered the method of converting iron into steel. There after, steel replaced iron in the making of many equipment required in the transport industry. For instance rail bars, trains, ships and bridges were made by use of steel because it is stronger than iron. Later steel was used for reinforcing concrete during construction of permanent buildings.

Steel producing plant

Today steel has a wide range of uses for instance it is used in the motor vehicle industries, ship building industries, in the industries for making trains and also in the industries which make building materials such as iron sheets, roofing bars, nuts and bolts. Steel is therefore widely used to make many kinds of tools and machinery.

Industrialisation in Britain

Britain was the first European nation to industrialise. During the first half of the 19th century, it was the leading industrialised nation in the world. It manufactured textiles and a variety of items made of iron.

Britain had rich coal mines which provided enough coal for industrial power. The surplus was exported. This made Britain to be the leading trading nation during the first half of the 19th century.

The other European countries and USA borrowed the industrial technology from Britain. By 1870s Britain ceased to be the world’s leading industrialised nation.

The last half of the 19th century was associated with many scientific inventions and discoveries which promoted industrialisation not only in Britain but also in other nations like USA, France and Germany. Britain became the first nation to industrialise because of the following factors which contributed to the development of industries:

  1. Britain had good transport and communication network.

  1. It had enough capital to invest in industry.

  1. There was sufficient raw materials in Britain in form of coal, iron and cotton for use in the industries.

  1. Britain enjoyed a long period of peace and political stability.

  1. The British army was strong and superior. It defended the waters of Britain effectively from competitions by rival nations from sea pirates.

  1. Britain had well advanced insurance and banking systems.

  1. Trade barrier such as tariffs which could hinder trade never existed in Britain by then because it had adopted the policy of free trade.

  1. Britain had enterprising merchants who manned trade and also encouraged industrial growth and development.

  1. It had well developed cottage industries which laid the basis of the industrial take off.

  1. There was adequate skilled and unskilled labour.

  1. The acquisition of colonies overseas provided Britain with more raw materials for the industries.

  1. The rapid population growth in Britain expanded the internal market for the manufactured goods while the acquisition of colonies overseas provided external markets.

  1. The technological advancement of the people in Britain brought about new inventions which stimulated industrialisation.

  1. There was availability of energy from coal.

  1. The Agrarian Revolution had provided industrial workers with sufficient food.

The effects of the industrialisation in Britain in the 19th century

  1. The industrialisation of Britain in the 19th century stimulated the rural-urban migration of the landless who went to seek for employment in the emerging industrial centres. This led to expansion of industrial centres and hence urbanisation.

  1. Transport and communication facilities such as roads, railways, and telephones were developed to serve the industrial centres by facilitating trade and transportation of raw materials to the factories and manufacture of goods to the market.

  1. There was the expansion of the banking industry and insurance. These provided services to both industrial owners and workers. They also created new employment opportunities.

  1. The industrialisation in Britain led to enormous expansion of local and international trade. The manufactured goods were sold to the British citizens and the surplus was sold to the rest of Europe and to the British colonies overseas. The British colonies provided raw materials such as palm oil, iron, copper and cotton in return.

  1. Colonialism was encouraged as a means of acquiring sources of raw materials for the British industries. Britain was able to acquire colonies such as India, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria.

  1. The standards of living of many Britons was raised due to income obtained from the industries. The rise of the standards of living of the middle class in particular resulted to the class struggle between the rich and the poor in Britain therefore sharpening the social stratification.

  1. The industrialisation in Britain led to development of agricultural production in Britain as well as in USA and other British colonies. The industrial workers in Britain required food. The machines required lubricating oil which was obtained from the palm oil grown along the West African coast. Cotton was obtained from America and used in the British textile industries to manufacture cotton cloth.

  1. The industrialisation in Britain encouraged establishment of many kinds of machines. These industrial machines produced fumes which polluted the environment. There was also excessive noise which made some people deaf.

  1. Poor living conditions of factory workers encouraged emergence of poor housing or slums. In these slums there was overcrowding of houses which were not properly ventilated. The poor living conditions were as a result of the low wages of the factory workers.

  1. The industrialisation in Britain also encouraged exploitation of labour. Children and women laboured for long hours in industries before manual labour was replaced by use of machines.

  1. Industrialisation in Britain caused unemployment especially after machines were introduced which could do the work formerly done by labourers. The jobless still remained living in slums but they turned to new careers which were immoral such as robbery and prostitution as a means of their survival.

  1. The overcrowding of people in towns and poor sanitary facilities resulted to outbreaks of diseases such as dysentery, cholera and tuberculosis.

Industrialisation in continental Europe

It is necessary to note that industrialisation technology spread to other countries of Europe from Britain in the second half of the 19th century. Countries such as Germany, France and Belgium which had abundant deposits of coal, iron and steel as well as the supply of both skilled and unskilled labour became industrialised next.

To achieve this, industrial research was carried out. The discovery of the method of converting iron into steel by Henry Bessemer revolutionised the industrial sector. Electricity and petroleum were also discovered and they became important sources of energy for the industries.

The rapid industrialisation of continental Europe was characterised by the following:

  • Improved transport and communication to ease transportation of raw materials and marketing of ready manufactured goods.
  • Increased exploitation of coal and iron ore.
  • Improvements in agriculture in order to produce enough food for urban dwellers and industrial workers and also to provide some industrial raw materials.
  • Mass production of manufactured goods as well as the coming up of many new inventions as a result of increased industrial research.

Problems the industrial workers experienced

  1. Workers were paid very low wages making them to experience poor living conditions.

  1. Workers were exposed to very dangerous machines, noise and chemicals which resulted to injuries, suffocation, accidents and deaths.

  1. Diseases attacked workers because their living conditions were very poor. Such diseases were typhoid, cholera, dysentery and tuberculosis.

  1. Women and children toiled in the factories and they were also subjected to long working hours which denied them leisure and rest.

  1. The environment they worked in was polluted due to improper disposal of industrial waste.

  1. Workers lived in overcrowded houses where there was inadequate lighting conditions and poor ventilation.

  1. The poverty as a result of low wages increased crime rate in towns. Workers were therefore exposed to constant robbery.

  1. The factory workers were not insured.

Effects of the industrial revolution in Europe

  1. The Industrial Revolution in Europe stimulated rural urban migration of the landless who wanted to look for jobs in the expanding urban centres.

  1. There was scramble for colonies as a means of acquiring sources of raw materials for the industries in Europe and looking for market for the surplus manufactured goods as well as suitable areas for investing their surplus capital.

  1. There was increased urbanisation because employment opportunities attracted many people. Trade that developed in towns attracted businessmen who opened other commercial activities that also attracted many people. The development of transport and communication systems and the use of machines in the cottage industry also made people to move to urban centres and hence promoting urbanisation.

  1. The standards of living of the people in Europe were raised due to income from the industries.

  1. It stimulated expansion of factories instead of cottage industries. Banking and insurance were established.

  1. Industrial Revolution in Europe created employment opportunities in the industrial sector in form of mechanics, plant operators, engineers and managers.

  1. The Industrial Revolution led to the rise of trade unionism in the European countries such as Britain, France and Germany.

  1. There was replacement of human labour with the use of machines.

  1. The Industrial Revolution in Europe led to production of goods in large quantities. These goods were exported in bulk.

  1. It encouraged the development of transport and communication systems such as railways and roads.

  1. The industries led to pollution of the environment, overcrowding of people and crime.

  1. The Industrial Revolution in Europe promoted the development of agriculture because the industrial workers needed food.

  1. The Industrial Revolution in Europe caused unemployment in the countries where the use of machines had replaced manual labour.

  1. The Industrial Revolution in Europe stimulated local and international trade.

  1. The Industrial Revolution finally led to exploitation of labour. Children worked in factories for long hours.

Emergence of the world industrial powers


The USA has led in industrialisation for a long period. Before it became industrialised the Americans were largely agricultural people. The Britons who migrated from Britain to America are the one who stimulated industrialisation in the USA.

Many factors however contributed to the success of the industrialisation in the USA. These factors are as follows:

  1. The USA had abundant natural resources such as iron ore and coal as well as forestry resources.

  1. There was adequate skilled and unskilled labour due to the high population in USA. Slaves also provided labour in the American farms leading to production of raw materials for use in the American industries.

  1. The USA had adequate energy resources such as coal and iron ore. Later uranium, petroleum, electricity and natural gas were introduced.

  1. There was the development of transport and communication in form of railways, roads, airways, telegraph, radio, telephones, telegrams and televisions.

  1. The technological advancement in North America in the 19th and 20th centuries contributed to the industrial advancement in the USA because a lot of discoveries and inventions on industry were made.

  1. Banks and insurance were introduced in the USA. They contributed a lot to the industrial sector.

  1. The government of the USA encouraged foreign investors from Germany and Japan to come and invest in industry.

  1. The USA had adequate capital obtained locally as a result of the Agrarian Revolution as well as from the foreigners who had invested there.

  1. The USA enjoyed a long period of political stability. Even in the 20th century the USA joined the two world wars almost the time they were ending. Also there were few strikes and industrial disputes.

  1. The British citizens who migrated to the USA introduced plantation agriculture that provided the initial industries with the agricultural raw materials. This laid the basis for heavy industries that used iron and steel.

  1. In the 20th century the USA embarked on intensive research aimed at promoting industry. The institutions of learning emphasised on Science and scientific research. The universities in particular became devoted to industrial development.

  1. The government policies favoured the growing industries. The USA government for example encouraged the home market by discouraging the imposition of tariffs on locally manufactured commodities.

  1. The USA had a strong agricultural base that contributed to her industrial take off. This is because the industrial labour force could get enough food supply and raw materials for the processing industries based on agricultural product.

The effects of industrialisation on the USA

  1. The people’s standards of living has been improved. The USA government supports the unemployed US citizens.

  1. The USA economy has been diversified. It now attains income from both agriculture and industry.

  1. The USA has been able to boost her industrial technology by encouraging education based on science and research.

  1. The USA has become the major world power after the break of the former USSR.

  1. The USA has been able to use its industrial product and technology to mechanise agriculture in order to increase the agricultural yields. This has enabled the USA to provide the growing population with sufficient food.

  1. The industrial development in the USA has enabled it to take part in space exploration. The first human being to land on the moon, Neil Armstrong, was from the USA.

  1. The USA has been able to earn foreign currency which has enabled it to acquire abundant foreign reserve. This has also enabled the USA to be one of the world’s leading donor states. For example the USA provided financial and technical aid to Brazil and Egypt which enabled them to industrialise.

  1. The US businessmen have been able to invest locally because of the wealth obtained from the industrial sector.

  1. Industrialisation has enabled the USA to develop its military might. This military might enabled US to oust Saddam Hussein of Iraq from power.

  1. Industrialisation has encouraged urbanisation.

  1. Industrialisation has encouraged pollution of the environment.

  1. Industrialisation created job opportunities for the Americans.


Germany began being industrialised in the 19th century. By 1900 it was second to USA in industrialisation.

Several factors facilitated the industrial development in Germany. These were as follows:

  1. The creation of German customs union (Zollverein) unified the Germans. This was followed by rapid economic development.

  1. Germany had large amounts of raw materials such as iron ore and coal. Iron ore was obtained from Alsace-Lorraine while coal was obtained from Ruhr and Saar mines.

  1. The USA through the Marshall plan provided Germany with financial aid for reconstruction after the Second World War.

  1. The German population was increased rapidly. This growing population provided skilled and unskilled labour.

  1. Germany had well-developed transport and communication facilities in form of railways, roads and canals.

  1. The German government supported industrialisation by encouraging ambitious Germans to invest locally in industry and also through protection of tariffs and subsidies.

  1. The industrial base that existed before the Second World War in Germany was revoked even after the war.

  1. Germany enjoyed political stability after the Second World War. This encouraged industrial development.

  1. There was sufficient power for the German industries from coal.

  1. The manufactured goods from Germany had markets in South America and Far East.

  1. The development of education based on science and technology in Germany enabled it to produce scientists and very skilled manpower.

  1. The second unification of East and West Germany widened the scope of industrial output.
  2. There were improved agricultural techniques in Germany that resulted to the increased yields that provided agricultural raw materials for the processing industries.

The impact of industrialisation of Germany

  1. Industrialisation improved the standards of living of the German society. Their purchasing power was raised.

  1. Germany was able to develop a network of transport and communication to be able to transport raw materials and manufactured goods.

  1. Industrialisation enabled Germany to become a strong power before the First World War. This made Germany to join other European nations to look for colonies overseas.

  1. Industrialisation diversified the economy of Germany because the country was able to manufacture vehicles, machinery, chemicals, electronics and textiles that were exported in the local and international markets.

  1. It created employment opportunities for the people in West Germany and the neighbouring states such as Yugoslavia, Turkey and Italy.

  1. Industrialisation in Germany encouraged the growth of urban centres such as Berlin and Warsaw.

  1. Germany’s foreign reserve was boosted due to sale of her manufactured goods for instance machinery of all kinds.

  1. Industrialisation boosted local and international trade.

  1. Industrialisation of Germany contributed in reducing inflation.

  1. Industrialisation in Germany also boosted foreign reserve due to sale of the manufactured goods.


Industrialisation of Japan began in the second half of the 19th century after the USA made treaties with Japan aimed at creating trade partnership. The introduction of compulsory primary and secondary education and the establishment of universities and other colleges followed this. Many students were sponsored abroad where they acquired education.

Japan was engaged in wars with China and Russia between 1894 and 1905. It also fought on one side with Britain, France and Russia during the First World War against Germany and her allies.

During the Second World War, Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour in the Hawaiian Islands. The USA responded by bombing the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. This act affected the economy of Japan but there was economic recovery and continued industrialisation in the later years.

Industrialisation in Japan was promote by the following factors:

  1. Japan had enough capital for carrying out research and for industrial development. Japan also benefited from the American aid obtained after the Second World War.

  1. There was ready internal and external market for the Japanese manufactured goods.

  1. Japan enjoyed a long term of political stability mainly after the Second World War. This peaceful atmosphere encouraged industrial progress.

  1. Japan has a network of transport and communication for instance railways and roads.

  1. The Japanese industrial base which existed before the first world war was improved and made better after the second world war.

  1. Power was available from coal, uranium and hydro-electric power for industrial use.

  1. Skilled and unskilled labour was readily available in Japan.

  1. Japan had abundant raw material for instance, iron ore and coal.

  1. Japanese are hardworking people. This promoted industrial development.

  1. Japanese goods are of very high quality and at the same time very cheap. This encouraged internal and external market.

  1. Japan natural harbours encouraged trade through export and import of goods.

  1. Japan has been politically neutral since the Second World War. It trades with any nation.

  1. Japanese introduced a new form of taxation aimed at raising funds for promoting industrialisation.

  1. The Japanese government encouraged home market and imposed tariffs on foreign goods to discourage them from competing with goods produced in other countries.

  1. Japan encouraged foreign investors to come and invest in the country. Japan also invested in other countries.

The effects of industrialisation in Japan

  1. Industrialisation has led to improvement of the standards of living of Japan


  1. The Japan foreign reserve has been boosted due to sale of Japanese manufactured goods.

  1. Japan has been recognised as one of the developed industrialised country of the world.

  1. Japan has diversified her economy from a predominantly agricultural country to a country which also obtains wealth from Industry.

  1. Japan has promoted trade by using locally manufactured ships to carry imported raw materials and goods for export.

  1. Job opportunities have been created in the industrial sector.

  1. Industrialisation has encouraged development of better and sufficient means of transport and communications.

  1. Many people prefer Japanese manufactured goods mainly because they are of high quality and at the same time cheap.

Industrialisation in the third world


Industrialisation in Brazil began in the last quarter of the 19th century. The country’s industrial process later developed tremendously because of the following factors.

  1. Large deposits of minerals such as iron ore, gold, bauxite and manganese were available for industrial use. Other raw materials in form of wood for lumbering and agricultural products were available for the Brazilian industries.

  1. The Brazilian government provided capital for developing industries.

  1. The U.S.A. also provided technical and financial aid to Brazil, such aid was used to develop heavy industries like the Volta and Rendonda steel works.

  1. Brazil had cottage industries that laid the basis of its modern industries.

  1. There was development of transport and communication in Brazil. This was through the construction of roads and railways for transporting raw materials to the industries.

  1. Brazil encouraged foreign investors who established companies from Europe and the U.S.A.

  1. The Brazilian government introduced five year development plans to promote industrial development.

  1. The first and the second world wars influenced the industrial take off in Brazil by encouraging mass production of locally manufactured goods, which were sold cheaply.

  1. Brazilian goods were in demand in Britain, which provided a ready market.

  1. The government nationalised industries to enable them to be supervised properly. It also encouraged industrialisation.

  1. Coal, petroleum and hydro- electric power were available for providing energy in the industries.

  1. There was internal market of the goods from the industries. For example the Brazilians purchase pharmaceuticals transport materials and spare parts, farm tools and machinery and textiles.

Obstacles to the industrialisation of Brazil

Industrialisation of Brazil has not been smooth A number of factors have undermined Brazilian effort to industrialise. These are:

  1. A large percentage of Brazilian citizens are poor and they can not establish industries or provide a high purchasing power for the industrial goods.

  1. Still there is inadequate transport and communication facilities even after the government’s efforts to improve transport and communication.

  1. The Brazilian wealth in owned and controlled by a majority group.

  1. The Brazilian population is concentrated along the coastal belt. The interior has labour problems because majority of the Brazilians prefer to work along the coastal belt.

  1. Constant inflation in Brazil makes goods to be expensive.

  1. Brazil has accumulated many foreign debts. This hinders steady progress of the country.

  1. The available resources in the Amazon forest are under exploited due to the sparse population there. These are resources that can be used in industries.

Impact of the industrial growth in Brazil

  1. The Brazilian industrial sector has boosted her foreign reserve.

  1. At least there is an improvement in the living standards of the local people in Brazil who survive from the spill of industrial gains. This has succeeded due to reduction of the inflation that has to the rise of the purchasing power of the Brazilians.

  1. Exports have been increased due to increase in manufactured goods.

  1. Brazil has emerged as one of the most industrialised third world countries.

  1. Industrialisation of Brazil has encouraged modernisation of port facilities in order to provide an outlet of goods being exported.

  1. It has accelerated the development of transport and communication in Brazil.

  1. Employment opportunities have been created especially in the heavy and light industries.

  1. Industrial growth has encouraged growth and expansion of urban centres especially those along the coastal belt such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife.

South Africa

South Africa first started as an agricultural country but later there was the discovery of gold and diamonds that promoted the industrialisation of the country.

The industries which developed in South Africa, included textile industries, iron and steel industries, chemical industries, cement industries and locomotive industries among others.

The factors which contributed to the industrialisation of South Africa:

  1. Availability of minerals such as coal, gold, diamonds, silver and iron ore some of which provided raw materials for the industries.

  1. Availability of capital from the sale of some minerals such as gold and diamonds.

  1. Availability of power for industries in form of coal and hydro-electric power.

  1. Availability of network of transport and communication in form of railways, roads, air transport and telephones.

  1. Encouragement of foreign investors who invested in the mining industry.

  1. Availability of skilled labour and unskilled labour obtained from the neighbouring states such as Malawi and Mozambique.

  1. Existence of local and international market especially after South African majority attained independence in 1994.

  1. There has been a considerable period of political stability after the majority Africans took over the government after independence was granted to them in 1994.

  1. The manufactured goods from South Africa are of high quality. These enable them to compete favourably with imported ones.

  1. The government of South Africa supported industrialisation by imposing tariffs on imported goods.

Factors that hindered industrialisation in South Africa

  1. Majority of Africans were impoverished by the colonial regime and for this reason their purchasing power is low.

  1. The international community banned South Africa from trading with countries that were United Nations (UN) members. Therefore, there was no external market for South African manufactured goods.

  1. There was no political stability during colonial rule because Africans were always fighting against apartheid. This affected industrial growth and also discouraged investment.

  1. South African goods have faced stiff competition from those from the developed nations like Japan and China.

  1. The high crime rate in the South African cities discouraged those who wanted to invest in industry.


India was colonised by Britain and it supplied the colonial master with cotton. It attained independence in 1947 and since then it engaged itself in industrial development.

A number of factors enabled India to industrialise. These are:

  1. India had raw materials such as cotton and iron ore for use in industries.

  1. India established a well developed infrastructure for instance its transport and communication facilities.

  1. The cottage industries existed in India. These industries formed a basis for industrial growth.

  1. There was adequate power from coal, natural gas and oil. Currently hydroelectricity and uranium are in use.

  1. India’s high population provided skilled and unskilled labours. The government of India trained people to acquire technical skills and industrial technology.

  1. The high population provided internal and external market for the manufactured goods.

  1. India embarked on a series of five-year economic plans aimed at developing industry. The first of these plans was the 1950 – 1955 development plan.

  1. India established state enterprises and assisted the private sector through loans. This boosted industrialisation.

  1. The Indian government encouraged foreign investment in the industrial sector.

  1. The political stability in India after the attainment of independence encouraged industrialisation.

  1. Protective tariffs were imposed to enable local industries to grow.

The main industrial cities in India

Impact of Industrialisation of India

  1. India’s foreign exchange earnings have been increased due to sale of cheap manufactured goods.

  1. There is a lot of improvement in the living standards of some sections of the Indian community. Even the purchasing power of the people has risen.

  1. India has boosted the agricultural sector through manufacturing of farm tools and machinery.

  1. India’s industrial development has created employment opportunities for the citizens.

  1. Local and international trade has been encouraged through sale of the manufactured goods.

  1. It has encouraged new urbanisation and expansion of the existing urban centres such as Bombay, Karachi and New Delhi.

  1. India’s revenue has been increased and its economy diversified as a result of establishment of light and heavy industries as well as development of agriculture.

  1. India has become technologically advanced and a nuclear power.

  1. India is now one of the most industrialised third world nations.

  1. India has used the income from industry to develop transport and communication network.

  1. Today India is able to provide public services such as education and health care to its citizens.

  1. Modern industrialisation in India has also boosted the cottage industries that include making of garments, plastics, shoes, hosiery and some household items.

Plastic buckets and shoes

Scientific Revolution

Scientific revolution refers to the period when man made many inventions and discoveries as a result of his improvement in knowledge and the interest to find out new thing about the universe. The scientific inventions began before the birth of Christ. A number of scientific discoveries and inventions were made in agriculture, industry and medicine. These discoveries and inventions improved man’s conditions of living after he indetified various ways of solving his problems.

The early civilizations for example in Greece, India, Iraq, Egypt and China influenced the development of early science. The Greeks and the Egyptians were great mathematicians. The Greek mathematician called Pythagoras came up with the right-angled triangle. The Egyptians used mathematical skills to construct pyramids. They also came up with Geometry and used it in farms.

The Chinese also contributed to scientific knowledge in that they discovered the way of making silk cloth, gunpowder and paper.

The Indians introduced ‘Zero’ in mathematics and also use of the decimal points.

The Iraq people were in ancient times called the Sumerians or the Mesopotamians. Their scientific inventions were mainly in the fields of medicine, architecture, mathematics and astronomy. During ‘Renaissance’, scientific knowledge spread to many countries especially in Europe. This was followed by Agrarian Revolution and Industrial Revolution.

Individual scientists contributed a lot to the scientific inventions as from the 15th century. Some of these notable scientists were:

  1. Nicolas Copernicus

He learnt that the earth went round the sun within a period of one year. He also discovered that the earth rotated on its own axis.

  1. Galileo Galilei

He agreed with the theory of Copernicus that the earth and the remaining planets moved round the sun in one year after using a telescope to observe the universe.

  1. Sir Isaac Newton

He discovered the force of gravity and the spectrum.

  1. Antoine Lavoisier

He found that air is composed of hydrogen and oxygen elements.

  1. John Dalton

He came up with the ‘Atomic Theory’ and also discovered colour blindness.

  1. Michael Faraday

He discovered electricity. This enabled him to make a dynamo which gave out electricity.

  1. Thomas Edison

He came up with electric lamp.

  1. Charles Darwin

He formulated the evolution theory which stated that all living things developed from simple life forms to complex ones over millions of years.

  1. Edward Jenner

He came up with the vaccine for small pox

  1. Louis Pastour

He found that diseases and decay were caused by microbes. He introduced pasteurisation as a method of conserving liquid foods.

  1. Alexander Graham Bell

He invented the telephone.

  1. George Stephenson

He invented the steam locomotive.

  1. The Wright Brothers (Wilber and Oville Wright)

They invented the first aeroplane.

Important scientific inventions on agriculture

  1. Jethro Tull

He invented seed drill which was used to plant seeds in rows and a horse drawn hoe.

  1. Robert Bakewell

He found out that the quality of animals could be improved through cross breeding. Using the method, he came up with quality sheep.

  1. Andrew Meikle

He came up with a mechanical thresher.

  1. Justus Von Liebig

He came up with the modern fertiliser industry. In his experiments, he found that plants obtain nitrogen phosphorus and salt from the soil.

  1. Cyrus Mc Comic

He invented the reaper which could be used for harvesting.

  1. Sir John Bennet Lawes

He began a super phosphate factory for making fertiliser.

Impact of scientific inventions on agriculture

  1. Scientific invention promoted agriculture leading to rapid increase in food production. Fertilisers added nutrients to the soils while farm machinery helped in ploughing, planting, harvesting and threshing.

  1. Scientific inventions improved farming techniques and livestock rearing. For instance cross-breeding brought about quality livestock breeds, while the invention of the seed drill encouraged farmers to plant in rows.

  1. Before the invention of agricultural machines such as tractors, combined harvesters and seed drills, human labour was very popular in farms. After the machines were introduced, manual labour was reduced. This resulted to unemployment of many people in the agricultural sector.

  1. It became easy to preserve foods and even transport them over long distances and over a long period of time because of the invention of refrigerators and the canning process. This led to increase in cultivation.

  1. The introduction of pesticides reduced crop destruction by pests while the development of fungicides reduced crop diseases. Food production therefore increased as a result of the reduction of crop diseases and pests.

  1. The invention of farm machinery led to increase in cultivated land. This was followed by the establishment of large estates leading to plantation farming.

  1. The desire to make more inventions and to improve what had already been established for instance the need to come up with better breeds of livestock and to come up with more efficient farm tools and machinery led to establishment of scientific research centres and schools which emphasised on science.

  1. There was diversification of agriculture as well as diversification of economy. This was important because people stopped depending on a single source of livelihood.

  1. Increase in food production led to increase in population growth. This is because the fertility rate rose as people obtained sufficient and nutritious food which also reduced the death rate.

  1. The invention of farm machinery which replaced manual labour resulted to rural urban migration of the unemployed. There were therefore large populations in towns which required food. For this more land had to be cultivated to feed the town folk. This therefore indirectly promoted the development of agriculture.

  1. Continuous application of fertilisers in farms have affected soils therefore leading to reduction in yields.

  1. Indigenous crops and livestock have been replaced by exotic breeds which are mainly hybrids.

  1. Inhaling of various chemicals and pesticides cause respiratory diseases e.g whooping cough and other diseases like tuberculosis and cancer.

Important discoveries in industry

  1. a) The textile industry had so many discoveries. These were:

  1. i) James Hargreaves

He invented the spinning jenny which prepared large amount of cotton threads.

  1. ii) Edmund Cartright

He invented the power loom which facilitated weaving.

iii) Samuel Crompton

He invented the spinning mule. This machine produced high quality threads.

  1. iv) John Key

He invented the flying shuttle.

  1. v) Thomas Bell

He made a cylindrical calico printing machine.

  1. vi) Eli Whitney

He invented the cotton gin which removed seeds from cotton fibre.

  1. b) Others who made inventions on industry were:
  2. i) Michael Faraday

He discovered electricity and he made a dynamo for generating electricity.

  1. ii) Benjamin Franklin

He proved that lightning was a form of electricity.

iii) Otto Hahn and Stressman

They discovered nuclear energy.

  1. iv) George Stephenson

He made the locomotive which was called ‘The Rocket’.

  1. v) James Watt

He invented the steam engine

Impact of scientific inventions on industry

  1. As a result of people getting exposed to the industrial goods, their living standards have improved.

  1. Jobs have been created in industries. The textile industries for example employ a large number of people.

  1. There is diversification of economy as a result of introduction of industries. This has stopped man from depending on agriculture only.

  1. New sources of energy were introduced as a result of scientific research. These were like solar energy, atomic and nuclear energy, and electric power.

  1. Space exploration has been carried out due to invention of rockets, satellites, and digital cameras.

  1. Dangerous weapons such as atomic and nuclear weapons have been invented. This has increased wars in the world.

  1. Inventions of engines, motorcars, supersonic planes and locomotives encouraged manufacture of spare parts and vehicles and also refining of oil to get fuel for vehicles. Transport has therefore been revolutionised through scientific inventions.

  1. Scientific inventions had reduced the labour burden. Machines do most of the work especially in developed countries.

  1. The invention of computers has helped workers to perform their duties efficiently and accurately for example in the banking sector where computers are used to process information and many other types of data.

  1. Trade has been encouraged due to the growing demand of the manufactured goods.

  1. The industries cause pollution in cities. Industrial fumes, noise and smell affect people. Some are affected by diseases like tuberculosis.

  1. Communication network has been improved through the use of Email and Internet.

  1. Some countries of the world have become highly industrialized. This has given them the opportunity of becoming world powers. They use the products of their industries to overpower others.

Important scientific inventions and discoveries in medicine

  1. Joseph Lister

He discovered he use of carbonic acid as an antiseptic to sterilise surgical apparatus. Then he developed an antiseptic spray for making the air clean during operations. He also discovered the use of carbonic acid for destroying microbes around the wound after an operation.

  1. William Marton

He discovered the use of chloroform sometimes refered to as carbonic acid during surgery.

  1. Edward Jenner

He invented the first vaccine for controlling smallpox.

  1. Lous Pasteur

He discovered that certain bacteria caused certain disease. He discovered that heat could kill bacteria. He therefore discovered that food could be preserved through the method he called pasteurisation. This is heating food to a certain temperature and then making it maintain the same temperature for a specific period of time before it is cooled quickly. He also came up with cures for anthrax and rabies.

  1. Sir Ronald Ross

He found out that the anopheles mosquitoes carried parasites that caused malaria. He also discovered that proper drainage systems could prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and therefore reduce malaria infections.

  1. Rontgen

He discovered the x-ray radiation which later enabled doctors to observe the internal organs of man and his bony framework..

  1. Alexander Flemming

He discovered penicillin, which was an antibiotic capable for curing coughs, pneumonia, sore throat and wounds.

  1. Dr Christian Bernard

He introduced the method of transplanting the heart of a death person to a body of a living patient with heart problem.

Impact of scientific inventions on medicine

  1. There has been rapid increase in life expectancy of human beings. This has resulted to rapid increase in human population.

  1. Drugs have been discovered which reduce pains therefore reducing human suffering. Others cure diseases completely.

  1. Machinery for use in hospitals have been invented. These are used by doctors for locating and treating diseases.

  1. Industries for manufacturing drugs (curatives) have been established. This has created employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industries.

  1. Preventive measures have been applied such as vaccination which has led to eradication of many diseases.

  1. Excess use of drugs may affect the health of many people. This is because certain diseases become resistant to certain drugs.

Factors influencing scientific inventions in Africa and other developing nations

  1. Inadequate capital for the use in scientific research.

  1. Illiteracy of the people. Many people who are not educated cannot be able to apply scientific principles to come up with new findings.

  • Over-depending on donor countries. This occurs because African countries are poor.

  1. Little emphasis in the teaching of science in school. This occurs because of shortages of science equipment for experimental work.

  1. Failure for the governments to assist researchers. Many African countries cannot afford to fund researchers. Even those countries which may afford do not take research work as their first priority.

  1. Excessive dependence on items for instance engines, pharmaceuticals and other machinery reduce the importance of engaging on scientific research.

  • Lack of initiative on the side of researchers. Therefore others are not encouraged to carry out research.

Review Questions

1 a) Identify the early sources of energy.

  1. How was energy from wind used?

  1. a) Give the uses of the following metals:
  2. i) Copper
  3. Iron
  4. Explain the effects of the spread of iron smelting in Africa?

  • What factors contributed to the industrialisation in Britain?

  1. What were the social and economic effects of industrialisation in continental Europe?

  1. a) What is scientific revolution?
  2. b) Discuss the impact of scientific inventions on:
  3. i) Agriculture
  4. Medicine

  1. a) What are the main factors which contributed to the industrialisation

of the developed countries?

  1. b) What are the major obstacles to the industrialisation of the developing nations?

Students’ Activities

  • Compare the type of industries found in the developed countries and those found in the third world (developing) countries.

  • In groups discuss various discoveries and inventions which have promoted Industry, Medicine and agriculture.



Urbanisation is the process of people’s migration from rural areas to live in towns or cities. It can also imply the establishment of towns or cities. It can also be defined as the concentration of people in settlements usually referred to as urban centres. An urban centre according to the United Nations is a settlement with a population of 20,000 people and above.

A modern town

Early urbanisation in Africa

Early urbanisation began in Africa before the birth of Christ. Early urban centres which declined such as Meroe and Aksum are suitable example of such towns.

Several factors led to the establishment of the early urban centres before the establishment of the colonial rule. These are:

  1. Due to development of trade, convergent centres emerged which became the meeting places for many people from different places. They later development into towns. Examples are Mombasa and Kilwa.

  1. There was development of ports and harbours where ships anchored such as Cape Town and Malindi.

  1. Some areas like Meroe where local industries were established attracted many people who settled there. These settlements later developed into towns.

  1. Areas which had reliable water for irrigation, industrial use and domestic use attracted people who established settlements which later developed into towns.

  1. Some administrative centres and palaces of rulers expanded to become towns after the subjects came to settle close to rulers for security reasons.

  1. Urban centres developed at major cross-roads and where several trade routes met. Examples are Tuat, Timbuktu and Sijilmasa.

  1. Notable religious centres became the meeting places for many people. They attracted people who settled nearby and thereafter towns developed.

  1. Development of early education centres such as Timbuktu, Gao and Cairo contributed to development of urbanisation in those centres.

  1. The development of Agriculture made people to settle permanently together because food was available.

  1. Areas that were secure and were sheltered from possible attacks attracted people who concentrated there. These settlements later developed into towns.


Modern Cairo is situated at the delta of River Nile where some earlier settlements had been established about 2000 years ago. Egypt was invaded by the Fatimids who established a walled town. By mid 14th century Egypt had grown into a big city with many mosques and palaces. It served as an early religious centre.

The town had narrow streets, bazaars, shops and crowded living quarters. There was a market where people sold their produce.

The Ottoman Turks took control of Egypt in 1517 and remained under their control until 1798 when Napoleon Bonaparte of France captured it from the Turks. Three years later in 1801 the French were driven out of Cairo and it was thereafter made the capital of Egypt by the then ruler, Mohammed Ali.

During the reign of Ismaili, Egypt was first modernised. Later it expanded as more buildings reflecting the European style were constructed. Today it is the largest town in Egypt. It has a modern international airport and a railway network which links Cairo with the other towns. Cairo has many entertainment facilities and museums. It is an important religious centre.


Meroe is an ancient city in Africa that emerged in an iron working site North of modern Khartoum. The inhabitants of Meroe developed the style of building in brick and plaster during the first century BC. They white-washed the outer walls of palaces and also decorated them with glowing mural-paintings. The inner walls were also painted and decorated with ornaments.

Meroe started expanding when it was made the capital of Kush instead of the former capital, Napata because the people of Kush had learnt the knowledge of iron working from the Assyrians and they also traded with the Greeks by exporting ivory, slaves, animal skins, ostrich feathers, timber and gold which provided them with income to expand the town.

The city of Meroe declined during the first century AD mainly due to trade rivalry from the growing kingdom of Axum in Ethiopia. When Meroe began becoming weak, the King of Axum known as Ezana attacked Meroe, burnt it and took everything of value. Ezana destroyed their stores of corn and cotton and the statues in their temples. This marked the decline of the great city of Meroe.


The origin of Kilwa is associated with the Persian immigrants who established settlements on the Indian Ocean coast. At the beginning of the 13th century Kilwa began expanding due to wealth obtained from the gold trade. From the end of the 13th century, it was the most important trading town on the East Coast of Africa.

It controlled the coastal settlement in the North as far as Pemba Island. Kilwa was a walled town which minted its own coins. It controlled the gold trade with Sofala and Zimbabwe. The inhabitants were mainly Muslims.

The town of Kilwa had beautiful buildings such as the Great Mosque and the large palace known as Husuni Kubwa. The town began declining first in the second hand of the 14th century. The fine buildings were ruined. Between 1420 and 1440 the mosque was renovated. The town of Kilwa lost its glory and prosperity and declined completely almost at the close of the 15th century because of the following reasons:

  1. There were dynastic quarrels in Kilwa.

  1. The Sofala gold trade was interrupted by wars in the interior.

  • Mombasa became a strong rival of Kilwa.

  1. The arrival of the Portuguese interfered with the gold trade because the Portuguese soldiers attacked and conquered all the coastal city states.

  1. There were constant rivalries between Kilwa and other coastal city states.

Early urbanisation in Europe


London is the capital city of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is in the continent of Europe. The city is situated in South East England.

The town of London originated before the first century AD. When the Romans occupied Britain in the 1st century AD, London was already a town of considerable importance.

The Romans expanded the town and made it an important religious centre. They also established Christianity which became the dominant religion in England.

London continued to expand even after it was burnt in the first century AD. When the Romans left England, London had already been established with a large population.

The withdrawal of the Romans did not affect the growth of London because what they did in Britain perished after they left.

In the 9th century, King Alfred made London the capital of his kingdom. Later King William I established himself in England and developed the town of London. He built the Tower of London and also rebuilt the London bridge. Initially it was built of wood but he rebuilt it using stone.

Throughout the Middle Ages the growth of London was slow as a result of wars, epidemics and commercial crisis.

When Queen Elizabeth I opened the Royal exchange in 1566 AD, the city of London grew into an important city of the world. By 1580 AD Queen Elizabeth I issued a proclamation which prohibited construction of any new buildings within a radius of about 4 kilometres outside the city gates.

In 1665 AD London was affected by plague. The following year a great fire burnt the city.

In 1667 the rebuilding act was enacted. It stipulated that all buildings be of stone and brick. In the 1760s the walls and gates of old medieval city of London were demolished. During the 19th century, London was modernised through the construction of many suburbs, rebuilding of bridges and through lighting of city streets. By the close of the century, London had grown into a beautiful city served by a well developed networked of transport and communication.

During the First World War, London became the German target. London was heavily bombed. The Tower of London and the British Museum were destroyed. Many other buildings were also damaged.

After the war, the British government reconstructed the war damage. Many tall storey buildings were constructed such as the Museum Radio Tower of the General Post Office building. This was followed by construction of shops, residential houses, school, hotels and cultural centres.

The city of London got most of its water from river Thames. There were several city markets which provided people with food, meat, fruits and flowers. Today the city of London is under the control of the local government headed by mayors.

Several factors contributed to the growth of the city of London. These were:

  1. Development of transport and communication. London had a network of roads and railways. Underground roads and railways were established in underground tunnels to reduce traffic congestion.

Modern international airports such as Heathrow airport were also established. London was connected to the rest of the world with telegraphs, telephones and radio transmissions.

  1. Trade enabled the town of London to grow into city status. Many people migrated to London to conduct business as a way of earning a living.

The success of their businesses made them wealthy and they settled permanently. As this process continued, the town also continued to expand.

  1. The establishment of industries attracted the people who came to seek for employment and those who came to survive on cheap manufactured goods.

  1. The development of port facilities in London encouraged many people to go and do the jobs of loading and unloading cargo. The sailors from England also started their journeys from the seaports like London. Those who came from abroad on their way to England regarded London as their port of call. This contributed to the growth of London.

  1. London served as a political and an administrative centre for a long time. The Romans constructed a fort and surrounded it with a wall for security reasons. The colonies Britain acquired were under the colonial secretary who was based in London.

  1. The city of London had several museums and theatres that made it an important cultural centre. Many people were attracted by the activities in the city making them to settle there in great numbers.

Functions of London

  1. London is the capital of the United Kingdom. It acts as an administrative headquarters.

  1. It is an industrial centre that has both heavy and light industries.

  1. It is a cultural and recreational centre. London has many theatres and museums.

  1. London is a centre of international transport and communication. This is because there are international airports in London and there is the harbour where ships from all over the world anchor.

  1. London is a centre of learning. It has international Universities and colleges.

  1. It is also a commercial centre that has many banks and insurance. It has many shopping centres.

  1. London is a religious centre. It has many churches and cathedrals.

  1. London is also the common wealth headquarter.

The problems London has encountered since it was founded

  1. Problem of overcrowding of houses, vehicles and people.

  1. Epidemics such as plague affected London during the Romans era and in 1665 AD.

  • London was burnt down in 1666 AD.

  1. There was the problem of unemployment.

  1. There was the problem of rural – urban migration of the jobless.

  1. There was inadequate housing facilities and poor sanitation.

  • There was high crime rate.

  • There was pollution of the environment due to fumes from industries and vehicles.

  1. London was bombed by the Germans during the First World War. This resulted to deaths of people and destruction of property.

  1. There was the demolition of the old city of London in the 1760’s.


The growth and prosperity of Athens is based on trade and commerce. The land surrounding Athens was rocky. It could not support a large population. The people of Athens depended mainly on imported food that they exchanged with olive oil, wine and wool.

Athens was a famous centre of learning. The city state provided education in such fields as philosophy, architecture, drama, science and medicine. The democracy that is enjoyed in the world today originated in Athens where it was actually practised.

Athens was surrounded by a protective wall for security purposes because of constant wars with the other city states. The town itself looked clumsy. The streets were merely narrow earth roads that became dusty during the dry spell and muddy during the rainy season.

Some houses were made of unbaked brick while others were made of mud. A few beautiful and well-built buildings such as Parthenon temple and the temple of Athena Nike existed.

There was a market place in the centre of the town which also acted as a meeting place for people and also the place where people assembled for debates. On top of the high cliff was the Acropolis (Fortress) which provided protection for the village below.

The biggest problem of Athens was that it had inadequate sanitary facilities for disposing human waste and refuse. Due to this the town was exposed to very bad smell from rotting garbage.

Athens weakened and lost its glory between 430 BC and 335 BC due to the following reasons:

  1. i) Athens was affected by constant rivalries and wars with other city states.

  1. Athens was conquered by King Philip of Macedonia and put under the Macedonian domination.

  • Constant epidemics like plague led to death of many Athenian citizens therefore weakening the military might of Athens.

  1. The final blow, which made the town to disintegrate, was the death of Alexander the Great whose empire controlled Athens. Other towns such as Rome and Cathage rose to power to fill the political vacuum left by Macedonia.

Emergence of modern urban centres in Africa

There are many urban centres in Africa that began when the Europeans acquired colonies and settled there. Such towns never existed in Africa before the coming of the Europeans.

Some of them began as administrative centres for the colonial authority. Some emerged as mining towns, others as commercial centres some as agricultural centres or farming centres while others began as industrial centres.

The Europeans at first settled in those places and established administrative and commercial buildings. The emerging settlements attracted rural people who also migrated there to look for employment, start business and seek for other fortunes. Examples of the modern urban centres in Africa are Nairobi and Johannesburg.


Nairobi began in 1899 during the construction of the Uganda railway. It first started as a depot for storing the railway equipment before approaching the steep rift valley escarpment.

The place looked suitable for a depot and for resting because of its mild climate that was preferable by Europeans. There was also the Nairobi River which provided water to the railway builders. The site was somehow flat for construction compared to the land ahead of them before they reached the Rift Valley. At the same time Nairobi was the midpoint between Mombasa and Lake Victoria.

In 1907 the Imperial British East Africa (IBEA) company transferred its capital from Mombasa to Nairobi. During the colonial period the Europeans and Asians dominated the town.

Migration of Africans to Nairobi was restricted but quite a number went there to work as labourers.

The town was associated with racial discrimination in employment, commerce and housing.

Today Nairobi lies at the heart of Kenya’s rail and road network. It has a modern international airport known as Kenyatta International Airport. It has several other small airports such as Eastleigh, Embakasi and Wilson airports.

Nairobi is the seat of the government and the commercial centre of Kenya. Nairobi is also industrial, cultural, educational, communication and transport centre.

It has modern buildings that are used as offices, hotels and shopping centres. The city attracts Kenyan citizens from all parts of the country and also foreigners who include tourists from many countries of the world. However, Nairobi City is facing a number of problems as below:

  1. The city has inadequate drainage and sanitary facilities.

  1. There is the problem of pollution as a result of many industries producing fumes and noise.
  2. There is acute problem of water.

  1. There are inadequate educational facilities such as schools for the rapid growing urban population.

  1. There is congestion of traffic leading to traffic jams.

  1. There is a high rate of crime such as robbery and prostitution.

  1. There is inadequate housing facilities leading to development of slums and overcrowding in residential areas.

  1. There is high rate of unemployment. School leavers flock in Nairobi to look for jobs.


Johannesburg is a city of the Republic of South Africa, in Transvaal province.

The discovery of minerals during the second half of the 19th century was largely responsible for the emergence of a number of towns in South Africa.

Location of the city of Johannesburg

Johannesburg mushroomed after large gold deposits were discovered in Witwatersrand in September 1886. This was followed by a gold rush. At first Johannesburg began with a very small population. Within a very short time people flocked to Johannesburg on the Witwatersrand in great numbers from Britain, America, Australia and other countries of Europe.

At first the early settlements were mere shanties made of galvanised iron. These shanties were the basis of a miraculous growth of the city of Johannesburg. Within a decade, the town had a population of about 100,000 people.

Other factors that contributed to the growth of Johannesburg are:

  1. There was cheap labour from the Africans. Labour was also obtained from the neighbouring countries like Malawi, Namibia and Botswana. These labourers increased the population of the city.

  1. River Vaal provided enough water for mining, industry and domestic use.

  1. There was development of transport and communication in form of road and railway.

  1. The land surrounding Johannesburg was suitable for farming. This provided enough food for the people in the mining centre and industries.

  1. The availability of other minerals such as iron ore and flourspar in the outskirts of the city contributed in the industrial growth.

  1. The availability of coal, which provided energy also, promoted industrial development.

Today, Johannesburg is the largest city of the Republic of South Africa and the industrial and commercial centre. It is the centre of the country’s gold mining industries and the site of the Johannesburg stock exchange.

It is a strategic rail, road and air hub with an international airport. It is a mining as well as an industrial centre whose industries include manufacture of mining and railway equipment, automobile parts, chemicals, textiles, electrical and communication equipment.

Johannesburg is a cultural and educational centre of South Africa. It has a number of museums, theatres, a symphony, orchestra and an opera company. It has schools and universities.

Review Questions

1 a) What is urbanisation?

  1. What favoured development of early urbanisation in Africa?

  1. a) Describe the factors which contributed to the growth of:
  2. i) London
  3. ii) Kilwa
  4. What problems did each of the two towns above encounter that affected its growth.

  1. Explain the factors which led to the decline of the city of Athens in the first millennium AD?

  1. Describe the major problems of the modern urban centres.

  1. Explain the growth of Johannesburg as an important urban centre.

  1. Describe the functions of Nairobi City.

Students’ Activities

  1. Compare the factors that led to the growth of the early urban centres with those which led to the growth of modern urban centres.

  1. Draw a map of Africa and indicate the locations of Nairobi, Cairo, Meroe, Johannesburg and Kilwa.




The Buganda Kingdom was one of the Kingdoms in Uganda. During the 19th century Buganda expanded to become the largest and most powerful kingdoms in Uganda. Several factors brought about the rise of Buganda. These were:

  1. The Baganda were agriculturists. They grew bananas which was their staple food. This enabled them to feed the army. The fertile soils and suitable climate enabled them to grow crops.

  1. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Buganda was under very strong and competent rulers entitled Kabaka. One such ruler was Kabaka Mtesa I.

  1. Buganda kingdom was centralised and it had a well-organised political system. The centralisation of Buganda enhanced effective control of the kingdom, enhanced loyalty to one single ruler, promoted control and unity of other traditional leaders and also led to emergence of able rulers who strengthened the Kingdom.

  1. Buganda had a strong army, which defended the kingdom, and a navy that conquered people living in the islands of Lake Victoria such as the people of Sese Island.

  1. The decline of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom enabled Buganda to expand to fill the power vacuum left by Bunyoro.

  1. Participation in the long distance trade by the Baganda people enabled the kingdom to attain wealth that was used to maintain the kingdom. The rulers also taxed the Arab and Swahili traders who ventured into the kingdom to trade.

  1. The annexation of Buddu iron fields enabled Buganda to manufacture superior iron weapons.
  2. When the British occupied Uganda, she handed over the ‘lost counties’ of Bunyoro to Buganda. These counties included Bungaizi and Buyoga. This action of the British contributed to more expansion of Buganda.

Buganda at its peak in the 19th Century

Social organisation of Buganda

The social organisation of the Baganda was based on clans made up of members of several related families.

There were also social classes with members of the loyal family on top followed by local chief and then below were the commoners followed by slaves.

The Kabaka existed who played social roles such as presiding on various ceremonies and rituals, being the chief priest and therefore being in charge of all religious activities.

The Kabaka’s power was symbolised by his loyal regalia that included the royal drums, the stools and the spears.

The Baganda worshipped a god entitled Katonda. They believed in the spirits of the dead ancestors. They thought that the death affected the affairs of the living people.

They had a traditional religion they called Lubaale. They consulted the spirits of the dead through prophets. The mediums who consulted the spirits were usually given gifts. The Baganda had medicinemen and sorcerers.

They conducted marriage and initiation ceremonies. During the reign of Kabaka Mwanga, same people of Buganda were converted to Christianity while others were converted to Islam. After the arrival of many Christian Missionaries, Christianity took the dominance that was followed by rivalry between various religious groups.

Economic organisation of Buganda

Buganda Kingdom was located on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The Kingdom’s geographical location, the nature of its environment and climate influenced the economic activities of the Baganda.

The Baganda were mainly cultivators. They grew bananas, millet and sorghum. Bananas (matoke) were the staple food of the Baganda. The high rainfall and fertile soils enabled them to cultivate. The Baganda kept livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and chickens. They also conducted raids and captured slaves and cattle from the neighbouring weaker communities such as Bunyoro and Busoga.

The Baganda benefited by fishing due to their proximity to Lake Victoria that had a lot of fish. This supplemented their diet. The Baganda like many other Bantu communities in Uganda had acquired the skills of iron working from the Abachwezi. They conducted raids that exposed them to the iron-bearing field in the neighbouring lands. The iron obtained was used for making iron hoes, spear heads, arrowheads and a variety of other tools.

The Baganda also manufactured bark-cloth, weaved and built canoes for use in Lake Victoria for fishing and for the navy that was used to conquer people living in the islands of Lake Victoria such as the people of Sese Island.

Some of the Baganda hunted animals such as buffaloes and antelopes for meat. They also gathered fruits and roots that they used as food. The Baganda conducted local trade which involved exchange of goods within themselves or with their immediate neighbours. For example trade in salt existed with people around Lake Victoria.

The Baganda engaged themselves in the long distance trade mainly in the 19th century after the Arab and Swahili merchants from the coast penetrated into kingdom. This trade expanded rapidly during the era of Kabaka Mtesa I. Slaves and ivory were the main commodities the Arab and Swahili traders demanded. They in turn brought ammunitions, cloth, beads and swords that were demanded by the Baganda.

Political organisation of Buganda

Baganda is believed to have originally been a section of the Chwezi State. It is not known clearly whether it is Kintu or Kimera who established the early kingdom of Buganda.

What is clear is that Buganda was a centralised kingdom controlled by a ruler entitled Kabaka whose authority in those early days was limited by the power of the clan heads each entitled Bataka.

In the later years, the Kabakas assumed a lot of power because they played the following roles:

  1. They acted as the chief political and religious leaders and heads of government.

  1. They were considered as the supreme judges in the kingdom and also as the final court of appeal.

  1. They were regarded as the sole defenders of Buganda and protectors of their subjects.
  2. They commanded the army as well as all other juniors for instance, the Katikiros, the Saza chiefs and the Gombolora chiefs.

  1. It was their responsibility to appoint or fire senior officials like the Katikiro and the Chief Justice.

  1. They controlled trade to such an extent that they even taxed foreign traders.

The Kabaka was assisted to administer the kingdom by a Prime Minister entitled Katikiro.

In the Kabakas court, their existed the Chief Justice entitled Omulamuzi and the treasurer entitled Omuwanika, all appointed by the Kabaka. Together with the Katikiro, they formed the Kabakas advisory body.

There existed a legislature assembly called Lukiko, which acted like the modern day parliament. It discussed important issues affecting Buganda kingdom such as issues pertaining to external attacks, relations with foreigners, trade regulations and the ways to deal with the citizens.

The kingdom was split into counties each called Saza. Each county was headed by a Saza chief.

Counties were further split into sub-counties each entitled Gombolola. Each Gombolola was under the leadership of a Gombolola chief whose duty was to collect the taxes and remit to Kabaka as well to maintain law and order in his area of Jurisdiction.

Each Gombolola was further split into a small division called Miluka headed by Miluka chief.

Buganda had a strong standing army and navy. The army defended the kingdom while the navy controlled Buganda’s possessions in Lake Victoria such as Sese Island.

Leadership among the Baganda was hereditary (passed from father to son) at first but later the Kabaka could appoint a minor chief from the citizens who was royal to him.

The Kabaka strengthened the loyalty bestowed on him by all the people in the kingdom by marrying from all popular clans and accepting sons of popular people from various families to come and work in his court.


The Shona settled in central Africa south of River Zambezi in the present day Zimbabwe. It is believed that they migrated to the region from the Congo basin and they are related to the Kalanga.

Social organisation of the Shona

The Shona worshipped a god who was believed to be all-powerful. They called their god Mwari. The Shona had priest who presided over religious functions for instance during the time of offering sacrifices to the supreme being.

The priests also conducted rituals to appease their gods. The Rozwi clan provided the shona community with priests. Worship was conducted in shrines.

The shona believed in the existence of the ancestral spirits they referred to as clan spirit, Mhondoro, and the family spirits, Vadzimu. The spirits communicated through intermediaries referred to as Svikiro. The Shona communicated with the spirits through mediums.

They conducted a number of ceremonies and festivals. The shona were socially organised into families, several of which made a clan. The clan elders were highly respected. Polygamy was a very common practice among the Shona. It was common to find men with very many wives. This was one way of ensuring that the community had enough warriors and was provided with sufficient labour force.

The Economic Organisation of the Shona

The Shona grew a variety of subsistence crops such as beans, millets and vegetables. They also kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats, which provided them with milk and meat.

The Shona made iron tools such as spears, hoes and knives. They also weaved and made back cloth.

The Shona supplied the people of Sofala with gold. In return the Shona obtained cloth, glassware, and firearms obtained from the Portuguese.

The political Organisation of the Shona

An emperor who was the head of state and government controlled the Shona kingdom. When the emperor died, his son took over leadership. This implies that leadership among the Shona was hereditary.

The emperor administered the empire with the assistance of his immediate relatives and leading officials. These were queen’s mother, his principal wives, his sister, the head drummer, the chancellor, the supreme cook, the chief door keeper and the commander of his army.

The emperor was the overall military leader and for this reason he acted as the commander in chief of the standing army which not only defended the kingdom but also tried to conquer other neighbouring communities in order to expand it.

The Shona kingdom was divided into smaller divisions that were under the control of lesser kings who were answerable to the emperor.

The lesser kings ensured that trade was promoted. The emperor was the sole controller of the entire trade. The profit from trade maintained the army and also sustained the kingdom. Vassal states were made to pay tribute to the emperor.

The Shona priest played political roles in that they acted as the emperor’s spies. The priests also linked the people with the emperor. In so doing religion was used to create political unity among the Shona.

Asante (Ashanti)

The Asante is one of the Akan or Twi speaking peoples of the present day Ghana. The Asante kingdom is believed to have been established as a result of a number of states which united together and settled at a place called Asantemanso.

From Asantemanso they dispersed in clans and family groups to new settlements such as Bekwai, Tafo, Nsuta, Mampong, Amakom and Kwaman. Later in the 17th century these settlements united under the leadership of the Oyoko clan.

All the Asante states were established surrounding modern Kumasi in an area referred to as Kwaman forest. By the middle of the 18th century, the Asante had become a very large empire as a result of the efforts of Osei Tutu who introduced the golden stool, which became the symbol of Asante union. The Asante rulers were entitled Asantehene.

Factors that led to the rise and expansion of the Asante kingdom

We have already seen that the Asante kingdom rose from a number of clans and families who migrated and then settled together at Asantemanso. Those settlements later united into states.

The rise of the kingdom was therefore as a result of the unity of those states. The Asante emerged and expanded into a mighty kingdom because of the following reasons:

  1. The area the Asante people settled had abundant rainfall which enabled them to grow crops and gather wild fruits to sustain the growing population.

  1. Asantehehe Osei Tutu with an Akwamu priest, Okomfo Anokye cemented the Asante union when they introduced the golden stool as the symbol of Asante union.

  1. The Asante obtained income for expanding the empire from the trade they conducted with the Europeans at the coast.

  1. The Odwira Festival was organised which enabled the state rulers to gather together to pay allegiance to the Asantehehe.

  1. The Asante kingdom was controlled by strong and able rulers like Osei Tutu, Opoku Ware and Osei Bonsu who engaged themselves on expansionist missions aimed at enlarging and strengthening the kingdom.

  1. The fact that Asante kingdom was highly centralised enabled people to join in order to fight against a common enemy.

  1. The neighbouring states such as Denkyira and Fante were weaker that the Asante kingdom. This gave the Asante the advantage of expanding its empire.

  1. The Asante army was very strong and well organised. It was made up of soldiers from all the Asante states.

  1. The Asante used modern weapons such as guns which they bought from the Europeans along the west African coast.

  1. The Asante rulers obtained revenue from the tribute paid by conquered states. This enabled the Asantehene to maintain his army and his kingdom.

Social organisation of Asante

In the early beginning the Asante lived in separate clans and family groups. When the family and groups migrated from Asantemanso, they went to places where they lived in settlements. At first the settlements were not united but later they joined together into states.

An Akwamu priest named Okomfo Anokye together with Osei Tutu introduced the golden stool as a symbol of unity, which had religious symbolism. It united all the states not only politically but also socially.

The Asante introduced the national festival called Odwira that united the whole of Asante by making state rulers to be royal to the Asantehene. The Asante were polytheistic. They worshipped gods and goddesses. The Asantehene played both political and religious roles. He acted like a religious leader and presided over religious ceremonies.

The Asante people worshipped their gods through their ancestors. The ancestors acted as intermediaries between gods and the people. The Asante people sacrificed to their gods. They believed in life after death and in punishment of wrong doers and reward for those who did well.

By the first half of the 19th century, the Asante had embraced Islam. The Asante Muslim converts therefore adopted Islamic culture and law (sharia). This became the beginning of the Islamic influence in Asante.

Economic organisation of Asante

The Asante lived in the forest region in the west of River Volta. The land they occupied received heavy rainfall which enabled them to grow crops such as vegetables, kolanuts and grains.

The Asante also kept few livestock. They hunted and gathered fruits and red kolanuts from Kwaman forest for sale. The Asante also participated in the local trade. They traded with the Ga and the people of Benin.

They exchanged commodities such as salt, cloth and fish. Later they traded with the Europeans who had settled along the West African coast in settlements such as Accra, Anomabo, Cape Coast, Winneba and Elmina. The Asante traders gave Europeans ivory, slaves, gold and colanuts in exchange for firearms, cloth and ironware.

The Asante mined gold in the Kwaman forest and practised iron working. They used iron to manufacture tools, bangles, hoes and arrowheads. They practised traditional crafts such as cloth making, basketry, pottery and sculpture making. The Asante hunted elephants to obtain ivory. They also gathered fruits and edible roots.

Political organisation of Asante

The Asante Empire was centralised and divided into three parts. The first part was the metropolitan or Nucleus State that consisted of the Kumasi State that was directly under the Asantehehe.

The second part was the Amatoo or the states within a radius of about 30 to 40 miles of modern Kumasi. These states were outside Kumasi and they recognised the Golden stool as the symbol of unity of the Asante. Some of them were Dwaben, Adansi, Bekwai, Nsuta, Mampon and Kokofu.

The third part was the conquered states or provincial Asante states that consisted of all the outer circle of states which had earlier been conquered and controlled by the Asante. Examples of them are Akwamu, Akyem, Twifu, Wassa, Denkyira, Sefwi, Akwapem, Assin, Gonja, Dagomba, Gyaman and Takyiman.

Gonja Dagomba



Sefwi Akwamu


Asante Kingdom in the 19th century

The Asante kingdom was ruled by kings entitled Asantehene. The Asantehene was the supreme ruler of the kingdom. He had direct control over Kumasi State. The Asantehene was the conmmander in – chief of the army. He presided over political and religious festivals and he acted as the final court of appeal because he was the supreme judge. Leadership among the Asante was hereditary.

The Asantehene ruled with the advice of the state rulers who formed the union of rulers. The conquered states were administered by their kings but they were regarded as the provinces of the Asante kingdom .A representative who was an appointee of the Asantehene was posted in each province where he acted as the eyes and ears of the Asantehene. He also levied taxes, supervised trade and mining of gold nuggets.

Each Asante State was under the rule of Omanhene who took the oath of allegiance to demonstrate loyalty to the Asantehene. The Omanhene represented the Asantehene in the provinces but they were required to pay tribute to the Asantehene and also to provide soldiers in times of conflicts.

The Asante states were all bound together by the golden stool which was the symbol of unity of the Asante. This stool was preserved in the capital, Kumasi. Every state ruler was presented with a symbolic black stool to signify unity of the provinces.

There was a national festival organised particularly for state rulers to pay allegiance to the Asantehene. This festival was known as Odwira festival.

The Asante had a strong standing army consisting of an infantry and a calvary wing. The Asante army was divided into four segments which included the left wing, the right wing the van and the rear. Every king of a state was given a position within the wings. This position was taken by the army he controlled in his state a thing which made him remain powerful.

At its peak, the Asante kingdom consisted of the area surrounding Kumasi which was directly under the Asantehene, the states outside Kumasi which were part of the original Asante union and lay about 90 kilometre radius of present day Kumasi and the vassal or conquered states.

The Asante government finally collapsed due to the following reasons:

  1. Constant rebellions by the vassal states who wanted to reassert their independence.

  1. The British supported the Fante to flight against the Asante.

  • The kingdom had grown too large for the rulers to control effectively.

  1. Asante strained relations with Fante and the British affected Asante trade and source of income.

  1. There was weakness in the system of provincial administration because vassal states were not fully incorporated to the kingdom.

  1. The Asante ruler, Osei Tutu was forced to grant independence to the southern states.

  • Asantehene Prempe I was exiled.

Review Questions

  1. Explain the roles of the following in the 19th century:
  2. i) Kabaka of Buganda
  3. ii) Asantehene of Asante

  1. Describe the political and social organisation of Buganda.

  1. a) Explain the factors that led to the rise and growth of Asante


  1. b) Describe the political organisation of the Asante Kingdom up to the 19th

  1. Describe the Shona kingdom under the following headings:
  2. Economic organisation
  3. Political organisation
  4. Social organisation

  1. What factors contributed to the decline of the Asante Kingdom.

  1. Identify the economic and social activities of the Asante in the 19th

Students’ Activities

  1. Draw maps to show the location of the Asante and Buganda kingdoms

  1. Discuss in groups the factors which contributed to the rise and decline of the Asante and Buganda Kingdoms.

  1. Compare the administration of Buganda kingdom with the administration of Asante Kingdom.


Constitutions and constitution making

A constitution is a set of fundamental principals and laws established to govern and regulate the behaviour of citizens of a particular state as they relate to each other in their daily activities as well as regulating the conduct of the people who are entrusted with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the state.

A constitution therefore clarifies the duties and rights of the citizens as well as the duties, rights and responsibilities of the rulers.

The constitution regulates the powers of government by controlling the way it behaves as it manages the country’s affairs. The constitution also regulates the relationship between the government and the citizens of the state.

A country’s constitution has the following functions:

  1. It clarifies the powers, duties and responsibilities of those in power (rulers) and their subjects.

  1. It protects the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

  1. It limits the powers of rulers who would attempt to oppress their subjects. It also limits the possibilities of the subjects to insurbodinate the rulers. This is done by limiting some of their rights and freedoms.

  1. A constitution enables a country to follow a well defined cause by spelling out the powers of the government. This helps to control national instability.

  1. A constitution defines and spells out the formal structure of government and the functions and powers of each state organ for example the powers of the regional government in relation to the central government and also the powers and duties of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

  1. A constitution offers the legal framework from which the country’s laws are made.

  1. A constitution also reflects the wishes of the people and their social, cultural, economic and political aspects.

Characteristics of a good constitution

  1. A good constitution must define and spell out clearly the structure of government and the functions and powers of each level and arm of government.

  1. The fundamental rights and duties of all citizens must be clearly spelt out and the way the rights will be guaranteed specified.

  1. Roles and powers of specific rulers such as Presidents and Prime Ministers must be stipulated.

  1. The separation of powers of the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive must be very clear to avoid conflicts of roles.

  1. The composition, functions and powers of all laws to be enacted by parliament must be made clear.

Types of constitution

There are various kinds of constitutions in the world. Some of them are democratic constitutions, others are undemocratic constitutions. There are also unitary or federal constitutions. We also have two other types of constitutions. These are written constitutions and unwritten constitutions.

Written constitutions

A written constitution is the one in which the basic principles and laws are written down and are therefore available in a formal document. Examples of the countries with written constitutions are Kenya, USA and France.

The following are the characteristics of a written constitution:

  1. It is written in an official volume that one can buy in order to study.

  1. It is rigid and not easy to alter. Any amendment is made using a procedure that is usually slow and cumbersome.

  1. A written constitution is usually simple, clear and consistent. A special body of experts is therefore given the responsibility of drafting it using a well formulated procedure.

  1. It sets clearly the powers of the judiciary, the executive and the legislature in a particular state.

  1. It spells out the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens. To ensure this is accomplished the draft constitution is taken to the legislature for approval.

  1. In some written constitutions, rules are found in traditions. Some of them are based on conventions and customs of the people.

  1. A written constitution is prepared in such a way that one can be able to compare the actions and day to day activities of the government with what is written and expected to be achieved and maintained.

Advantages of written constitution

The following are the advantages of a written constitution:

  1. Once prepared, it is not easy to change or amend it so as to favour particular personalities in power.

  1. It becomes easy for the literates to know the expectations of the government because they can buy the official copies and read themselves. This is because it is readily available for reference and use.

  1. No individual can alter or manipulate any part of the written constitution. The legislative body is the one which has a right of making even a minor amendment or alteration.

  1. The legislators and delegates are able to incorporate the traditions, conventions and customs of the citizens into a written constitution which is people driven and which recognises people’s ethnic groupings.

  1. A well written and acceptable constitution can play the role of uniting all the people in a nation.

  1. A written constitution provides a smooth procedure of handing over power after general elections, death of rulers or resignation. This is because it provides a clear guideline of what should be done if such a thing happens.

  1. A written constitution enables a country to operate in favourable and orderly manner.

  1. A written constitution spells out the fundamental rights of citizens very clearly therefore making them aware of their rights and also making them have a reference when their rights are infringed.

Disadvantages of written constitution

  1. It is too rigid to be easily altered without a lot of consultation.

  1. Amending a written constitution is slow and cumbersome.

  • The language used to write the constitution volumes is difficult for people who have not learnt disciplines such as law. Yet it becomes difficult to simplify without altering the meaning and the stress.

  1. If the constitution is not properly formulated, it can make various arms of the government to conflict.

  1. For a good lasting written constitution, very qualified experts are required. These may not be available in some countries.

  1. The constitution making process is costly and very involving if all the procedures are followed to the dot.

Unwritten constitution

An unwritten constitution is one which does not exist in a single formal official document. Britain is an example of a country with unwritten constitution. The sources of the British constitution are the Act of Parliament, British conventions, the Hansard, Legal publications by reputable authorities, decisions made by the British law courts from time to time and Royal prerogatives of the King or Queen to declare war or make treaties of peace.

Advantages of unwritten constitutions

  1. It is easy to make amendments in order to cope with the prevailing situations.

  1. It is not rigid. Therefore it can be altered without a lot of consultation.

  1. This constitution is long lasting because it is native and therefore acceptable by the majority.

Disadvantages of unwritten constitution

  1. Fundamental rights of citizens are not clearly spelt out in an unwritten constitution.

  1. Unwritten constitution requires very qualified judges and lawyers of the law courts who are able to cope with the tedious work of referring to many constitutional documents e.g. statutes, historical documents and customs in order to make any judgement.

  1. An unwritten constitution is not clearly expressed as compared to the written constitution.

The independence constitution

The first constitution in Kenya was established during the British colonial rule. This may be referred to as the colonial constitution. The colonial constitution discriminated against the Africans while it favoured the whites.

As the Africans continued to be aware of their rights they appealed to the colonial government to grant them their rights. Due to political pressure from the Africans, the colonial government unwillingly tried to change the constitution.

In 1960 and 1962, constitutional conferences were held in London. African representatives attended. The Lancaster House conference held in London in 1962 concluded the constitution for independent Kenya. The date for independence was also set. The constitution made is the one we are calling the independence constitution.

The conference was attended by representatives of the African political parties such as Kenya African National Union (KANU), Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) and African People’s Party (APP). KANU and KADU differed in the structure of government they wanted.

KANU preferred a strong unitary constitution while KADU wanted a majimbo or Federal constitution. KADU was in favour of majimbo constitution because it feared that smaller communities would be dominated by large ones such as the Luo and the Kikuyu. KANU believed that a unitary government would protect the interests of the smaller communities.

The outcome of the 1962 conference was a federal form of constitution. This was followed by the formation of a coalition government between KANU and KADU.

Provisions of the independence constitution

The independence constitution provided a regional (majimbo) government. The country (Kenya) was therefore split into six regions each with its own regional government and assembly with full legislative powers.

There was a central government consisting of two chamber national assembly namely the senate and the House of Representatives. The central government was headed by a Prime Minister from the party with majority seats. Nairobi was the headquarters of the central government.

The Queen remained as the head of state. She was represented by the Governor General whose duties were to approve legislation, to ensure there was internal security, to deal with all foreign affairs and to give assent to bills to become laws.

The independent constitution recommended a multi-party system of government. The party with the majority was to form the government. It recommended a Bill of Rights whose role was to protect the fundamental interests of the individuals.

It also recommended formation of a Central Land Board for dealing with all issues concerning land and an independent public Service Commission for appointing, disciplining and firing civil servants.

The independence constitution recommended the setting up of an independent electoral commission for setting constitutional boundaries and conducting elections.

An electoral commission was established. It was made up of the speakers of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, nominated representatives of each region and a nominated representative of the Prime Minister.

The independence constitution provided an independent judiciary that showed complete impartiality when judging cases. No one was allowed to influence the decisions of judges and they enjoyed security of tenure.

Lastly, the independence constitution organised for the protection of the minority rights. This was mainly to ensure that the European and Asian minorities were protected and their properties were safeguarded.

The Kenya Constitution

Kenya is governed by a democratic constitution. A democratic constitution recognises and protects human rights for instance the right to acquire and own property, right to life and the rights safeguarding the individual’s freedom of expression, association, conscience, movement and assembly. It also recognises the freedom of worship, belief and opinion.

The Kenya constitution ensures that people have full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms.

It also ensures that all people are equal before the law. An individual has right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law. He has the right to a fair trial. According to the Kenya constitution, no person may be required to perform forced labour or be held in slavery.

Constitutional making process

Constitution making can take place in a number of ways as follows:

  1. Having it done by Parliament whereby at least 65% of all parliamentary members must vote for a change to the Kenya constitution.

  1. Using a constitutional review commission. This commission may be set up by the President or by Parliament.

  1. Having a constitutional conference attended by selected people from various interests in society. They then make a draft constitution that can if necessary pass through a referendum.

  1. Having a national convention composed of representatives from all walks of life who identify and discuss important national issues in order to prepare a constitution.

Constitutions are therefore made through established procedures that are agreed upon by the majority. In Kenya the constitutional making process is as follows:

  1. The general public is provided with civic education to enable them to take part in the constitution making process. To begin with, they are made to understand what a constitution is and why it is necessary in any state. They are then enlightened on the shortcomings of the current constitutions and also its strength.

People are then requested to give their views on various aspects of the constitution. A commission is set to visit all the constituencies in Kenya to listen and record the views of the public.

All the views obtained from the constituencies of Kenya are compiled together. The wishes of the majority are isolated and used to prepare a draft constitution which is forwarded for further discussion.

  1. The recommendations are printed, published and circulated to the public. The commission once more visit the public to give their remarks. All the provinces are covered to ensure that the outcome reflects the will of the people.

  1. A national constitutional conference is organised and attended by delegates from each district in Kenya. The commission then submits the recommendations which are largely the opinions of the public for further discussion and careful scrutiny.

Some of the recommendations may be rejected. Other recommendations are accepted while some are amended. The National Constitution conference members may reject some recommendations and replace them with their own.

  1. Sometimes the National Constitutional Conference members are unable to reach a consensus concerning certain recommendations. If this happens the recommendations causing disagreement are referred back to the public to be resolved through a referendum which is organised by the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission. The referendum is conducted within two months.

  1. After this is done the draft constitution is forwarded to the National Assembly by the Attorney General after receiving it from the Commission. The draft constitution is treated as a bill and then published for discussion. Once it is recommended by the Members of Parliament after passing through all the stages a bill undergoes before becoming law, it is finally presented to the President for assent.

  1. Finally, the constitution is published in the Kenya Gazette and after this implementation begins.

Features of Kenya constitution

  1. a) The constitution is democratic

Due to the wishes and ambitions of the people since Kenya attained independence, the country has developed a democratic constitution based on the principles of separation of powers between the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive. This is aimed at reducing conflicts between the three arms of government. The arms of government are therefore required to work independently without excessive interference from each other.

  1. b) There is supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law

Kenya is established on the principles of the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law. It is governed in accordance with the constitution that acts as the supreme law that binds all authorities and individuals throughout the country.

However, the rule of the law emphasises on handling all legal matters in accordance with the Kenyan laws. Every individual suspects is supposed to be given an opportunity for self-defence before a competent court of law after being arrested. The prosecution is supposed to prove the defendant guilty within a specific period and until the victim is proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt, he should be presumed innocent.

  1. c) Recognition for and protection of individual human rights and freedom

The Kenya constitution accommodates this distinctive characteristic in order to preserve the dignity of individuals and communities, to promote the realisations of the potential of all the people and also to promote social justice. The rights and freedom of the individuals are contained in the Bill of Rights.

  1. d) A government must have relationship with the constitution

It is unlawful to establish a system of government that is contrary to the constitution.

Constitutional amendments since independence

Kenya attained internal self-government on 1st June 1963. The constitution which the country adopted in 1963 was the independence constitution.

  1. a) In 1964, the independence (majimbo) constitution was abolished. Kenya became a republic with an executive President. The President was the head of state and government. The country adopted a republican constitution with a unitary system of government.

  1. b) In 1966, the two houses of parliament, that is the senate and the House of Representatives were abolished and replaced with a single chamber National Assembly (Parliament).

  1. In 1966, a member who resigned from the party that sponsored him or her was required to seek fresh mandate from the electorate on the ticket of the new party. Also a member who missed eight consecutive parliamentary sittings or who served a prison sentence of over six months would automatically lose his seat.

  1. d) In 1966, for any constitutional amendment to be affected there had to be a 2/3 majority of the members of Parliament.

  1. e) In 1966, the Public Security Act stated that people could be detained on public interest without trial. For example, a citizen who was considered to be a danger to state security was detained without trial.

  1. f) In 1966, it was declared that if the Presidency fell vacant, the Vice-President would take over and act as President for the remaining term of office. The President was given power to nominate 12 members of parliament.

  1. g) In 1968, the President was empowered to make changes on the administrative boundaries. In this case, the Parliament lost control over the changing of administrative boundaries.

  1. h) In 1968, voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 years. One could qualify to contest for Presidency at the age of 35 years. Before one could contest at the age of 40 years and above.

  1. i) In 1968, the presidential election was to be done directly by the people who qualified to vote.

  1. j) In 1968, If the presidency fell vacant, elections were to be held within 90 days. The Vice – President acted as President for a period not going beyond 90 days. The President was also given power to postpone elections when and if he or she found it necessary. He could also shorten the life of the Parliament.

  1. k) In 1975, the President was empowered to pardon election offenders enabling them to contest in future elections.

  1. l) In 1977, the Kenya Court of Appeal was established to replace the East African Court of Appeal.

  1. m) In 1978, Public officers who wanted to contest during parliamentary elections had to resign six months before election time.

  1. In 1982, Kenya was changed from a de-facto one-party state to a de jure one-party state. This was done through the constitutional amendments which brought about the ‘Section 2A’. KANU was to be the only legal political party.

  1. In 1982, the security tenure of office of the Attorney General and Controller Audit General was established.

  1. In 1982, The office of the Chief Secretary and Head of Civil Service was established.

  1. In 1987, The post of Chief Secretary was abolished and replaced by the office of the secretary to the cabinet. This occurred because the office of the Chief Secretary was too powerful.

  1. In 1987, The President was empowered to dismiss government officers such as the Attorney General and the Controller and Audit General at will.

  1. In 1988, The President was empowered to dismiss the High Court judges and the chairman of the Public Service Commission at will.

  1. In 1988, The Police department was empowered to hold suspected criminals for a maximum of 14 days before presenting them to a court of law for hearing and trial.

  1. In 1990, The tenure of office of the Attorney General, The Chairman of the Public Service Commission and the Controller and Audit General were guaranteed.

  1. In 1990, The Presidency was limited to 2 five-year terms. For one to qualify as President he or she had to win 25% of the votes cast in at least 5 provinces of Kenya.

  1. In 1991, The section 2A of the constitution was repealed and Kenya became a multi-party state. The voting age was lowered from 21 years to 18 years.

  1. In 1997, Political parties were given the mandate to appoint nominated members of parliament.

The Kenya electoral commission commissioners were increased while certain oppressive laws were either amended or repealed. Such laws were:

  1. i) The public order act

  1. The Chief’s Act

  • The Preservation of Public Security Act

  1. The Vagrancy Act

Review Questions

  1. a) Define the term ‘constitution’.
  2. b) Explain the advantages and disadvantages of a written constitution.

  1. Outline the provisions of the independence constitution of Kenya.

  1. Discuss the main constitutional amendments in Kenya since independence.

  1. Identify the differences between written and unwritten constitution.

  1. What are the main features of the Kenya constitution?

  1. Give reasons why a constitution is necessary in any country.

Students’ Activities

  1. Describe the stages in the constitution making in Kenya.

  1. Discuss the factors that determine a country’s constitution.

  1. Have a class debate on whether Kenya should have a Prime Minister with more powers than that of the President or not.


Democracy and human rights

Democracy is a Greek term derived from the Greek words demos, which means people and Kratia signifies power or rule.

The word democracy may mean people’s rule. It may also imply a system of government where the people of a country take part in decision making through elected representatives. Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as ‘a government of the people, for the people and by the people.’

His definition is very popular and easy to comprehend. Any country with a true democratic system of government allows the people to enjoy the rights and freedoms such as rights to life, right to liberty and freedom of speech, freedom of political opinion and freedom of religion. It handles legal matters in accordance with the law. All people in the country are regarded as equal before the law irrespective of their status, race or religion.

In a democratic country, people’s opinions are taken very seriously because the government has to live to people’s expectations. A country which does not honour the opinions of the people (public opinion) becomes unpopular and it is disowned by the majority who later vote it out of power.

From the above explanation we may summarise the main features of democracy as below:

  1. Democracy gives room for consent to various aspects. This is either done directly or through people’s representatives.

  1. Democracy emphasises on equality of all the people. The government therefore tries to provide all the people with equal opportunities.

  1. Democracy gives people freedom to organise and enjoy their rights.

Types of democracy

The two common types of democracy are:

  1. Direct democracy

  1. Indirect democracy

Direct democracy

A direct democracy is one which people in a country are allowed to participate directly in all decision making. It is sometimes called pure democracy. This kind of decision making was very common among the Bushmen of South Africa and the people of the Greek city states.

Unfortunately direct democracy cannot work in countries with large populations because all the people cannot be consulted before decisions are made. It therefore succeeds in countries or communities with very few people where the opinion of every person is considered to be very useful before final decisions on various issues are made. What is agreed upon by all is accepted by all of them without any question.

Direct democracy principles have been applied in Kenya in the attempt to allow people to exercise their democratic rights. Kenyans for example have been consulted to give their opinion concerning the constitutional review.

Incase some issues are not agreed upon by members of the constitutional conference, a referendum has to be used so as to act according to the will of the people.

Indirect democracy

This is sometimes referred to as representative democracy.

In this case, people do not participate directly in decision making. They normally use their representatives. The people by way of voting elect the representatives and they specifically express people’s feelings on public issues. Indirect democracy is practical in large modern states because there are huge in size and population.

The disadvantages of this method are that the people who are elected can easily ignore the people who elected them. They can also fail to consult the electorate in order to be able to air their views in the parliament.

There are two types of representative democracy. These are:

  1. Parliamentary democracy
  2. Presidential democracy

Parliamentary democracy

Here people cast votes to elect their representatives. Those who are elected choose one person to take leadership as Prime Minister.

The one who is chosen appoints the other ministers from among the members of parliament. Those appointed forms the cabinet. The Prime Minister can be forced to resign if the other legislators cast a vote of no confidence on him. If this is done, another Prime Minister is elected to form the government.

Presidential Democracy

Here the President and other members of Parliament are elected directly by the electorate. They then form a government that lasts for a specified period of time. In the Kenyan case, it is 5 years. Non of the two arms of the government, executive and legislature has full control over the other in this type of democracy. They only act as checks and balances therefore ensuring that non of them tries to overshadow the other.

Principles of democracy

Democratic principles are the moral professional standards that are necessary in a democracy.

They play the role of showing whether a country is democratic or not. The principles of democracy are found in the Bill of Rights that is the framework for the adoption of social, economic and cultural policies.

The principles of democracy are:

  1. Rule of law

This implies that there must be equality before the law. All people in a country are subject to the same law. People must obey the law. Those who violate the established laws are prosecuted and punished if found guilty. The law should apply to all people equally without any discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, colour, disability, social status and other physical or social characteristics.

  1. People’s participation in governance

In a democratic country, people should participate in the governing of their country. They should be involved in the decision-making processes.

A person can participate in government by getting involved in voting to elect the most responsible representative of the people in the country’s parliament. A person can also contest for a parliamentary or civic post.

One can be a member of a non-governmental organisation or association that is free to hold discussions on matters affecting the country e.g. Maendeleo ya Wanawake. Such an organisation can help to control the activities of the government inorder to prevent it from abusing its powers.

  1. Economic liberty

Democratic governments allow their citizens to have freedom of action, choice and decision when dealing with issues pertaining to their economic status. This may be achieved through allowing privatisation of business partners, and market for selling one’s goods. All this gives individuals lawful authority to genuinely attain and control their own wealth.

  1. Respect for and protection of human rights

Human rights should be respected and protected because they are essential aspects of democracy which promote the respect for human life and dignity. Human rights are recognised and protected to preserve the dignity of individuals and communities and to promote social justice and the realisation of the potential of all human beings.

  1. Need to conduct free and fair elections

Elections should be held every time after an agreed period of time. In Kenya elections are held after every five years. Elections should not involve some unfair practices such as corruption, intimidation and rigging.

  1. Respect of other people’s opinions

In a democratic country, the opinions of political opponents should never be dismissed.

The opinions of political opponents should help those in control to streamline or even adjust their actions.

  1. Bill or Rights

Every democratic country should have a Bill of Rights, which contain the rights and freedoms of all the citizens and the limitations of these rights and freedoms.

  1. Equal status of all people (citizens)

There should be no discrimination based on colour, race, gender, political position or ethnic group.

All people should be regarded as equal before the law and therefore be provided with equal opportunities and privileges.

  1. Transparency and Accountability

Any country which claims to be democratic must operate in such a way that the citizens are aware of what the government is doing and what it is intending to do. There should be high degree of openness on the side of the government. The government should listen to and respect the views of its citizens and otherwise act accordingly.

Transparency and accountability may be achieved through constant meetings of the authorities with the people and through advertisements done through the mass media and print media.

  1. Application of democratic principles such as liberty and social justice.

  1. Separation of functions between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

  1. Provision of equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination.

NB: The process of building a democracy is referred to as democratisation. The agents of democratisation are interest groups, political parties, civil society, the mass media and state institutions such as Judiciary, Parliament, the civil service and other state sponsored bodies such as human rights commission and anti-corruption authorities

Human rights

Human rights can be defined as set of basic rules of justice to which each human being is entitled. They can also be defined as things that any individual is allowed to do or have by the law. One is legally allowed to do or have those things irrespective of race, religion, political opinion, creed, sex, language, place of origin, age, one’s tribe, colour or other local connections.

In Kenya, every person is guaranteed freedom of speech, religion, association and movement. He or she is also guaranteed the right to life, right to own property and right to personal liberty. Governments do not give these rights. They are the rights needed to live a human life.

As one enjoys these fundamental rights, he or she should follow the law. He or she should not interfere with other people’s rights or with the functioning of the government or the whole society’s enjoyment of rights. The rights of the individuals are contained in chapter five of the constitution. The functions of Human Rights are:

  1. To safeguard the individual’s security, life and liberty.

  1. To safeguard the individual’s freedom of conscience, movement, association and speech, etc.

  1. To safeguard the individual’s private property and home.

  1. Human rights empower people to air their own views independently without fear. People should have the freedom of expression.

  1. They ensure that the weak and the poor are not oppressed by the rich and powerful.

  1. The human rights fulfil the moral and spiritual requirements of individuals.

  1. They limit conflicts between people therefore inculcating to people the need for unity.

  1. The human rights guide the government on how to deal with its citizens so that the citizens can gain confidence with the government.

Features of human rights

The main features of human rights are:

  1. Human rights affect all the people in the world. Every human being therefore has the right to enjoy these fundamental human rights.

  1. There are limitations of human rights. This simply means that sometimes people abuse the human rights when they fail to honour the rights of others. Due to this, the law has put some limitations on some of the rights and freedoms of the individuals.

  1. Human rights are interdependent in that sometimes you must be having a certain right in order to enjoy the other. You cannot enjoy the freedom of speech if you are denied the freedom of association because you will not get somebody to talk to. If you are living in a state of insecurity and your life is in danger then you cannot enjoy many other rights such as right to liberty, freedom of association and freedom of movement.

  1. If the country is at war, certain provisions of the fundamental rights can be suspended. Examples of the provisions which can be suspended are:
  2. i) The protection in respect to the rights to liberty

  1. ii) Freedom of expression (speech)

  • Freedom of movement

  1. Right against forced search or entry.

  1. Freedom of association

  1. Anti-discrimination provision

Violation of human rights

In order to ensure that human rights are not violated, the government of Kenya set up a standing committee on human rights aimed at providing citizens with a way they can report abuses of human rights. The role of this committee is to receive complaints on human rights abuses from the public. It then makes reports and suggestions to the government on the action to be taken against those who violate the rights. The Kenyan Human Rights Commission also draws attention to human rights abuses.

Other groups that observe and report issues on the abuse of human rights are religious groups, police, newspaper journalists, judges, educators, lawyers, trade unionists and the civil society organisations.

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is a statement of human or civil rights in a constitution. It explains and guarantees the rights of the individuals. It also clarifies the circumstances which may force the government to deny an individual his rights and freedoms.

The Bill of rights in the Kenya constitution is derived from the International Bill of Rights that is found in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Some of the provisions of the International Bill of rights are:

  1. It states clearly the right to self-determination. Here people are allowed to determine their political position and to continue with their socio-economic and cultural advancement.

  1. There should be equal rights for both men and women as they enjoy civil and political rights.

  1. All people have right to freedom of association.

  1. No person shall be subjected to arbitrary interference of his family or privacy.

  1. All people are equal before the law. Therefore no person is above the law and the law should apply to all people equally without any discrimination.

  1. All people have a right to freedom of conscience and religion.

  1. No person shall be subjected to inhuman treatment or torture.

  1. All people have right to liberty.

  1. All people living in a particular state lawfully have freedom of movement in that particular state.

  1. Every person has the right to life that must be protected by law.

  1. No person should be enslaved because all people have a right to freedom.

  1. Every person has the right of being recognised every where in the world as a human being (person) before the law.

  1. A couple has freedom to marry and start a family so long as they agree to do so.

  1. Minority groups should never be denied their rights for instance religious rights and cultural rights.

  1. Everyone has the right to take part in the public affairs of the state he belongs either directly or indirectly. So the right to vote and to be voted for is provided.

The Bill of Rights was included in the constitution of many democratic states that include Kenya. However the Bill of Rights in Kenya had a number of limitations in connection to the constitution in use from independent up to 2003. These are:

  1. Some bills lost their power due to use of clauses or exceptions. For instance in the constitution there was the freedom of movement at the same time the parliament was empowered to make laws that could restrict that freedom.

  1. The ways of making sure that the rights in the Bill of Rights were carried out were not clarified.

  1. The Bill of Rights did not include or protect persons with disabilities against discrimination.

  1. The provisions of suspending some of the rights contained in the Bill of Rights were generally very wide.

  1. The marginalised communities were not very well protected because the Bill of Rights did not provide clear protection guidelines for such communities.

  1. The Kenyan Bill of Rights did not mention the socio-economic and cultural rights as well as the rights to development and the rights to a clean environment.

  1. Some sections of the laws allowed discrimination. For example section 91 of the constitution discriminated against women when it allowed the child of a Kenyan father married to a foreign woman to get citizenship automatically while the child of a Kenyan woman married to a foreigner could not be awarded citizenship automatically.

The UN charter on human rights

The United Nations Organisation (UNO) sometimes referred to as UN was established after the Second World War to promote international co-operation by encouraging the respect for human rights and freedoms.

The Charter of the UN was signed on 26th June 1945 and came into force on 24th October 1945. It provided the constitutional basis for establishing international peace and security.

The need to have international peace and security arose as a result of people’s concern due to the damages caused by the first world war and the second world war. During these two world wars, many people were killed and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.

To prevent such damages occurring again, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written.

The Declaration of Human Rights states that, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted this declaration. It declares:

  1. i) Civil and political rights

  1. Cultural rights

  • Economic rights

  1. Social rights

1. Civil and political rights

The aliens are protected from expulsion. People are prevented from being forced to testify against themselves or confess their guilt. It also provides for a right to be compensated in case of misuse or error of justice. There is prohibition of racial or religious hatred and ban of wars. Lastly, protection of ethnic, religious or different language minorities is provided.

  1. Cultural Rights, Economic Rights and Social Rights

The rights included here are the right to work, the right to education, the right to form trade unions, the right to strike, the right to participate in cultural life, the right to have an adequate standard of living, the right to social security, the right to fair and favourable conditions of work and the rights of minorities.

Kenyans enjoying the right to education

Some of the human rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document

  1. Nobody shall be subjected to arbitrary detention, arrest or exile.

  1. Nobody should be enslaved.

  1. All human beings are born free and equal.

  1. All people have a right to life and liberty.

  1. All people have a right to freedom of association and assembly.

  1. Any person charged with an offence must be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law.

  1. Every person has a right to own property. No property should be taken away without proper compensation.

  1. Every person is entitled with the right to a fair hearing by an impartial and independent court.

  1. The right to freedom of movement within one’s country is provided.

  1. Anybody has a right to seek refuge in another country for political reasons.
  2. Anybody has a right to freedom of expression (speech).

  1. Anybody has a right to belong to a particular nation. One can also change his nationality if he wants.

  1. All people are equal before the law.

  1. Anybody is allowed to marry another person and start a family irrespective of their nationality, religion, colour or race.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights document is important because:

  1. i) It provides an international standard by which governments can be judged on issues of human rights so that they can be accused of violating them and therefore be cut off internationally or certain sanctions put in place to punish them.

  1. It encourages some countries to form regional blocs so as to be able to introduce and protect human rights.

The rights of the child

Children like any other human beings are entitled to certain rights that provide special protection to them. Children differ from adults in that they have limited capabilities. For this reason they require protection and support of adults.

The rights of children are contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Children’s Act in Kenya was passed by Parliament in the year 2002. It contained a number of rights for children. Some of them are as below:

  1. Right to life

Every child is entitled to the right to life. The parents and the government should therefore ensure that the children grow up without any obstacles that may affect their lives.

  1. Right to education

Children have a right to be educated. The parents must therefore ensure that their children obtain basic primary education that is now free. The government is ensuring that successful primary school pupils acquire secondary school education by providing bursary funds to students from poor families.

  1. Protection from exploitation

Children can easily be exploited as cheap labour. There should be regulations that protect children against exploitation. Children should not be forced to do any work that is likely to negatively affect them morally, physically and mentally.

  1. Protection from discrimination

Children should be protected against various kinds of discrimination such as being discriminated on the bases of colour, race, religion, sex and many others.

  1. Right to good medical care

Parents and the government should ensure that children are provided with medical care. For instance they can be vaccinated against certain diseases. Specialists for treating children should also be available.

  1. Right to religious guidance

The parents should guide their children on how to practice their religion and also instruct them on religious matters.

  1. Protection from sexual abuse

Children should be protected from rape and from being given money in exchange for sex by adults.

  1. Right to basic requirements like food, shelter and clothing

Children have a right to be provided with food, shelter and clothing by their parents. In times of famine, the government should provide children with food if their parents are not able to do so.

  1. Right to adoption

The government has put in place guidelines on the way adoption should be done.

  1. Right to play

Children should be allowed to play. It is when they play that they make discoveries and also settle their minds. Playing also enables them to socialise with others.

Children socialising

Classification of human rights

Human rights may be categorised as follows:

  1. i) Political and civil rights

  1. Social and cultural rights

  • Economic Rights

  1. Development and group rights

Political and civil rights

Political and civil rights are generally referred to as “Civil rights” or “Fundamental rights, freedoms and protections”.

They enable individuals to follow their values and interests. They provide individuals with basic freedoms. Examples of civil rights are:

  1. i) The right to life

  1. The right to personal liberty

  • Freedom of expression

  1. Freedom of conscience

  1. Freedom of association and assembly

  1. Freedom of movement

  • Freedom of discrimination

  • Protection against slavery and forced labour

  1. Protection from arbitrary search and entry

  1. Right to the secure protection of law.

Social and cultural rights

They provide people with social freedom and basic needs such as education and health. They also provide people with the right to take part in cultural activities. They encourage fair treatment of all citizens and discourage inhuman treatment and interference with one’s body, premises or private life therefore ensuring security to the people. Examples of social and cultural rights are:

  1. i) Right to education

  1. Right to start a family or marry

  • Right to health or medical care

  1. Right to housing or good shelter

  1. Right to good food

  1. Right to good clothing

  • Right to play and leisure

  • Right to social security

  1. Right to parental love

  1. Right to association

  1. Protection from discrimination, sexual abuse, drugs and disaster.

Economic rights

These provide people with economic freedom. They enable people to take part in the economic activities freely without harassment. Economic rights provide people with the right to own and use property and the chance to work and provide for their livelihood. They also provide people with the right to freedom from forced labour and slavery. Examples of economic rights are:

  1. i) Right to form and become a trade union member

  1. Right to own property

  • Right to work and to fair judgement

  1. Right to start and operate a business

  1. Right to form and join a trade union

Developmental and group rights

These help people to have better life. One of the ways of having a better life is living in a clean environment which is free from all forms of pollution for instance excessive noise, excessive fumes and smoke, bad smell from rotting objects and contaminated water due to careless dumping of pollutants. Group rights represent a specific group of people. Examples of development and group rights are:

  1. i) The right to culture

  1. The right to clean environment

  • The right to development

  1. The right of persons with disabilities

  1. The right of minorities

In conclusion, it is vital to note that the new government which took over leadership after 2002 immediately began addressing itself to the issue of discrimination against women and other minorities which is an important issue on human rights. For decades women and women’s groups have been disadvantaged yet they contribute greatly to the economy of the country.

There were also other groups that are marginalised on the basis of gender, disability, age, customs and traditions.

The new government responded positively after power was handed over by the previous regime by taking Affirmative action (measures to accelerate equality and reverse discrimination) which resulted to nomination of more women to parliament after the general election.

It is hoped that the government will continue to encourage fairness to both genders in the assignment of responsibilities and leadership roles as well as making opportunities available for the marginalised groups. By so doing, there will be fair sharing, distribution and allocation of jobs and resources for everyone’s benefit and also for the good of everyone in the country.

When this is achieved all Kenyans will begin thinking, talking, trying and acting to achieve all the goals set by the practical democratic leaders of our country.

Review Questions

  1. a) Define the term ‘Democracy’.
  2. b) Describe the two types of democracy below:
  3. i) Direct Democracy
  4. ii) Indirect or Representative Democracy

  1. a) What are Human Rights?
  2. b) Describe the UN Charter on Human Rights

  1. Identify the Rights of the Child which are contained in the Children’s Act.

  1. a) How can we classify Human Rights?
  2. b) Identify the ways the government is adopting Affirmative Action to deal with the past discrimination.

  1. What are the sources of Kenya’s Bill of Rights?

  1. Discuss the following:
  2. i) Presidential democracy
  3. ii) Parliamentary democracy

Students’ Activities

  1. Discuss the principles of democracy.

  1. In groups identify various human rights abuses in Kenya.

  1. Have a class debate whether it is right or wrong to compel all street children to join the National Youth Service.
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