New Syllabus.



Chapter 1: Introduction to history and government


The meaning of history and government

Sources of history and government

Importance of studying history and government

Review Questions


Chapter 2: The Early Man


Origin of man and his evolution

Uses of early Archeulian tools

Methods of dating fossils

Early man’s cultural practices

Changes Early Man experienced

Review Questions


Chapter 3: Development of Agriculture


Early Agriculture

Early Agriculture in Egypt

Early Agriculture in Mesopotamia

Agrarian Revolution in USA

Food situation in Third World countries

Review Questions


Chapter 4: The people of Kenya upto the 19th Century


Classification of Kenyan communities

Causes and effects of migration of Kenyan people (Bantu, Nilotes, Cushites)

Review Questions


Chapter 5: Social, Economic and Political organisation of Kenyan Societies in the 19th Century

Organisation of Bantu (Agikuyu, Ameru, Akamba, Abagusii, Mijiknda)

Organisation of Nilotes (Luo, Nandi, Maasai)

Organisation of Cushites (Somali, Boran)

Review Questions


Chapter 6: Contact between E. Africa and the outside world up to the 19th Century


Contact by the Early visitors

Development of trade between E. Africa and Asia

How slaves were obtained

The Portuguese at the coast

Oman/Seyyid Said’s rule

The long distance trade

Development of international trade

The spread of Christianity in E. Africa

Review Questions



Chapter 7: Citizenship


The way one can become a Kenyan Citizen

Rights and freedoms of a Kenyan citizen

Responsibilities and elements of a good citizen

Review Questions



Chapter 8: National integration


Meaning and importance of National Integration

Factors which promote and limit National Unity

Conflict and conflict resolution

Review Questions



History as a discipline, originated during the time the early Greek scholars such as Herodotus and Thucydides wrote documents concerning past activities of man. This activity of recording past events developed over time until the period when the written records began being imparted to learners in schools.


In East Africa, the missionaries introduced the first formal schools. It was in these formal schools that history was introduced as a discipline. Since then history has been taught in schools and colleges. History has helped in shaping the people of East Africa intellectually.


The meaning of History


The term “History” comes from a Greek word “Historia” which implies “to enquire, to search or to ask for the truth” and there after report what you have found. History can therefore be defined as “the study or account or story of man’s true events of the past out of his interaction with his environment.”

History is being made from everyday news which concern mankind such that what we regard as news now is treated as history next hour.

It is not easy to record all past events of man. The historian considers only what he thinks is important and ignores what he thinks is not important. He arranges historical happenings in chronological order considering the period events occurred. The events are considered to have occurred before the birth of Jesus Christ (BC) while others occurred after the birth of Christ (AD). In Latin AD implies Anno domini or “the year of our Lord”.

All known un-recorded history is referred to as Pre-history.

Three major areas of study of history are social, political and economic.


Social history deals with the cultural practices and traditions of the people. It deals with social institutions such as tribe, clan, age-set and families. Social history also deals with religious beliefs and practices such as sacrifice and mode of worship. It also deals with other cultural aspects such as rights of passage and many other societal values.

Political history deals with wars, leadership, systems of government and settling of disputes.

Economic history deals with things concerning activities such as cultivation, pastoralism, mining, trade, hunting and industry.


The characters of historical events


All events of history have the following characteristics:


  1. Historical events should contain elements of truth either from first-hand information or from second-hand information.
  2. Historical events mainly dwell on past happenings.
  3. All historical events must concern man. This implies that they must somehow be connected with man.
  4. Historical information may exist in either written or oral form.
  5. All historical events must have evidence for them to qualify to be true.


The meaning of government


It means the exercise of authority over a political or social unit. It may also imply the practice of ruling or exercising continuous authority over one’s subjects.


Any government must have:

Sets of laws or rules to govern the people; specific individuals who ensure that the laid down laws, rules, traditions and customs are observed; specified ways of dealing with those who do not adhere to the laid down laws and regulations and a specified area where the set rules and regulations are exercised.


The sources of information on History and Government


Historians have been able to obtain historical information through various sources such as:


  1. a) Written records:

This is recorded information obtained from books, newspapers, journals, magazines and from oral tradition, interviews and observations. It is then stored for use over the years.

Written records are advantageous because they are easily used by people majority of whom are literate, they are more accurate and reliable than the information from other sources, it is cheaper to come up with written records than to get information by use of other sources such as archaeology and linguistics, they store information in a relatively permanent way and they are easily translated into many languages for effective use.



  1. b) Archaeology

This is the study of the material remains of man’s past. It includes the study of man’s weapons, tools, settlements, pottery, skulls, bone and plant remains like grains, and cave paintings. When the remains are escavated, they are carefully examined by the archaeologists and necessary information is obtained.


The archaeologists may escavate a place where erosion has exposed a stratum of rock and soil well below the surface, a place where there are partly visible remains or they may be guided by oral traditions to identify the place for instance if the place is orally mentioned for example the Great Zimbabwe and Merowe ruins.


The remains exist in the following forms:

  • Those made by early man such as weapons, tools, pots and ornaments.
  • Unmovable structures such as dwellings, dug wells, tombs and early towns.
  • Items which are natural such as bone remains, horns, carbonized seeds or grains.


Archaeology has various limitations:

  1. It is expensive to use the method to obtain information.
  2. It is time consuming especially when one uses the method to locate archaeological sites.
  • Weather can affect fossils, for example fossils may decay or change their form.
  1. It is difficult to locate archaeological sites.
  2. Sometimes people who use this method obtain inaccurate information.
  3. The archaeological method cannot be used to obtain recent events and information. Only the study of ancient period can be done by use of this method.

vii)   It is difficult to date fossils and artefacts. A lot of estimation is involved.


  1. c) Oral tradition

This is the study of the past as revealed by what has been handed down by word of mouth from one generation to another.




In African traditional societies, the elders and court workers acted as the custodians of the history of their community because they passed information concerning their people and their rulers to the young people.

In order for the historian to reconstruct the history of the past by use of oral tradition, he refers to myths, legends, songs, proverbs, poems and to the lists of rulers.


Oral traditions have a number of limitations as follows:

  1. Information obtained may be exaggerated.
  2. Information obtained may be inaccurate or distorted.
  • Sometimes the informants may conceal vital information.
  1. Obtaining information by use of this method is expensive.
  2. The method is time consuming and laborious to use.
  3. Information may be omitted or even forgotten due to loss of memory.
  • A lot of information on successes and achievement is obtained but very little on failures when this method is used to obtain information concerning African traditional societies.


  1. d) Linguistics

This is the scientific study and analysis of languages.

It is done to enable the historian to understand cultures and relationship between various language groups.

People who speak related languages are assumed to be either connected or to have ever been in close contact. In East Africa, the study and analysis of languages has helped the historian to trace the origin, migration and settlement of communities.

It has also helped historians to classify and group the people of East Africa and also to learn about their past relations and interactions as well as the common aspects of their social, political and economic organisations.


Use of linguistics as a method of reconstructing the past may have the following limitations:

  1. All kinds of information may not be possible to obtain because linguistics is only limited to the study of cultures, origins and migrations of communities.
  2. Use of this method may lead to obtaining inaccurate information.
  • The method itself is expensive especially if one tries to use it to obtain information from far away communities.
  1. It is difficult to use this method to estimate the actual time events occurred.
  2. This method requires use of highly skilled manpower.
  3. Learning other peoples languages may be time consuming and laborious.


  1. e) Anthropology

This is mainly the study of existing social institutions and relationships. An anthropologist interacts with people to experience their way of life. In so doing he obtains information from the following elements of social organisation:-

Cultures of people and their cultural values, forms of government, religious organisations and beliefs, systems of marriage, family relations, inheritance and also from the material mode of life such as farming, livestock keeping, fishing and industry.

The anthropologists collect data from the people and use it to draw conclusions after analysing it properly.


Limitations of using Anthropology as a method of reconstructing history:

  1. It can be too expensive to use.
  2. It is time consuming and tedious.
  • One may obtain inaccurate information if the method is not properly used.
  1. This method may require very well trained personnel.
  2. It is limited to few aspects of history which includes social aspects and material aspects.
  3. One cannot use this method alone to obtain all information. So it is not wholly reliable.


  1. f) Genetics

It deals with the study of the methods in which certain characteristics are transmitted from parents to their offspring. This method has helped the historian to study the history of the domestication of animals and plants by early man. It has also helped him to understand how new varieties came into being.

The method is mainly scientific and at the same time expensive.

For one to use this method he must be well trained. For example one may be an experienced Botanist. The method may not also be used to extract information from all aspects of man’s activities. It is not easy to obtain very accurate information when using genetics.

In conclusion, out of all the above sources of information on history, written sources are the most reliable and most accurate. However, written sources may have the following limitations:

  1. Though recorded, some information may be inaccurate, distorted or exaggerated.
  2. Some written records are not readily available when required. For example some records may be available in archives which are far away from people who need the information.
  3. Written records are useful and meaningful to people who are literate.
  4. Some written records contain inadequate information.
  5. Written information may contain biases.
  6. Records preserved in foreign languages are difficult to interpret accurately and may call for experts to interpret. This may be expensive to achieve.
  7. Written information can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
  8. People spend a lot of time when going through written records.
  9. People find it expensive to buy books, newspapers and magazines in order to obtain written information.

Why it is essential for people to study History


It has become very necessary for people to study history so that people can develop a sense of belonging and also foster national pride. Also in order for them to understand and appreciate their past ways of life. This can help them to predict future events.

To acquire the capacity for critical thinking or reasoning as they analyse historical information and to foster empathy or ability to understand how other people think and feel as well as their roles and positions in society.

The study of history helps people understand the need of having a government and also to appreciate the cultures of other people and thereafter recognise the need of human interdependence.

It helps them to attain a career and acquire employment in various professions such as Administration, teaching and business and in addition attain knowledge because history makes an individual develop interest and pleasure for reading and finding out new information. Lastly, it prepares people for life and the way they should react to future challenges.





Why it is important to study Government.


People study government to be able to understand and appreciate its system and the way it works. It enhances people to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and to understand the duties of leaders and their subjects and also how various societies have been administered over the years. The study of government enables them to understand the process of law making and the enforcement of law and also to understand issues concerning national budgets, revenue and expenditure.


It enables them to understand the roles of the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive and finally, it enables them to admire and appreciate careers such as administration and those of judges and lawyers.


Review Questions.


  1. What do you understand by the following:
  2. i) History
  3. ii) Government
  4. Explain the methods historians use to obtain historical information.
  5. Give the limitations of:
  6. i) Oral tradition
  7. ii) Archaeology

iii) Linguistics

  1. Give reasons why written records are regarded as the best sources of historical information.
  2. Explain why history and government is studied in Kenyan schools and some colleges.
  3. What are the limitations of using written records?
























How the early man originated.


There are three theories which explain the origin of man. These are:


  1. a) Creation theory

This has its origin in the Bible (The Old Testament).

The book of Genesis says that God created man in his own image and then told him to multiply and fill the earth.

Creation theory is also contained in the Koran which states that the first man named Adam was created by Allah. From Adam’s rib, Allah created his wife, Hawa (Eve).

  1. b) The evolution theory

Evolution is the process of gradual change in living organisms.

Evolution theory was formulated by Charles Darwin – in 1859. He recorded the theory in his book entitled “The origin of species”.

According to Darwin, man developed from the Ape-like creatures that were his ancestors many thousands of years ago. He says these ape-like creatures slowly changed over the ages to look more man-like than ape-like.

  1. c) Traditional (Mythical) theory

Every traditional community had an explanation of its origin. This explanation was passed from one generation to the other and kept on revolving for ages. For example the Kikuyu myth of origin says that Ngai (God) created Gikuyu (the first man) and then provided him with a wife they called Mumbi.


The evolution of man and the stages of his evolution.


Evolution is the process of gradual change. Many years ago man began to develop from ape-like creatures. At first he walked on all fours but later he used his hind limbs as legs and he stood upright.

The early man first originated and lived in Africa. It is later when some of them spread into Europe, Asia and America.

East Africa is very rich in archaeological sites, some of which are: Rusinga Island, Njoro river cave, Olorgesaille and Fort Ternan in Kenya. Also Kondora Irangi and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

Archaeological findings show that man evolved through the following stages:

Dryopithecus Africanus (Proconsul)

The Dryopithecus skull was found in Africa by Mary Louis Leaky. His skull and limb bones were escavated on Rusinga Island and he resembled apes more than he resembled man.

Dryopithecus had the following physical and cultural features.

  1. He walked on all fours
  2. He had long teeth
  • He ate flesh and fruits
  1. He used limbs as arms
  2. He hunted and gathered.


Dryopithecus existed about 20 – 25 million years ago and lived in the East African forest.


Ramapithecus (Kenya pithecus):

Dr. Leakey escavated these fossils at Fort Ternan near Kericho

Ramapithecus had the following physical and cultural features:

  1. He had massive jaws
  2. He had grinding teeth
  • He resembled apes more than man
  1. He had smaller canines than those of apes.


Ramapithecus existed in the East African grasslands 12 to 15 million years ago.


Australopithecus (Zinjanthropus):

Their fossils were first escavated in South Africa

Later fossils of these creatures were found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and they were closer to modern man.

These hominids had the following physical and cultural features.

  • They had grinding teeth
  • Their bodies were hairy
  • They were short
  • They had low forehead and deep set eyes.
  • They had a small brain capacity which was a third of that of modern man.
  • They walked in upright posture.
  • They relied on fingers to acquire food.
  • They ate flesh and fruits.
  • They made and used simple stone tools.
  • They learnt that they could use stone tools for defence against other animals.
  • They hunted and gathered.

Australopithecines were living in Africa about 2 to 7 million years ago and existed in several species such as Australopithecus Afarensis, Australopithecus Africanus, Australopithecus Robustus and Australopithecus Boisei who was related to robustus.


Homo Habilis

The skull of Homo Habilis was escavated at Olduvai gorge in Tanzania and at Kobi Fora near lake Turkana

Homo Habilis means “handy man” or “man with ability” or “practical man”.

Man at this evolution stage had the following cultural and physical features:

  1. He used his hands to grasp objects.
  2. He had a large brain capacity (680cc)
  • He made useful tools from stones and sticks.
  1. He could control his hands by use of his brain.
  2. He hunted and gathered.
  3. He resembled man more than apes. He is therefore regarded as a true ancestor of man.
  • He communicated through elementary language and lived in Africa about one and half million years ago.


Homo Erectus

Homo Erectus is also referred to as ‘upright man’.

He was more man-like than Ape-like.

His remains were escavated in Ethiopia.

The following were his physical and cultural features:

  1. He had upright walking posture.
  2. He was more intelligent than the earlier man like apes.
  • He had a higher brain capacity (1000 cc).
  1. He was able to make stone and bone weapons. He made Acheulian tools using Levallois technique of organising flakes into small pieces.
  2. He learnt how to make fire.
  3. He developed speech.
  • He painted pictures on the walls of his cave dwellings.
  • He hunted and gathered.
  1. Home erectus existed during the middle stone age period.




Rhodesian man

His skull was escavated in Zambia, formerly known as Northern Rhodesia.

He was closer to the modern man than Homo erectus.

The following were his physical and cultural features:

  1. He walked with long strides.
  2. He made tools made of stone.
  • He had a well developed brain almost the size of that of modern man.
  1. He walked on two legs and he had an upright posture although his forehead was sloping backward.
  2. He hunted and gathered.


Neanderthal man

He was closer to the modern man than the Rhodesian man.

His fossils were escavated in Neander valley in Germany and in several other sites in Europe.

The following were his physical and cultural features:

  1. He hunted and gathered.
  2. He made tools and weapons from stone.
  • He walked in an upright posture.
  1. He was heavily built.
  2. His brain capacity was high and in some cases larger than that of modern man.
  3. He fed on meat from the wild animals he hunted.



His fossils were found in Western Europe and he was taller than modern man. He existed between 10,000 to 50,000 years ago.

He had the following physical and cultural features:

  1. He made and used delicate microlithic tools, which were well refined.
  2. He hunted and gathered.
  • He lived in caves.
  1. He used fire to warm himself and roast meat.
  2. He painted pictures on the walls of caves.
  3. His eye-brow range was thicker than that of modern man.


Cro-Magnon lived during the Middle Stone age period and he used fire to cook. The tools he used were reasonably improved. The caves he lived in were painted.





Homo Sapiens

Homo Sapiens implies “thinking man” or “intelligent man”. He used advanced Acheulian tools and also manufactured other better tools such as daggers, side scrapers and chisels.

Homo sapiens also learnt to make better tools by use of Levallois – technique and later developed the microlith industry. He existed during the New Stone age. The following were the physical and cultural features of man during Homo Sapiens stage:

  1. He tamed and kept livestock.
  2. He cultivated.
  3. He buried the dead.
  4. He settled in villages.
  5. He began fishing by use of bone harpoons.
  6. He developed government.
  7. He started religion.
  8. He began simple industry which made beads out of seeds, bones and egg shells and also pottery, basketry and painting.
  9. He made better clothes from skins by knitting them with bone needles.
  10. He built huts made of thatch and mud.


Things which enable the archaeologists to study the origin of man.


The study of early man has not been easy but inorder to facilitate it the archaeologists have tried to use the tools early man used for example the “Acheulian tools” such as scrapers, hand axe, arrow heads, choppers, spear heads and “Microliths” tools such as fishing harpoons, bone needles, arrow heads, sickles and blades.

They have also used remains of garments or skin clothes, the weapons early man used, the remains of beads, the shelter of the early man, grains and food remains and also the cave paintings or art work as well as traces of the remains of fire e.g. charcoal and carbonised seeds. By use of all these the archaeologist has been able to make useful conclusions on man’s origin and his evolution.









Uses of the early Archeulian tools


Archeulian tools were made from several materials. They were sharper than those used before. Examples of these types of tools were arrow-heads, axes and spear-heads.

Archaeulian tools were used for digging roots, skinning animals, killing animals, grinding or pounding vegetables, scrapping animal skins and for breaking the bones of animals.


Methods used when dating fossils by the archaeologists


Carbon 14 tests –                   Archaeologists use this to determine the amount of Carbon 14 in an object because the older the remains, the less carbon 14 they have.

Potassium – Argon test –        This is mainly used to date the volcanic ash and also the fossils which may be escavated in the volcanic rocks. It can only be used to date artefacts which are old (about 300,000 years and above).

Paleomagnetic dating method – This method is used to date fossils upto

10,000 years of age.

Stratigraphy               –           It is used to date fossils lying between layers of

sedimentary rocks.


Some notable archaeologists in E. Africa who used some of these methods to date fossils were Dr. Leakey, Dr. Freeman, Dr. Posnansky, Mr. Chittick, and Mr. Kirkman.


Why early man made tools and weapons


  • For defence against other wild animals
  • For hunting and gathering for example animals and fruits respectively
  • For cultivating especially during the new stone age when he

domesticated plants

  • For exchanging with other items.
  • Due to his curiosity to find out things.


The items early man used for making tools and weapons he used were stone, Bone, Horn, Flint, Wood and sticks. These were used to make a wide range of items which early man became specialised in.



The earliest industries established by early man were tool making, weapon making, cloth making, pottery, weaving and basketry. Tools and weapons were made in the industries collectively called the Oldowan Industries, Lupemban industries, the Acheulian industries, the Still Bay Industries, the Mousterian Industries and the Microliths industries.


The Oldowan tools included choppers and flakes. The Acheulian tools included the hand-axes, spear – heads, arrow-heads, cleavers, knives, daggers and scrappers.



Early men preparing a pit trap.






















The divisions of the culture of the early man and his cultural practices and economic practices


The divisions of the culture of the early man are:

  1. The Old Stone Age sometimes referred to as Early Stone Age or Lower Palaeolithic.
  2. The Middle Stone Age sometimes referred to as Middle Palaeolithic.
  3. The New Stone Age sometimes referred to as the late stone age or upper Palaeolithic.


  1. The old stone age:

Culture and economic practices

Man lived in small groups. He slept on trees and caves for fear of attack by wild animals. He walked naked and his body was covered with hair. Early man ate raw meat, birds, eggs and insects. He made simple stone tools such as hand axes and flakes using levallois technique. Finally, he hunted wild animals and gathered fruits and roots for food.


  1. The middle stone age:

Culture and economic practices

Man lived in caves. He discovered fire and lit it on the doors of caves to scare away wild animals. Man also began making and wearing clothes made of skins. He also began cooking food and roasting meat and roots.

Early man started trapping animals using pits and painting pictures of animals he hunted on the walls of caves. His language developed and finally he improved the quality of the tools he made by making them smaller, lighter, sharper, thinner and more convenient to use.



Stone tools early man made.








The Middle Stone Age men painting pictures on rocks



Why the discovery of fire was useful to early man

This discovery was important for the following reasons:

  1. Man warmed himself with it when it was cold.
  2. He used it to cook and therefore soften his food as well as remove poison from vegetables.
  3. He used it to light the caves where he spent the nights.
  4. Man used it to scare wild animals which posed a threat to him.
  5. He used fire to harden the tips of the tools he used such as spears and arrows.
  6. Fire assisted man when hunting because he lit it to burn bushes where animals were hiding and they escaped towards swamps and caves where he would easily kill them.
  7. He used fire to clear bushes close to his cave dwellings.
  8. Man later used fire to harden pots made of clay.
  9. The Homo Sapiens used it to clear bushes for cultivation.
  10. It improved mans food by improving flavour, improving nutrition, removing poison, softening food and cooking food.


  1. c) The New Stone Age:

            Culture and economic practices

The new Stone Age is sometimes referred to as the Upper Paleolithic period. In this period man made better microlith tools such as blades and arrow-heads. He then made composite tools such as fish harpoons and bone needles.

Man established permanent settlements and he began leading a settled life. Man then began decorating his body by use of red ochre, beads and bangles made of eggshells. He also began simple industry which included weaving, pottery, basketry and spinning.

Man developed religion and began performing religious rites and ceremonies to influence natural forces like drought, death, earthquakes and rain. He developed governmental institutions, leading to establishment of early governments.

Man began fishing using harpoons. He made better shelter such as houses made of mud and thatch. He then domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, sheep, cows, goats and chicken and finally, he began cultivating and this was the beginning of farming.







The changes early man experienced during his evolution.


The changes from early man to modern man took a very long period. Each of the changes man experienced was very important because it was the basis of his future life. It is due to these changes that modern man is at the level he is today.

Early man experienced the following important changes which helped in modernising his culture and way of life.

  • Increase in brain capacity.
  • Development of upright posture.
  • Walking on two legs instead of walking on all fours.
  • Holding objects by use of front limbs (hands).
  • Continuous improvement of tools and weapons.
  • He discovered fire.
  • He learnt to domesticate animals and plants. This was the beginning of agriculture.
  • He improved his shelter as time went on.
  • He established religion.
  • He formed government.
  • He started simple industry such as weaving, pottery and basketry.
  • He began weaving clothes made of skins.

All the above changes helped early man to evolve to the modern man who is capable of making many inventions.


Review Questions.


  1. Identify the theories that explain the origin of human beings.
  2. Why is Africa regarded to as the home of early man?
  3. Discuss the economic and cultural activities which took place during the following:
  4. Old Stone Age
  5. Middle Stone Age
  • Late Stone Age
  1. How was fire used during the Middle Stone Age?
  2. Discuss the cultural and economic practices of early man during the following evolution stages:
  3. Homo Habilis
  4. Homo erectus
  • Homo Sapiens
  1. Draw a map of East Africa and indicate all the archaeological sites and then describe the pattern of the distribution of these sites.








Early Agriculture.


Early agriculture developed when man domesticated animals such as sheep, cows and goats, and when he started growing crops like wheat, barley, figs and vegetables.

At first early man was mainly engaged in hunting and gathering. Later man accidentally realised that animals and plants could be domesticated and he could easily obtain food even when weather conditions were unfavourable. Man took control of the animals which were friendly and he had to feed them.

Man therefore put up permanent settlements. It is this settled lifestyle which enabled man to realise that some of the grains which fell near his homestead germinated and grew up to produce more grains. This realisation made man to start planting grains near his homestead.

Early agriculture developed in a number of countries such as Mesopotamia, China, Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Sudan, Palestine, Thailand, Peru, Iran, Mexico, Turkey and Israel.

Before the domestication of animals and plants, early man’s food was Edible roots, Meat, from wild animals, Birds eggs, Honey, Vegetables, Wild fruits and nuts. When man domesticated animals they provided him with meat, milk, skins for making clothing’s and comfort.


Factors which encouraged the development of early agriculture


Man started agriculture because there was need for reliable food supply. The invention of agricultural tools encouraged man to cultivate bigger plots of land. Rapid increase in population also encouraged people to increase their farmland in order to get more food which was enough for the growing population.

The beginning of settled life made man to stay in one place until the crops matured. This in turn contributed to the production of surplus food which encouraged trade and therefore need to produce more.

After man settled there was realisation that friendly animals could be tamed easily and plants could be grown near homesteads. This later brought about specialisation even on other economic activities like making of hoes, pots and knives which boosted agricultural production.


The effects of the development of early agriculture to man’s life


The development of early agriculture had great impact on man’s life as follows:

  1. Adequate food was obtained resulting to an increase in human population.
  2. Man was able to specialise on other activities for example weaving, pottery and cloth making.
  • Man was able to establish permanent settlements.
  1. Urbanisation resulted where man settled.
  2. Socio-political institutions which later gave rise to governments developed.
  3. Production of surplus food led to development of trade.
  • Man developed religious beliefs. He performed religious rites and ceremonies in order to influence phenomena like drought and floods.


Factors which favoured the development of early agriculture (crop growing) in ancient Egypt


Egypt was one of the countries of the world where early agriculture took place. This was due to the presence of indigenous crops like wheat and barley which were easily grown along the Nile valley. The fertile soils (silt) were deposited along the river valley during floods and this favoured growth of crops.

The invention of writing (Hieroglyphics) helped much in keeping farm records. Also the introduction of irrigation by use of River Nile boosted agriculture. The basin and shadoof irrigation methods were discovered.

The invention of the calendar helped in marking seasons and when the Nile flooded. The introduction of the ox-drawn wooden plough enabled more land to be ploughed.

Finally, the political stability in Egypt enabled agricultural activities to be conducted and also other activities such as trade because the Arabian Desert, the Nubian Desert and the Mediterranean Sea protected Egypt from foreign invasion.


The economic impact of early agriculture in Egypt


Early agriculture in Egypt had the following consequences:

  • It led to increase in food production.
  • It led to increase in trade.
  • It led to division of labour.
  • It led to specialisation.
  • It contributed to the emergence of small skill industries such as weaving, basketry and pottery.
  • It led to improved methods of cultivation for example irrigation and use of the plough.
  • It led to urbanisation
  • It resulted to the emergence of a class of wealthy people in Egypt.
  • More land was cultivated.


Why the early agriculture began along the river valleys in Egypt and Mesopotamia


Early agriculture began along the river valleys of Egypt and Mesopotamia because:

The rivers provided reliable water for irrigation and also carried rich soils (silt) and deposited it on riverbanks where farmers planted their crops.

Rivers provided means of transport. People had established settlements along river valleys because Egypt and Mesopotamia are in desert zones. Those people planted crops on the riverbanks.


The factors which favoured the development of the early agriculture in Mesopotamia


Like in Egypt, the following factors favoured the development of early Agriculture in Mesopotamia:

  1. a) Invention of the plough.
  2. b) Introduction of irrigation.
  3. c) Fertile soils (silt) which were deposited along riverbanks.
  4. d) Establishment of permanent settlements.
  5. e) Invention of writing which enabled farmers to keep records.


The impact of the development of the early agriculture in Mesopotamia


Early agriculture in Mesopotamia led to specialisation on other activities such as pottery and weaving. It led to division of labour. Some people became cultivators while others became livestock keepers.

It also led to the introduction of better farming tools and increase in food production.  A class of wealthy people emerged. It contributed to the emergence of urban centres along the Euphrates and Tiger valleys.

There were improved methods of cultivation for example use of the plough. It led to increased trade and also encouraged development of cottage industries. Finally, population increased as a result of increase in food production.

Crops which were domesticated along Tigris and Euphrates River valley in Mesopotamia


The crops which were domesticated were wheat, barley, figs, olives, vegetables and vines. The first crops to be domesticated were wheat and barley. The cultivation of barley and wheat spread to Egypt later.

The invention of the ox-drawn plough helped in the cultivation of large areas of land while the invention of the seed drill made the planting of seeds to be easy.


The Agrarian Revolution in Britain.


Agrarian Revolution is the change in methods of cultivation and livestock rearing (agriculture). Britain was the first country to experience Agrarian Revolution. This change in Britain was brought mainly by the invention and use of machines.

The Agrarian Revolution was also speeded by use of farm inputs for example fertilizers, pesticides and curatives for livestock diseases. This change reduced manual labour in farms in Britain. However, food production increased.


The agricultural practices in Britain before the Agrarian Revolution were:-

i)           Shifting cultivation – land was cultivated for a number of years until the soil got exhausted. It was then abandoned and the owner went to look for another virgin land.

  1. Small scale farming – crops were planted on small plots and there was little harvest.
  • Subsistence farming (peasant farming) – the crops grown were for human consumption and not for sale.
  1. Broadcasting (scattering) of seeds
  2. Strip system or open field system – farmland was split into small plots called strips.
  3. Inter cropping – a number of different crops were planted on the same plot at the same time.
  • Use of simple agricultural implements e.g. hoes and digging sticks

It is important to note that the open field system hindered full utilisation of land because the exhausted land was left to fallow. The road carts used and the footpaths used by people wasted a lot of land.



There was time wastage as people travelled long distances to go and work in their scattered strips. It was also not possible to use machines to prepare the small strips. Livestock rearing was discouraged due to constant disease infections and shortage of cattle feeds during winter.


The factors, which lead to the Agrarian Revolution in Britain


The Agrarian Revolution in Britain was caused by increase in human population which led to high demand for food. The development of new farming tools and machinery for example threshing machines and the seed drill led to enlargement of farms.

Industrial Revolution contributed because industrialisation provided the agricultural sector with inputs and markets. Replacement of open field system by enclosure system enabled farmers to improve their property without being hindered by neighbours.

Development of new methods of breeding livestock increased output while the development of agricultural research contributed to improved soils and crop yields.

Development of scientific methods such as food preservation by means of canning and refrigeration encouraged farmers to increase production. Finally, land consolidation enabled land to be properly utilised because it increased farm sizes and therefore encouraged use of machines.


The Agricultural changes which occurred in Britain during the Agrarian Revolution


The high demand for food in Britain brought about the following agricultural changes:

  1. Land was consolidated and people were forced to fence it.
  2. New methods of farming for example crop rotation, cross-breeding, use of farming machines and use of fertilisers and pesticides were introduced.
  • New crops like potatoes were introduced.
  1. A variety of farm tools were invented for example seed-drills ploughs and threshing machines.
  2. The fallow system of farming was discouraged.
  3. The poor sold their land to the rich and they were left with no farmland.





The effects of Agrarian Revolution in Britain


  1. Food production increased due to the enclosure system, better farming methods and use of machines and this gave rise to a rapid increase in population.
  2. It also led to expansion of local and international trade due to increase in agricultural surpluses.
  3. The use of new improved farming methods led to food security in Britain.
  4. There was diversification of agriculture as a result of introduction of new crops such as potatoes and citrus fruits.
  5. The agricultural research findings led to the development of exotic livestock breeds like Friesian and better farming methods such as crop rotation and use of fertilizers.
  6. There was improved standards of living and high life expectancy due to production of enough food.
  7. The price of the land in Britain went up due to Agrarian Revolution.
  8. It contributed to the improvement of transport and communication facilities.
  9. It also contributed to the emigration of Britons abroad for example to U.S.A. and South Africa.
  10. Agrarian Revolution provided the newly established industries with raw materials and labour.
  11. The poor were displaced by the rich leading to rural-urban migration and hence expansion of urban centres.
  12. Establishment of large scale farming in Britain replaced subsistence farming.
  13. Agrarian Revolution in Britain gave rise to class. There was a class of rich landlords and a class of the poor land less people.

The Agrarian Revolution in U.S.A. before 18th Century.

The British citizens who were displaced after the introduction of the enclosure system in Britain migrated to the USA and introduced new methods of farming.
The immigrants introduced different varieties of crops and animal breeds from Europe. They used slave labour in their farms to work in the cotton, tobacco and maize plantations.
The development of agriculture in USA before 1800 was facilitated by the following factors:
i)           The climate of U.S.A. was suitable for agriculture. Farmers planted cotton, tobacco, wheat, and maize and also kept livestock.
  1. Europeans who migrated into U.S.A. led to population increase and high demand for food. At first they relied on food from Britain.
  • A large number of enterprising Europeans settled in U.S.A. and tried to make a living through agriculture.
  1. Availability of indigenous crops like yams and beans contributed to the development of agriculture in U.S.A.
  2. Rivers in U.S.A. such as river Colorado, Sacramento and Arkansas provided water for irrigation.
  3. Europeans emigrants introduced new methods of farming in U.S.A. such as crop rotation, use of fertilizers and inter breeding.
  • Introduction of new crops promoted development of agriculture.
  • There existed suitable soils for different types of crops.
  1. Slave labour was available to work in the European farms in U.S.A.


The Agricultural practices in U.S.A. before the Agrarian Revolution.

The indigenous inhabitants of USA were the Red Indians. They were subsistence farmers who grew crops such as cotton, yams, beans, potatoes, cassava, tobacco and maize. When the British immigrants arrived in USA they found that the Red Indians were cultivating and applying the following agricultural practices:

  • Shifting cultivation
  • Small scale farming
  • Broadcasting of seeds
  • Use of simple agricultural implements
  • Inter-cropping.




The British immigrants then introduced the new methods of farming which included plantation farming which was a form of large-scale farming.


The factors that led to the Agrarian Revolution in U.S.A.


–        The introduction of the enclosure system in Britain forced the landless to migrate to various parts of USA. Ownership of private land was legalised and this helped to promote agriculture.
  • The introduction of slave labour ensured adequate supply of labour for farming.
  • Farming land was available for cultivating crops such as wheat, tobacco and cotton. Wasteland was also reclaimed.
  • The increased demand for agricultural raw materials by Europeans for use in their industries encouraged development and expansion of agriculture. The textile industries in Britain for example demanded cotton from USA.
  • The USA government recognised individual land ownership. This encouraged settler farming. Farmers were also supported by the government by being provided with aid which enabled them to turn to large scale farming.
  • The land was suitable for different crops such as tobacco, maize, cotton and wheat.
  • The cotton gin was invented in 1793 by Eli Whitney. This led to increase in cotton production especially in southern USA because it separated seeds from fibre, made threads and weaved cloth.
  • Improved transport and communication led to increase in crop production because the produce reached the market in time.
  • The mechanisation of agriculture encouraged establishment of big plantations. For example John Deere invented the steel plough therefore easing cultivation.
  • Agricultural research facilitated the Agrarian Revolution in USA because new varieties were introduced in the area of livestock and crop production.
  • Introduction of new methods of food preservation such as canning and refrigeration encouraged farmers to increase yields because perishable foods could be preserved in the area and be exported.
  • Increase in population created demand for food which contributed to increase in food production and therefore expansion of agriculture to satisfy the internal and external market.
  • The introduction of new methods of controlling animal and plant diseases led to increased production.
  • The division of USA into farming zones enabled crops to be grown where the climate was favourable for each particular crop. Farmers established the corn belt, the cotton belt, the wheat belt and livestock zones.


The effects of the Agrarian Revolution in USA.


As food production increased there was also increase in population. Agrarian Revolution in USA encouraged and promoted export trade with agricultural products. It encouraged and accelerated the trans-atlantic slave trade in a bid to acquire labour for use in plantations.

It also contributed to growth of industries in Europe hence industrial revolution because it provided Europe with raw material for her industries. New and better farming methods such as crop rotation, use of fertilizers and planting in rows were introduced.

Transport and communication was improved through establishment of roads, railways and water transport. Improved seeds and livestock breeds were introduced giving rise to improved agricultural output. The standard of living of the people of USA was improved. Scientific research was highly encouraged in order to come up with better livestock breeds.

Many parts of USA were opened up for farming and for settlements. There was migration of people from rural areas to urban areas leading to expansion of towns. There was an increase in food production and diversification of agriculture through introduction of new crop and animal breeds.

Agrarian Revolution in USA encouraged scientific inventions and discoveries such as the invention of the steel plough and the refrigeration facilities. It encouraged many Europeans to come and settle in USA because land was getting scarce in Europe and many Europeans were becoming landless.


Food Situation in Africa and The Rest of the Third World.


The term “Third World” refers to the developing countries in Africa, South America and Asia. Majority of the third world countries were formerly under colonial rule.

Developing countries are not as industrialised as the developed countries such as Japan, Britain and USA. Almost all developing countries suffer from acute food shortages.





Why many countries in Africa, Asia and South America suffer from acute food shortage


  1. There are unreliable climatic conditions for example some countries experience too much rain or too little rain resulting to floods and drought. For example India has experienced floods several times while African countries lying along the Sahara desert experience drought.



Problems of floods in Africa.


















  1. There is a rapid population growth. Birth rate has increased. This has outstripped the rate of agricultural production therefore making it difficult for the country to produce enough food for the ever growing population.
  2. Africans in particular have placed more emphasis on cash crop production ignoring the importance of subsistence crops. They have even ignored planting drought resistant crops such as cassava, arrow roots, yams and sweet potatoes.
  3. Inadequate transport and communication facilities hinder marketing of agricultural products and even distribution of food.
  4. Political instability brought about by civil strife hinders the development of agriculture. This has been experienced in Uganda, Sudan, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo.






Rebels preparing for a strike.

















  1. Poor storage facilities as well as shortage of storage facilities lead to food wastage. A lot of grains are destroyed by weevils and rats.
  2. Importation of food and dependence on foreign food aid hinder those who strive to improve the agricultural output.
  3. Scarcity of capital makes it difficult for developing countries to mechanise their agricultural sector. Farmers are also unable to purchase farm inputs such as fertilizers and chemicals for controlling pests.
  4. Poor farming methods such as inter-cropping result to low agricultural output. Also many farmers do not apply fertilizers on their farms. As a result they harvest very little.
  5. Natural calamities such as locust and army worm invasion, hailstones and also wild animals such as monkeys reduce yields.
  6. Land tenure system affect food production especially where a few people are land owners and yet they don’t make it into full use.
  7. The high rate of poverty in many countries make people to experience food shortage even when food is available elsewhere because they cannot be able to buy it.
  8. Negative attitudes towards certain foodstuffs have made people to abandon growing these crops. For example in some areas of Kenya Cassava is associated with people who are poor. The rich will not grow it.
  9. Poor economic planning and poor marketing policies contribute to acute food shortages.
  10. Sometimes hoarding and smuggling of food lead to acute shortages. This is because all the food is taken away and the country is left in short of food.
  11. Yields have also been affected by diseases and pests which affect crops. Livestock diseases and pests also kill many farm animals.
  12. There has been an acute shortage of labour due to rural urban migration of people. This has also reduced yields.
  13. HIV/AIDS has caused death and also weakened many able bodied productive people who could engage in farming.
Ways countries with food problems have attempted to solve them.


Countries with food shortages have tried to improve soil fertility through crop-rotation, cross breeding and through use of chemical fertilizers. Research stations have been established to improve food production.

Large scale and small-scale irrigation schemes have been established and idle land is being reclaimed. Swamps have been drained and crop growing has been established.  Diversified agriculture is being encouraged to replace the monoculture economy.

Farmers are provided with financial assistance in form of loans. Marketing facilities have been improved to encourage disposal of surplus food while farmers have been motivated through raising of the prices of food crops from time to time.  Through research, chemicals to control pests and plant diseases have been introduced.

Many countries are engaged on consolidating land to encourage individual land tenure. Farmers are from time to time encouraged to grow draught resistant crops such as yams, sweet potatoes, onions and cassava. At the same time extension services have been provided to farmers.

The African, Asian and South America leaders as well as the international community members are encouraging political stability in order to encourage investment in agriculture and increase in agricultural yields.

Finally, transport and communication is being improved through establishment of rural access roads to enable transportation of foodstuffs.





The face of hunger in Africa.





























The impact of acute food shortages in Africa.


  1. Death rate has increased especially in famine stricken areas.
  2. Dependency on imported food has increased.
  • Food prices rise sharply due to high demands and shortages.
  1. Famine stricken people blame their government when they fail to get relief food. This attitude may cause civil unrest and national political instability.
  2. Famine causes people to wonder from place to place looking for food leading to social interactions especially by people who meet in the market places.
  3. There is a very high degree of dependency on foreign aid and grants from donor countries.
  • There is migration of people from drought and famine striken areas to town and to other places where food can be obtained.
  • There are rapid outbreaks of deficiency diseases.
  1. It encourages increase in crime as social evils such robbery and prostitution.
  2. Acute food shortages breed hatred between those who are rich and the poor.
  3. In areas with acute food shortages, malnutrition has retarded normal   growth of children and caused high child mortality.



Review Questions.


  1. What factors enabled early agriculture to develop?
  2. Describe the development of the early agriculture in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
  3. What were the benefits of the domestication of animals and plants to the early man?
  4. Identify the impact of the development of early agriculture in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
  5. How did the Agrarian Revolution in Britain contribute to the Agrarian Revolution in USA?
  6. a) Explain the causes of food shortages in the developing countries.
  7. b) How have the governments concerned tried to rectify the problems of food shortages in the developing countries?








Kenya communities can be classified into three linguistic groups namely the Bantu, the Nilotes and the Cushites. They migrated into Kenya and came into contact with the earliest inhabitants who were of the Khoisan stock.



Communities of Kenya.































Classification of Kenya communities.


  1. a) Bantu

The term ‘Bantus’ refers to people who speak related languages. These people call Man ‘Mtu’ and their origin is Zaire (formerly known as Congo).

From their original homeland, they migrated slowly eastwards until they reached and settled in Kenya. The Bantu may be split into two categories:

  1. i) The Eastern Kenya Bantu

This category includes the Akamba, Kikuyu, Ameru, Embu, Taita, Giriama, Kombe, Chonyi, Digo, Rabai, Jibana, Pokomo, Duruma, Kauma and Ribe.

From Congo forest they reached Mt. Kilimanjaro and moved to Taita hills where they dispersed in different directions. Those who went and settled at Shungwaya were later forced to migrate into the interior of Kenya following the course of river Tana by the Oromo. A few such as the Mijikenda were left at the Coast.

  1. ii) The Western Kenya Bantu

This category includes the Abagusii, Abaluhyia, Abakuria, Abasuba and the Abakhene. This group of people settled in western Kenya. Some like the Abagusii entered Kenya from Uganda.

  1. b) Nilotes

The Nilotes migrated into Kenya from Sudan but they passed through Uganda.

They may be split into three categories:


  1. i) The River-Lake Nilotes

This category includes the Luo who live on the shores of Lake Victoria. They migrated from south-eastern Sudan in the Bahrar – el -Ghazal region and entered Uganda. Later they left Uganda and moved into Kenya.

  1. ii) The Plain Nilotes

This category includes Samburu, Maasai, Karamojong, Teso and Turkana. They entered Kenya from Southern Ethiopia and passed along the shores of Lake Turkana.

iii) The Highland Nilotes

This category includes the Nandi, Keiyo, Tugen, Marakwet and Kipsigis. They migrated from North-West of Lake Turkana in Ethiopia.




  1. c) Cushites

The Cushites entered Kenya from the North Eastern direction. They were coming from the horn of Africa which was their original homeland.

The Cushites may be split into two categories:

  1. i) The Eastern Cushites

This category includes the Oromo, Somali, Rendile, Gabbra, Shangilla and Burji.

  1. ii) The Southern Cushites

These migrated into Kenya from the Ethiopian Highlands. They went southwards and settled between Kenya and Northern Tanzania.

This category includes the Sanye, Dahallo and Boni living at the mouth of River Tana.


The causes and effects of the migration of the Bantu communities (e.g. Kikuyu, Kamba, Meru and the Mijikenda)


  1. a) Causes of migration
  • Over population
  • Civil wars or internal wars
  • External attacks
  • Need to move for adventure
  • Need for better pastures for their livestock
  • Draught and famine
  • Need for cultivable land
  • Outbreaks of diseases or epidemics
  • Knowledge of iron smelting and making of superior iron weapons encouraged the Bantu people to migrate


  1. b) Effects of migration

There was assimilation of communities the Bantu people came across e.g. the Southern Cushites were assimilated by the Bantu who came into contact with them. The Kikuyu assimilated the Athi, Dorobo and Gumba.

Intermarriages with other communities occurred. For instance, the Kikuyu intermarried with the Kamba and Maasai.

New political institutions developed for instance the institution of ‘Muthamaki’ among the Kikuyu. Bantu communities borrowed the cultural practices of the people they came across. The Kikuyu for example borrowed the cultural practices like circumcision of the Gumba and the Athi. They also borrowed the age-set system.

Migration accelerated wars with other communities. Some communities were displaced after being conquered and made to disperse. The Bantu communities interacted with people of other linguistic groups through trade, raids and marriages.

There was enrichment of language through word borrowing. Some Bantu communities were forced to change their economic way of life for example to change from cultivators to pastoralists.


Why the Nilotic communities migrated from the Sudan into Kenya.


  • Due to epidemics which attacked people and animals.
  • Due to drought and famine.
  • Due to internal or civil wars.
  • Due to external attacks
  • Due to love for adventure
  • Due to need to look for pastures for their animals.
  • Due to over population
  • Due to the need to look for cultivable land by communities who farmed.
  • Due to family and clan quarrels.


The effects of the migration of the Nilotes


  1. There was assimilation of communities.
  2. There was change in the economic activities of some communities for example the Luo became fishermen.
  3. There were inter marriages with other communities especially their neighbours for example the Abagusii and the Abaluhyia.
  4. There was interaction with communities the Nilotes came across.
  5. There was conquest and displacement of some communities.
  6. Wars increased between communities.
  7. There was borrowing of cultural practices by the people who came into contact with the Nilotes.
  8. Some communities developed new political institutions for example ‘Oloiboni’ by the Maasai and the institution of ‘Orkoyiot’ by the Nandi.
  9. There was enrichment of language through word borrowing.







Migration and settlement of the people of Kenya.






















Reasons for the migration of the Cushites.


The reasons why the Cushites migrated were need for pastures for their livestock, search for fertile land for cultivation, love for adventure, outbreak of diseases, external attacks, internal wars and clan feuds, over population and natural calamities such as drought and famine.


The effects of the migration of the Cushites.


The Cushites came into contact with other communities and there was cultural exchange. There was language enrichment as Cushites interacted with others. They assimilated other weaker communities. There was population increase after settling in better lands. Also there was expansion of trade.

There was interaction through trade, intermarriage and wars. The wars increased as the Cushites tried to acquire better pastures for their livestock. The Cushites for example the Oromo conquered and displaced the communities they came across in the process of migration. For instance, they dispersed the Bantu Communities who had settled at Shungwaya.


Review Questions.


  1. How did the Kenya communities interact during their migrations and settlements?
  2. Describe the migration of the:
  3. Cushites
  4. Bantu
  5. Nilotes
  6. Identify the impact of the migrations of the following:
  7. Bantu
  8. Nilotes
  9. Cushites
  10. Describe the effects of the interactions of the Agikuyu and the people they came into contact with during migration.
  11. Describe the course and effects of the migration of the Luo.
  12. Why did the Bantu migrate from Shungwaya?







The people of Kenya in the 19th century were of different linguistic groups comprising the Bantu, the Nilotes and the Cushites. The environment played a great role in determining their social, economic and political aspects which varied from one ethnic group to the other.


The Social, Economic and political organisation of the Agikuyu in the 19th century


Social organisation

The Kikuyu were organised into clans. There were nine clans. Some of them were Anjiru, Ambui, Acera, Angari, Angeci and Airimu. The family was an important social political unit because it acted as the basis of the Kikuyu community. Above the family was the “mbari” or sub-clan under “Muramati” or caretaker.

The Kikuyu had age set which was acquired from the Gumba. They conducted birth and marriage ceremony. Men cleared the land, looked after the live stock and milked while women cultivated. The Kikuyu initiated (circumcised) boys and girls to adult hood. They worshiped a God they called ‘Ngai’ who lived on Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga).

The Kikuyu offered sacrifices to their God for thanks giving in sacred places. They slaughtered goats and sheep as sacrifice. They had medicinemen, rain makers and prophets. A medicineman was known as “Mundu Mugo” and he cured diseases. They also believed in ancestral spirits. Finally they paid dowry in form of cattle, sheep and goats.


Economic Organisation

The Agikuyu grew crops such as millet, sorghum, arrow roots and yams. They traded with their neighbours such as the Maasai and the Akamba. They smelted iron for making hoes and axes and also weaved and practiced basketry as well as pottery.

The Agikuyu hunted and gathered to substitute their diet. They kept beehives and harvested honey. Lastly, they kept livestock for example cattle, sheep and goats.




Political Organisation:

The Kikuyu were organised into clans-each made up of sub-clans called “Mbari”. They were politically organised into age –set systems composed of boys who were initiated. The Kikuyu community was decentralised and it had the institution of the ‘Muramati’ (clan leader). ‘Muramati’ co-ordinated all the activities of the sub-clan.

There were warriors who defended the community. The Kikuyu had a council of elders (KIAMA) which maintained law and order and made final decisions. It presided over religious functions. Cases were handled by ‘Kiama’ composed of individual who acted as judges.




Kikuyu and Meru settlements.



















The Social, Economic and Political organisation of the Ameru in the 19th century


Social organisation.

The Ameru who comprised the Chuka, Tharaka, Mwimbi, Muthambi, Imenti, Tigania and Igembe were organised into clans. The family was an important social institution. They were also organised into age-set systems (Nthuke/Irua) comprising of age mates.




The Ameru conducted initiation ceremonies in form of circumcision. Both Girls and boys were circumcised. They worshiped God under the sacred Fig (Mugumo) trees and they also performed sacrifices to their God.

The Ameru had medicinemen, rainmakers, fortune-tellers and prophets. They were ruled by a council of elders who also presided over religious ceremonies.


Economic organisation.

The Ameru grew crops such as millet and sorghum. They kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats and they hunted wild animals and gathered roots and fruits.

Some Ameru traded with their neighbours such as the Akamba, Mbere and Embu. They were engaged in traditional industries such as pottery, basketry, weaving, cloth making and iron smelting which enabled them to make knives, spears, arrow heads and iron hoes. Finally, they kept beehives and harvested honey.


Political organisation.

They were ruled by councils of elders called “Njuri Nceke” and they were organised into clans made up of several families which were related. There were age-set systems comprised of men who had been initiated into adult hood. There were warriors composed of strong circumcised men who defended the community in times of problems.

The Ameru were decentralised as there were different independent groups such as the Tharaka, Tigania, Mwimbi, Imenti, Igembe, Chuka, Igoji and Muthambi. Religious leaders played an important role in the administration of the Ameru and also foretold the future.


The social, economic and political organisation of the Akamba in the 19th Century.


Social organisation

The Akamba were organised into clans made up of several related families. They had age-groups and age-set system. They practiced circumcision as an initiation rite.

They believed in witchcraft and had medicinemen and diviners. The Akamba conducted traditional ceremonies. Finally, they worshipped God and performed sacrifices to him.





Economic organisation

Some Akamba practiced crop cultivation and planted sorghum, millet, potatoes and beans while others kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats. The Akamba were skilled hunters and they also gathered fruits and roots to substitute their diet.

They traded with the Kikuyu, Taita, Mijikenda and later with the coastal people. The Akamba sold honey, arrow poison and tobacco to them while they bought beads and cloth from the coast and also ivory and foodstuff from the interior communities like the Samburu and Mbeere respectively. They smelted iron and made spears, arrow-heads, hoes, knives, cattle bells and jingles.

The Akamba were efficient beekeepers and they harvested a lot of honey. They were engaged in traditional industries where they manufactured pots, baskets, mats, stools and shields.

Those who lived close to river Tana did some fishing. They made carvings from wood and sold them to the people in exchange for cloth, snuff boxes and beads.


Political organisation

Politically the Akamba were organised into clans made up of several related families. They had councils of elders each entitled to “Nzama Sya Utui”.

They practiced the age-set system and they were ranked in age grades such as junior elders, medium elders, full elders and senior elders. The Akamba were decentralised. Akamba warriors defended the community. Judgement of cases was done by the council of elders.


How the Abagusii were organised socially, economically and politically.


Social Organisation

The Abagusii were organised into clans. Their social organisation was based on the extended family whose members claimed to have a common ancestor. They conducted initiation ceremonies in form of circumcision for boys and clitoridectomy for girls. Polygamy was a very common social practice among the Abagusii.

The Abagusii worshipped one supreme God called ‘Engoro’. They prayed through ancestral spirits. The Abagusii sacrificed to their God, Engoro who they regarded as the creator of the universe. They had medicinemen, rain makers and prophets. Lastly, they also conducted ceremonies marking birth, initiation and death.




Economic organisation.

The Abagusii were pastoralists and they kept cattle, sheep and goats. They cultivated crops such as millet, sorghum, pumpkins, potatoes and beans. Men hunted wild game while women gathered wild fruits and roots.

They conducted trade with their neighbours such as the Luo and the Luhyia. Finally, they were engaged in traditional industries such as making stone curvings and iron hoes for cultivation.


Political organisation.

The Abagusii were politically organised into clans made up of related families and each clan was ruled by “Omogambi”. They had age-set systems and councils of elders which led the clans in wars and judged cases.

The Abagusii were politically decentralised. They had warriors who defended their territory from the enemies.


The social, economic and political organisation of the Mijikenda in the 19th Century.


Social organisation.

The social organisation of the Mijikenda was based on the clan. They practiced the age-set system. Initiation of boys took place after every five years. The elders were the clan leaders. Inter marriages between Kayas existed.

There was division of labour. Children looked after cattle, sheep and goats while young men built houses and cattle sheds, hunted and cleared the bush for cultivation.

The Mijikenda worshipped God and offered sacrifices. They conducted ceremonies during the time of birth, initiation and marriage.


Economic activities.

The Mijikenda fished in the Indian Ocean. They kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats and hunted and gathered fruits, honey and vegetables. They were engaged in traditional industries such as weaving and basketry.

The Mijikenda grew crops such as millet and also traded with the Swahilis and the people of the interior such as the Akamba.


Political organisation

The Mijikenda political set up was under the control of the clan. There were councils of elders who sorted out all matters concerning the ‘Kayas’.

Age-set system existed. The Mijikenda had warriors who defended their territory and ensured that there was law and order. Cases were judged by the council of elders.

The Social, economic, and political organisation of the Luo in the 19th Century.


Social organisation

The Luo were organised into clans composed of families with a common ancestor. The clans were grouped into larger territorial units called ‘Gweng’ which were occupied by foreign lineages entitled ‘Joka’ and clansmen. A council of elders existed which presided over religious ceremonies.

The Luo worshipped a God called Nyasaye through their ancestral spirits. This was conducted in the sacred places. Priests existed who linked the people with the ancestral spirits. They had diviners who interpreted God’s messages to the people. The Luo sacrificed for thanks giving and for appeasing their God.

They initiated boys and girls into adulthood by removing their six lower teeth. They also prepared them for marriage. Finally, the Luo conducted other ceremonies and celebrations such as burial ceremonies, naming, beer drinking and wrestling.


Economic organisation

The Luo cultivated crops such as beans, sweet potatoes, peas, millet, groundnuts and sorghum. They hunted wild animals and collected fruits, vegetables and roots. The Luo businessmen traded with their neighbours for example Abaluhyia, Abagusii, Nandi and Kipsigis.

The Luo smelted iron and made iron tools and also engaged themselves in the traditional industries such as pottery, basketry and cloth making. They fished in Lake Victoria and in the rivers passing through their territory e.g. Rivers Sondu, Nzoia, Nyando, Kuja and Yala.


The political organisation

The Luo were politically organised into clans and they were decentralised. The clans were made up of families headed by “Jaduong”. Several clans merged together formed a ‘gweng’. There existed a council of elders made up of clan heads and other remarkable elders. Related clans formed alliances and defended their territory. Each Luo alliance (Oganda) had a political leader entitled Ruoth. There were individual clan councils, doho, controlled by Ladito.

Also there was a council called Buch Piny made up of elders who advised the Ruoth for example the military leader, Osumba Mirwayi. The council of elders was made up of clan heads and other remarkable elders. It solved internal disputes over land, declared war and performed other political and religious functions.

Doho was a smaller council which operated under smaller regional sub-divisions. There were warriors referred to as Thuondi who raided the neighbouring communities.


The social, economic and political organisation of the Nandi in the 19th century


Social organisation

The Nandi were organised according to totemic clans. The house was an important social unit and several houses made a family. The Nandi practiced initiation ceremonies like circumcision of boys during adolescence at five years intervals. They had age-set and age-grades. The age sets were cyclic.

The Nandi people worshipped a supreme God and sacrificed to Him. This God was entitled Asis. They had medicine men, prophets and rain makers. The Orkoyiot acted as a spiritual leader although he was also a political leader. He foretold the future and also adviced the council of elders.


Economic activities

The Nandi practiced mixed farming because they grew crops and kept livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats. They smelted iron and made iron tools and weapons such as spears, cattle bells and hoes.

The Nandi traded with their neighbours such as the Luhyia, Maasai and the Luo. They were engaged in traditional industries such as weaving, basketry and pottery. Some Nandi people hunted and gathered roots and fruits as well as vegetables. A few others harvested honey because they kept beehives.


Political organisation

The Nandi were organised into clans made up of several families. Their government was decentralised. They had councils of elders who solved major disputes. The Nandi had age-set systems. They had well trained warriors who defended their territory. The age-grade system gave rise to the warrior groups.

The Nandi introduced the institution of Orkoyiot in the 19th century which helped in uniting the people. Towards the close of the 19th century the Nandi had also developed a society based on semi independent units known as Bororoisiek/Bororiet. Each was under a council of elders.

The Nandi had political units each made up of several clans and being controlled by the council they called Kok. The Kok judged cases and settled disputes.



The social, economic and political organisation of the Maasai in the 19th c.


Social organisation

The Maasai were organised into clans and they had age-set systems.  They conducted initiation ceremonies which promoted boys and warriors to the next age-set. After initiation one of them became “Olaiguanani”, or leader and spokesman. The Masaai worshipped a God called “Enkai”. They sent prayers to him through Oloiboni. Prayers were offered in shrines.

They sacrificed to their God under sacred trees. The Maasai lived in Manyattas and their ways of life were based on preservation of cattle and grazing lands. They had had ritual experts and diviners. Lastly, the Maasai women and children constituted the lowest members of the society.


Economic organisation

The Maasai were predominantly a pastoral community although the Kwavi (Iloikop) section of the Maasai cultivated and grew millet and sorghum. The Purko section of the Maasai kept cattle and never cultivated crops. They traded with their neighbours such as the Luo, Nandi, Kikuyu and the Kamba people and hunted wild animals for meat and also gathered roots and fruits for food and medicine extracted from leaves, roots and stems of trees.

The Maasai smelted iron and made iron tools such as knives, daggers, spears and arrow-heads. They were engaged in traditional industries which included basketry and weaving. They also organised raids for cattle from neighbours especially during droughts. The Maasai women did supportive duties such as milking cows and building huts with mud.


Political organisation

The Maasai were politically organised into clans which were under the administration of the councils of elders. They did not have a centralised system of government because they existed in sub-tribal sections e.g. Purko, Kwavi, Sampur. Each sub-tribal section of the Maasai was independent of the other. The Maasai were under control of ritual experts entitled Oloibon.

Succession to leadership among the Maasai was considered to be hereditary. This implies that after the death of the Oloibon, one of his sons was to take over control of the government.

The Maasai men were grouped into age-sets and age-groups. There existed a strong army composed of warriors (Morans) who defended the Maasai territory and also expanded it through conquest. There were senior warriors who debated the major political issues of their community. Eunoto ceremony marked the graduation of Morans into junior elders. Finally, there were elders who had retired from public life and they were now consulted to help solve difficult political issues.

The social, economic and political organisation of the Somali.


Social Organisation.

The Somali believed in the existence of God who was all powerful and who controlled everybody’s destiny. They conducted prayers to their God and sacrificed to him when need arose. The Somali later got converted into Islam through interaction with the Muslim immigrants. From the time they adopted Islam, they embraced Muslim culture.

The Somali were socially organised into clans made up of related families. They conducted initiation of boys and then grouped them into age-sets.

Economic organisation

The Somali kept livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys as well as camels. Those who lived near wells and rivers practiced a bit of cultivation.

They also smelted iron and made iron tools and weapons e.g. swords. The Somali hunted wild animals and gathered birds’ eggs. They traded with their neighbours such as the Oromo.


Political organisation

The Somali were politically organised into clans whose members traced their origin back to a common ancestor. Each of the Somali clans was headed by a council of elders.  The Somali were controlled by an overall leader known as the Sultan. The Somali clans joined together to face an enemy in times of crisis.

There were age-sets which provided the community with warriors. The senior age-sets retired from active public life and were settled in different territories.


The social, economic and political organisation of the Boran in 19th century.


Social organisation

The Boran is one of the Oromo speaking communities in Kenya today. The Boran people were socially organised into clans each made of related families. They had age-groups and age-sets which integrated the Boran community by facilitating co-operation among all the members of the community.

The Boran believed in the existence of one God. The Oromo name for their God was Wak. At first the Boran were believers in traditional religion but by the end of the 19th century many of them had been converted to Islam.




Economic organisation

The Boran were pastoralist and they kept sheep, cattle, goats and camels. They hunted elephants for ivory and sold them to the Swahili traders and other trading partners such as the Mijikenda and the Pokomo.

Boran women collected and gathered a variety of items such as insects, roots and honey. The Boran were also engaged in simple industry for instance cloth making from animal skins and pottery. Some cultivated grains like peas, beans, pepper and vegetables.


Political organisation           

The Boran like other Cushites were organised into clans and each of the clans was made up of related families. They had councils of elders who headed clans and presided over assemblies as well as acting as ritual experts.

The council of elders settled disputes, maintained law and order and their decisions were final. They had age-set system which provided them with warriors who defended their territory from external attacks.

The Boran clans were autonomous except in times of disaster when they formed alliances to fight against a common enemy Finally, the Boran were politically decentralised.



Review Questions.


  1. Identify the economic organisation of each of the following during the colonial period:
  2. Bantu communities
  3. Cushites
  4. Nilotes
  5. Describe the political organisation of the following:
  6. i) Luo
  7. ii) Akamba

iii) Abagusii

  1. What was the role of the council of elders among the Ameru.
  2. Why was the institution of the Orkoiyot important among the Nandi.
  3. Discuss the social organisation of the following:
  4. i) Kikuyu
  5. Boran
  • Maasai
  1. What problems did the migrating communities encounter during the pre-colonial period?








The early visitors to the Kenya Coast before the 15th century were Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese and Arabs. The main reason of the coming of these early visitors was to trade with the people of the East African coast.

The commodities traders obtained from the interior of East Africa and exported to the outside world (e.g. from present day Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) were Ivory, Rhinocerous horns, Leopard skins and skins from many other animals, Ostrich feathers, Copper, Slaves, Tortoise shells, Gold and Emberglis.

The commodities the people of East Africa obtain from the outside world (e.g. from India, China, Arabia, Egypt) were Spices, Cowrie shells, Drugs, Swords/daggers, Salt, Porcelain cups and bowls , Glassware, Rugs and carpets, Beads, Cloth, Sugar and Mats.


The Indian Ocean trade up to 1500 AD





















The evidence which may clarify that early visitors reached the Kenya coast.


There has been a lot of remains of the Greek and Chinese coins along the East African coast especially in towns such as Malindi, Mombasa. Lamu, Gedi and Jumba la Mtwana which declined. These have been collected and some of them preserved and displayed in the Fort Jesus museum. There are also fragments of Chinese pottery.  These include broken Chinese cups, jars and bowls made of porcelain.

Archaeological findings along the coast reveal that there were foreigners who visited towns along the coast and they traded with people in those towns. Evidence is the remains of item escavated. There are some written documents, which mention the coast of East Africa, for instance the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea and Geography written by Ptelomy.

The Arabs have lived along the East African coast for a long period. This is clear and undoubted evidence that early visitors came to the East African coast up to the 19th century.


Reasons why trade developed between the East African coast and Asia before the 19th century


Trade developed between the East African coast and Asia before the 19th century due to availability of the goods traders from both sides needed. Goods from East Africa were highly demanded in Asia while there was a high demand of Asian goods in East Africa. The monsoon winds enabled the traders to travel by the use of dhows.

There was a relative political stability of the Kenyan coastal city states because rulers such as Seyyid Said ensured that peace prevailed and that traders were secure. The East African coast was easily accessible by sea due to existence of natural harbours such as the old Mombasa harbour and Malindi harbour where dhows could anchor.

The trade developed also due to establishment of strong trade links between East Africa and Asia.


How the trade between the East African coast and the outside world was organised before 1500.


The coastal Arab and Swahilis obtained trade commodities from the interior communities such as the Akamba, Baganda, Yao and the Nyamwezi. The trading commodities were like copper, gold, ivory, leopard skins, rhino horns, tortoise shells and ostrich feathers.

The coastal Arab and Swahilis exchanged the commodities by giving African traders items such as Beads, sugar, salt, cloth, glassware, daggers, cowrie shells and porcelain cups.  The form of exchange was barter.

The Arab traders either transported the items across the Indian Ocean themselves or sold them to other Asian traders who were mainly Chinese, Greeks, Indians or fellow Arabs. These traders used dhows which sailed to E. Africa between November and April and to Asia between June and October.



The East Coast traders.


































Why some Arabs migrated from Arabia to the East African coast


Some Arabs came to trade with the people along the East African coast. Others came to trade with the people of East Africa.

Some Arabs came as refugees. They were escaping the political and religious persecutions in Arabia after the death of Prophet Mohammed. There are some who came to the East African coast to establish settlements. Some came for adventure. A few came to explore the East African coast.


The impact of the Indian Ocean trade on the people of East Africa

East African coastal towns.



The Indian Ocean trade took place for a long period along the East African coast. As a result of this towns were established along the East African coast such as Malindi, Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi and Gedi.

There was intermarriage between the foreigners such as Arabs and different African communities at the coast. This was promoted by the socialisation in the towns. The East African people adopted Asiatic architecture for example they began building rectangular stone houses.

The Indian Ocean trade led to the spread of Islamic culture along the Kenyan coast. For instance, coastal people began wearing Arabic dress, building mosques, and being converted into Islam. It led to the spread of Kiswahili language. By 1500 it had become the main language of the coast. New crops were introduced for instance rice and coconut. It stimulated commercial activities between different communities in the interior for example trade between the Akamba and the Mijikenda also trade between the Baganda in Uganda and the Nyamwezi in Tanzania.

The Arabs were able to control the East African coast and use Islamic law in their administration. The trade led to the emergence of a class of prosperous traders who controlled trade.

The Indian Ocean trade also led to the development of the East African slave trade. African inhabitants acquired foreign goods e.g. cloth, beads and glassware from traders. Trade routes developed e.g. the one from Mombasa to Ukambani, and one from Bagamoyo to Nyamwezi land and going North to Buganda. Many African people suffered due to slave trade. Many others died.

The Indian Ocean trade stimulated European interest on East African coast which eventually led to the colonisation of East Africa. The East African coast became known to the outside world and it also strengthened ties with India and the far East.


How slave traders were obtaining slaves in East Africa during the slave trade.

Slave merchants were exchanging slaves with other goods like cloth, beads and guns.

They were kidnapping free men and selling them as slaves. Slave traders were conducting raids to capture slaves. This was very common with the Yao and the Nyamwezi communities in Tanzania.

Slave traders were also organising intercommunity wars and the community which was defeated had the war captives sold as slaves. Criminals were being sold by rulers and this was regarded as punishment for law breakers. Children were being enticed with sweets and then captured. After being captured they were sent to the slave market in Zanzibar for sale.


The slave market in Zanzibar.

















The main East African trade routes of the 19th century.



The effects of the East African slave trade.


The East African slave trade was mainly rampant in the 19th century and it left the region very different from the way it was before. Slave raids resulted to death of many innocent Africans. A lot of property was destroyed by being burnt during slave raids.

There was a lot of suffering by those children and women whose families were  broken. Slave trade settlements were established at Bagamoyo and Frere town near Mombasa.

Some communities which depended on slave trade expanded. Such communities were the Nyamwezi and the Yao in Tanzania. It encouraged development of trade merchants such as Tippu Tip, Msiri and Kivoi.  East Africa was depopulated as a result of slave trade. It opened the interior for trade with other items such as ivory in exchange for beads, cloth and firearms.

Slave trade contributed to the spread of Islam and Kiswahili language in the interior. African traditional industries such as pottery, weaving and iron smelting were abandoned due to constant raids. African communities who were raided and their families broken were forced to free and this affected African cultures.


Reasons why the Portuguese came to the East African coast.


The Portuguese came to conquer the Arabs who had attacked and conquered th Christians in Spain and Portugal and they also wished to spread Christianity along the East African coast. They wanted to look for a legendary Prester John, who was believed to be living in Ethiopia and who could assist them to conquer Arabs.

The Portuguese wanted to trade with the coastal traders. Vasco da Gama landed at Malindi to be provided with a guide who would show him the way to India. Others like Alfonzo de Almeida came to conquer the coastal towns and acquire the wealth of those prosperous towns. Some came to settle along the coast in town such as Malindi and Mombasa. The Portuguese for example built and settled in Fort Jesus in Mombasa.


Why the Portuguese developed interest on the East African coast after 1550.


  1. East Africa provided bases for Portuguese ships and troops.
  2. To levy tributes (taxes) from the wealthy coastal merchants.
  • To look for ways and means of controlling the Indian Ocean trade.
  1. To capture the Sofala gold trade.
  2. To take control of the East coast in order to use it as a strategic base as they controlled all trade to Europe.
  3. To prevent the Turks and the Egyptians from acquiring support from the East coast in case of war with the Portuguese.
  • The East coast of Africa provided natural harbours where Portuguese ships could easily anchor before proceeding to India.
  • The climate of the East coast of Africa was conducive to the Portuguese men and they could also obtain fresh water and food before they continued their journey to India.


The Portuguese and Arab sea routes.
































The Portuguese conquest of the East Coast of Africa up to 1510.


Fransisco d’Almeida

Alvares Pedro Cabral led an expedition in 1500 to capture Sofala but failed. In 1502 Vasco da Gama led an expedition which resulted to the conquest of Kilwa.

In 1503, Ruy Lourenco Ravasco led an expedition against Zanzibar which he conquered and forced to pay tribute. In 1505, Fransisco de Almeida led an expedition of 20 ships and 1500 soldiers which conquered Kilwa, Mombasa and Sofala. Brava attempted to resist but it was rooted and then burnt.

In 1506 Pate and the East coast was now under the control of the



It is important to note that – The Portuguese after conquering the Arabs began establishing their rule which lasted for 200 years. The Portuguese headquarters along the East Coast were Mozambique and Mombasa. Each of these headquarters was under a Captain who was answerable to the ‘Viceroy’ stationed at Goa in India. The duties of the captain were:

  1. To collect tribute from the local rulers.
  2. To suppress resistance or rebellion.
  • To supervise the ruling families in the city states.
  1. To impose custom duties on import and exports.
  2. To represent the Viceroy on the East coast of Africa.











Reasons why the Portuguese were able to conquer the Kenya coast easily


The Portuguese took a short time to conquer the East Coast of Africa after Vasco da Gama’s visit on his way to India. The reasons for his success were as follows:

  1. The city states which resisted were severely punished so as to discourage others from resisting.
  2. The Wazimba who were cannibals (they ate people) assisted the Portuguese to conquer the Arabs so that they could feed on their flesh.
  3. The Portuguese frequently organised and carried out surprise attacks on Arab settlements.
  4. The ruler (Sultan) of Malindi collaborated with the Portuguese and helped them to fight fellow city states.
  5. The coastal city states were disunited.
  6. The Portuguese were better militarily trained and equipped. They used very powerful guns and cannons.
  7. The natural harbours in Mombasa and Malindi provided the Portuguese with bases for their ships and troops.
  8. The Portuguese constantly acquired reinforcement from their mother country or from their base in Goa in India.
  9. The Portuguese troops fought with determination with the aim of establishing a Portuguese empire in the East.
  10. The Portuguese used strong and superior ships compared with the Arab dhows which were driven by wind.


Why the Portuguese rule and power along the coast declined


The rivals of the Portuguese during the period they controlled the East African coast were the Egyptians, the British Turks, Persians, Oman Arabs and the East African Coastal Arabs.

There was intense rivalry from the British and the Dutch. The coast was invaded by Muslim nations such as Oman and Turkey. The city states organised constant rebellions against the Portuguese. The Portuguese administrators were corrupt and inefficient.

The people of Malindi refused to support the Portuguese because the Portuguese authority had mistreated them. The Portuguese never at any time united with coastal inhabitants to develop the coast. Instead the inhabitants were always suspicious of the Portuguese who also never trusted them. Revenue from gold declined. The Portuguese were also affected by the decline of the Indian Ocean trade because it was the main source of income for maintaining their empire.

Portugal was weakened by its union with Spain. It was annexed by Spain between 1590 and 1640. Portugal was also too small to provide enough soldiers and administrators. For this reason, Portuguese soldiers were defeated and driven out of Fort Jesus by the Oman Arabs after a siege for 33 months.


Fort Jesus.























The impact of the Portuguese administration on the coast of East Africa


Positive impact

  1. The Portuguese introduced new crops such as sweet potatoes, ground nuts, cassava, maize, paw paws and pineapples.
  2. The Portuguese built Fort Jesus which is today used as a museum.
  3. The Portuguese introduced the use of birds droppings called “Guano” as a way of increasing soil fertility. They also introduced crop rotation.
  4. The Portuguese words contributed to Kiswahili language e.g. the word ‘mvinyo’.
  5. The Portuguese architecture was borrowed by coastal inhabitants.
  6. The Portuguese directly linked the Kenya coast with India.
  7. The Portuguese Christians tried to introduce Christianity to the coastal dwellers although they failed totally.

Negative impact.

  1. Frequent attacks and wars between the Portuguese and the coastal inhabitants led to loss of lives of many people.
  2. Property was destroyed as the Portuguese burnt the coastal towns to punish rebels.
  3. Traditional industries declined along the coast.
  4. Coastal towns declined. Some for instance Gedi and Jumba La Mtwana never recovered even after the Portuguese power declined
  5. The Portuguese affected the culture of the coastal people.
  6. The economic development of the coast was retarded due to destruction of towns, burning of crops and rooting by Portuguese.
  7. Slave trade was intensified as a result of acquisition of firearms.
  8. The coastal people suffered a lot due to frequent attacks by the Portuguese.
  9. Hatred developed between the coastal people and the Portuguese and also between the coastal city states.
  10. The Portuguese introduced dangerous weapons e.g. guns.


How Seyyid Said’s rule encouraged development of plantation agriculture on the East African coast


Seyyid Said made Zanzibar his capital in 1840 and from there he controlled the East coast towns and the Indian ocean trade which was an international trade. Having established political control over coastal city states, Seyyid Said appointed governors (Liwalis) to control the city states on his behalf.

The Oman Arabs settled along the East African coast and began developing grain plantations around Malindi and Takaungu and also coconut plantations around Mombasa. Slave labour was used to work in the plantations. This practice therefore became the major cause of increased slave trade in East Africa in the 19th century.

Seyyid Said encouraged more and more wealthy Arab and Swahili settlers to acquire land around Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu and establish more plantatons. The food produced was sold in Oman as well as in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba which were mainly growing cloves.

When Seyyid Said signed the Hammerton Treaty in 1845 and forbid export of slaves from Africa, the supply of slave labour on the coastal plantations increased. This was followed by the production of more rice, maize, millet and beans than ever before such that by 1870 the Kenyan coast had become the granary of East Africa.




The factors which enabled Seyyid Said to establish the Oman rule on the East African coast


The Portuguese were driven out of Fort Jesus by the Oman Arabs who then replaced them as the new rulers. Seyyid Said appointed governors (Liwali) to help him administer Oman from 1806 to 1840. In 1840 Seyyid Said transferred his capital to Zanzibar and he was able to rule the coast from close quarters.

Seyyid Said overcame the rebellious Mazrui governors before he transferred to establish his capital in Zanzibar.


Note that – Seyyid Said chose Zanzibar to be his capital because:

  1. It had a good climate for crop growing.
  2. It had a deep natural harbour where ships could anchor.
  • Zanzibar had fresh water.
  1. It had fertile soils for cultivation.
  2. It was close to the coast where he ruled and strategically placed.
  3. Zanzibar was convenient for trade with the mainland.
  • Zanzibar had supported the efforts of Seyyid Said to control the East African coast.


The impact of the Oman rule on the East African coast


  1. Establishment of the Oman rule led to the establishment of clove plantations in Zanzibar and Pemba.
  2. It led to the development of slave trade at the coast because slaves were used as labourers in the plantations.
  3. It led to the establishment of a commercial empire along the East African coast.
  4. It stimulated the development of the long distance trade among the Yao, Akamba, and the Nyamwezi of Tanzania.
  5. It led to the growth and expansion of towns like Kilwa, Pemba and Zanzibar.
  6. The Swahili culture was intensified along the coast.
  7. It led to the establishment of strong political empire under the rule of the Sultan’s at the coast.
  8. The Indian traders (Banyans) introduced the Rupee as the currency for use along the East African coast.
  9. The slave trade which was intensified by the Oman rulers broke down families in most of the areas where raids took place. There was also suffering and loss of property due to burning of houses during raids.



The development of the long distance trade in East Africa


Trade between the Kenya Coast and other outside countries began very early. It was in the 19th century that this trade expanded rapidly especially during the rule of Seyyid Said. This international trade led to the development of the long distance trade.

The long distance trade involved trade between the East Coast of Africa and the interior. It developed due to the demand for slaves in Arabia and the demand for Ivory in Europe. The people involved in this trade were mainly the Akamba and the Mijikenda of Kenya, the Nyamwezi and Yao of Tanzania, the coastal Arabs and the Swahilis and the Baganda of Uganda.

The main commodities of trade obtained in the interior of East Africa in the 19th century were ivory and slaves which were in great demand at the coast. These were exchanged with cloth, beads, glassware utensils, ironware and carpets. The Arab and Swahili traders were at first waiting for trade goods to be supplied to them at the coast but later in 1860s they started penetrating into the interior. They took control of the long distance trade from the Africans such as the Akamba and the Nyamwezi and they travelled into the interior as far as Buganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The traders moved in caravans for security reasons. The goods they obtained were shipped across the Indian Ocean and taken to Asian countries such as India, Persia, Arabia and China.


The factors which facilitated the Akamba long distance trade


The Akamba began the long distance trade due the existence of prominent personalities like Kivoi who attracted a large following of men who regarded him as their leader and accompanied him during trading expeditions. The Akamba geographical position gave them the advantage of being the middlemen between the coastal traders and the communities in central Kenya who provided ivory.

Many parts of Kambaland were not suitable for agriculture because of being hilly, rocky, sandy and also because of receiving inadequate rain and having very poor soils. The second quarter of the 19th century was associated with drought and famine in Ukambani which forced the Akamba to engage themselves in the long distance trade.

The Akamba were experienced traders having acquired trading skills in the local and intercommunity trade. There was no competition because the coastal traders did not venture in the interior for trade because they feared the Maasai warriors. The Akamba gave false stories about the fierceness of the people of the interior. This scared away foreigners from entering the interior.


Organisation of the Akamba long distance trade.


The Akamba were organised into trading and hunting groups. The hunters killed animals such as elephants to obtain ivory. They also obtained hides and skins. The traders organised themselves into caravans consisting of about 700 people who included slaves, porters and the traders themselves.

The form of trade was at first barter system before the introduction of currency. Traders moved into the interior as far as Lake Baringo and Samburu. There were resting places between Ukambani and the Coast such as Mariakani. At first the Akamba acted as middlemen between the coastal traders and the people of interior. Later the coastal traders such as Arabs and Swahilis began penetrating into the interior.

The Akamba trade links

















Factors which contributed to the decline of the Akamba long distance trade


There was competition from Arab and Swahili traders who affected the middleman position of the Akamba. The Kikuyu and the Embu refused to trade with the Akamba because the Akamba raided them to obtain slaves. The Akamba were raided by the Oromo and the Maasai therefore the Kamba trading activity was no longer secure. The interior communities began taking their trade goods to the coast therefore ignoring the Kamba middlemen position.



The European occupation and the abolition of slave trade undermined Akamba long distance trade even further. After the slave trade was abolished it became difficult to transport ivory to the coast. Also the number of elephants had become drastically reduced making this trade uneconomical.

The stories the Akamba gave to scare the foreign traders from going to the interior were proved untrue. As a result of this the Akamba trade ceased to thrive.


The impact of the Akamba long distance trade on the people of Kenya?


  1. The Akamba long distance trade made foreign traders to be aware of the wealth of Kenya. The first to come and spy about this wealth were traders and explorers. This later contributed to colonisation by the Europeans.
  2. The people of the interior developed a taste of imported foreign goods such as cloth, beads, glassware and ironware. They started exchanging ivory, hides and skins with the coastal traders to obtain them.
  3. It is stimulated local and inter community trade.
  4. The Akamba long distance trade contributed to the expansion of slave trade because slaves were used to carry ivory.
  5. The long distance trade gave rise to prosperous and well-known merchants like Kivoi and Ngonyo.
  6. The Wanga kingdom was strengthened due to acquisition of wealth and firearms.
  7. The interior was opened for trade with the coastal Arabs and Swahilis.
  8. The traders developed good communication between the interior and the coast.
  9. It enabled Islam and Swahili culture to penetrate into the interior through Kamba converts.
  10. New crops such as mangoes, rice and bananas were introduced into the interior of Kenya.
  11. Akamba borrowed aspects of other cultures from the trading partners.


Development of international trade.


It was the efforts of Seyyid Said in Zanzibar which enabled East Africa to get involved in the international trade in the 19th century. The foreign traders from USA, Britain and France signed commercial treaties with Seyyid Said which enabled them to open consulates in Zanzibar.

Seyyid Said also invited the Indian Banyans and allowed them to settle and participate in trade with the other foreign traders.



The international trade developed due to the following factors:

  1. Seyyid Said created commercial relations with foreign countries after signing treaties with Britain, France, Germany and USA.
  2. The traders were provided with funds to boost trade. The Indian Banyans loaned traders along the East African Coast.
  3. Seyyid Said who was a powerful ruler maintained peace and political stability along the East African coast therefore creating a conducive atmosphere for trade.
  4. Industrial Revolution which occurred in Britain in the 19th century brought about a high demand for raw materials from East Africa.
  5. The people of East Africa demanded foreign manufactured goods therefore creating a ready market for foreign goods.
  6. The people of the East African coast were experienced in trade because they had traded with the people of Asia many years before the 19th
  7. The East African coast with its natural harbours and good climate attracted many foreign traders.
  8. There existed a class of wealthy traders who promoted trade.


Impact of international trade on the people of East Africa


  1. The East African slave trade was boosted through introduction of ammunitions such as guns.
  2. The foreign traders paved the way for colonisers who took control of East Africa.
  3. The traders opened up the interior of East Africa a thing which encouraged the missionaries to penetrate into the interior to stop slave trade and spread Christianity.
  4. The people of East Africa developed a taste of imported goods such as guns, cloth and ironware.
  5. The trade led to the growth of urban centres.
  6. East African coast was exposed to the outside world.


The Spread of Christianity in East Africa.


The Portuguese were the first foreigners to attempt to spread Christianity in East Africa but totally failed. The Christian missionaries of the 19th century from Germany and Britain succeeded in spreading Christianity and winning converts in East Africa. They established mission schools hospitals and churches which contributed a lot in the spread of Christianity.




The Christian missionary societies which established mission stations in Africa were Church Missionary Society (CMS), the London Missionary Society (LMS), the Baptist Mission Society, the Bremen Society, the Besel Missionary Society, the Scottish Missionary Society, the Church of England Society for the propagation of the Gospel, the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society and the Universities Mission to Central Africa.


The spread of Missionary activity in East Africa.



















Why the Christian Missionaries come to East Africa


The Christian missionaries came to East Africa in order to:

  • Carry out exploration activities.
  • Spread christianity.
  • Civilize Africans
  • Abolish slave trade and slavery.
  • Spread western education and culture.
  • Introduce legitimate trade in areas where slave trade was abolished.
  • Introduce better health services.







The activities of the Christian Missionaries in East Africa in the19th century


The Christian missionaries who came to East Africa in the 19th Century were engaged in training freed slaves on how to contribute in the spread of Christianity, spreading Christianity and converting the local people to be followers of Christianity.

They were also engaged in establishing churches, schools, hospitals and dispensaries. They also translated the Bible into African languages and paved the way for European colonisation.

The missionaries also helped to eradicate slave trade and slavery by advocating the evils associated with this inhuman trade to the British Government.


The factors which contributed to the spread of Christianity in East Africa in the 19th century.


  1. The Christian missionaries were given support by Seyyid Said. He gave them letters which introduced them to the governors of the coastal towns.
  2. Some African traditional rulers such as Nabongo Mumia of Wanga in western Kenya, Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda and Mirambo of Nyamwezi were friendly to the missionaries.
  3. The establishment of many mission Schools and Churches helped in winning more converts.
  4. Missionaries studied African languages and made it easy for them to translate the bible into local languages; e.g.  Kikamba , Kirabai  and
  5. Freed slaves from ‘FRERE TOWN’ who served as catechists helped much in the spread of Christianity.
  6. Development of transport and communication e.g. railways and roads made easier for the missionaries to venture deep into the interior of Kenya.
  7. When Quinine was discovered it enabled the missionaries to venture into the interior without fear of malaria.
  8. The peace which prevailed in East Africa during the colonial period encouraged the spread of Christianity. This peace was as a result of abolition of slave trade and establishment of colonial rule which marked the end of inter community wars.




The problems which the missionaries in East Africa encountered before the attainment of independence


  1. Language barrier was an obstacle to the spread of Christianity.
  2. There were problems of Transport and communication because even at the eve of independence very few areas were served by railway lines and roads.
  3. Missionaries suffered from tropical diseases like malaria.
  4. Missionaries lacked adequate capital to maintain and sustain them.
  5. There was severe opposition from Islam, which had already spread along the East African coast.
  6. The Missionaries were attacked by hostile African communities such as the Nandi of Kenya.
  7. Sometimes due to lack of security the property of the missionaries were stolen
  8. There was rivalry between different Missionary groups which resulted to hatred and disunity.
  9. Missionaries encountered shortages of essential human requirements like food and water.
  10. African communities opposed missionaries who interfered with their culture and way of life.
  11. They were attacked by slave traders.


The contributions of Christian Missionaries to the welfare of the people of East Africa


Missionaries established schools and taught Africans how to read and write. They provided modern medical services by establishing hospitals and dispensaries. Missionaries advocated for the abolition of slave trade and slavery and they established freed slave settlement and used freed slaves to spread Christianity.

Missionaries spread Christianity and made many converts. They translated the Bible into African languages such as Kikamba, Kirabai and Kiswahili. The Missionaries also contributed a lot in the development of transport and communication by building roads to serve mission stations.

The Christian missionaries helped to eradicate some inhuman practices such as human sacrifice and tried to discourage witchcraft. They introduced new crops such as tea, coffee, cotton and pyrethrum and new better methods of farming.




The results of the Christian missionary activities in East Africa


The missionaries translated the Bible into native languages such as Kiswahili, Kikamba and Kirabai. They converted Africans to Christianity. Those converted abandoned traditional customs such as polygamy and human sacrifice.

The Christian Missionaries introduced Western education and civilization. They also established medical services by establishing hospitals and dispensaries which improved the welfare of the Africans and reduced death rate.

The missionaries explored part of Kenya and reported their findings to their mother countries. This contributed to the colonization of Kenya and the rest of East African countries. The Christian Missionaries also experimented with new crops such as coffee. They also introduced new methods of farming.

Transport and communication means were developed especially those which served the mission centres. Such means were roads and telephone lines. They collected useful information concerning the customs and the institutions of African communities. For instance Dr. Krapf studied and recorded the customs of the Mijikenda. This information is very useful for reconstructing history today.



Review Questions.


  1. Why did the early foreigners visit the East African coast before 1500 AD?
  2. i) How was the trade between the East African coast and the outside

world organised before 1900 AD?

  1. ii) What factors contributed to the development of the above trade?
  2. i) Identify the problems the Portuguese encountered along the East

African coast.

  1. ii) Show the ways the Portuguese tried to evade those problems.
  2. a) Discuss the positive and negative impact of the Portuguese

administration on the East African coast.

  1. b) Give all the reasons for the decline of the coastal towns during the Portuguese era.
  2. Explain the contribution of Seyyid Said in East Africa.
  3. Describe the factors which facilitated the spread of Christianity in East Africa.








A citizen is someone who is legally recognised as belonging to a particular country or state. Citizenship is therefore the act of legally belonging to a particular country or state. This provides the individual with legal rights to belong to that country.


The way one can become a Kenyan citizen

  1. a) Citizenship by birth
  • Here one qualifies to be a Kenyan citizen automatically if he or she is born in Kenya and his or her parents are Kenyan citizens at the date of his or her birth.
  • Also if one is born outside Kenya and at the date of his birth his father is a Kenyan citizen he also qualifies automatically to be a Kenyan citizen by birth.


  1. b) Citizen by registration

This is offered to people who have reached the age of twenty-one years and have satisfied the Minister in charge with the following conditions:

  1. That he is of African origin or a commonwealth citizen.
  2. That he has all qualities of being a suitable citizen of Kenya.
  3. That he has resided in Kenya for a period of five years.
  4. That he is of good character.
  5. That he has adequate knowledge of English or Kiswahili
  6. That if he is of African origin, he or his parent must have been born in an African country which also allows Kenyan citizens to be their citizens by legislation or he must have been a resident for at least ten years in a country which permits Kenyan citizens to become citizens by legislation and he is not a citizen of an independent state in Africa.


  1. c) Citizenship by naturalisation

Naturalisation is making a foreigner to become a citizen of a particular country. One can qualify to attain this if:

  1. a) He is twenty one years old.
  2. b) He satisfies the concerned minister that he knows enough Kiswahili.
  3. c) He has proved to be of good character.


  1. d) He has been lawfully living in Kenya for at least 12 months preceding his application.
  2. e) He satisfies the minister that he intends, if naturalised, to continue living in Kenya.
  3. f) He has been lawfully and ordinarily living in Kenya for a period totalling to 4 years in the previous 8 years including the 12 months preceding his application.
  4. g) He applies in the manner prescribed by parliament and the minister grants a certificate of naturalisation.


The conditions in which citizenship may be revoked (withdrawn)

Kenyan citizens by birth cannot be denied citizenship. Only those who have registered or naturalised citizenships may have them revoked if the person has been proved as being disloyal to Kenya by his conduct or speech, if the legislation or naturalisation was obtained by false representation or by fraud, if the naturalised person has been imprisoned within the first five years of his legislation for 12 months without a pardon in any country and lastly if the naturalised or registered person has lived in another country for a continuous period of seven years and not in the service of Kenya since he became a citizen.


The rights and freedoms that Kenyan citizens are entitled to enjoy


Right to own property

Every citizen in Kenya has a right to own property in any area of the country.


Right to life

One should not be deprived of his or her life intentionally. This implies that no person is supposed to murder another or commit suicide. Anyone who does any of these two is prosecuted in a court of law.


The right to liberty

No one should be imprisoned or detained without good reason. Also no one should be enslaved by the other. A person who is arrested must be taken to court within a specified period (maximum 24 hours).


Freedom of conscience and religion

Every Kenyan citizen has a right to take an active part in a religion of his or her own choice and think freely. The religion one joins should be legally registered.



Freedom of expression

One is free to hold an opinion without interference from the government. At the same time one is not allowed to incite anybody against the government.


Freedom of movement

One is free to move to any part of Kenya or live in any part of this country. Kenyans should therefore allow fellow Kenyans to move freely without interference. There are legally prohibited areas where one is not allowed to trespass for example private homes and state house.


Freedom of speech

One is free to say anything so long as it does not interfere with other people’s freedoms or go against the government.


Right of protection from discrimination

All people in Kenya are supposed to receive fair treatment irrespective of their sex (gender), race, tribe, political opinion and colour. Everyone therefore deserves mutual respect and honour.


Right of protection against arbitrary search and entry

Nobody should be searched without his consent or a valid court warrant. The police can search individuals houses if they are suspected of crimes such as theft or if they have escaped from prison and also if they house seditious documents. In this case the police must produce search warrants.


Right of protection from the law of land

A person who is charged with a criminal offence must be offered a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court of law. This time should not go beyond twenty four (24) hours unless during public holidays and weekends.


Right of protection from torture and any other insecurity

No one should be tortured for any reason at all even by police after arrest because the law assumes an individual to be innocent until proved guilty by a court of law.









The situations in which Kenyan citizens may be denied some of their rights and freedoms:


Kenya citizens may be denied some of their rights and freedoms if they interfere with those of other people. They will also be denied some of their freedom if they misuse their rights and freedoms with the aim of destabilising the country by causing instability, by criticising the government or by dispersing seditious publications with the aim of destabilising the country.

One can be denied the freedom of religion if he uses it wrongly to undermine the government or to disunite Kenyans. There may be a great need for the government to take individuals’ land for public use e.g. for road, hospitals or schools. In this case the individuals has to be compensated.

In times of war the government may limit the freedom of movement by curfew or by declaring a state of emergency. People may be denied freedom of speech if they begin uttering false statements about other people or when they incite people against the government with the aim of causing instability in the government.


The occasion in which a person is likely to be denied the right to personal liberty in Kenya


  • In case of having unsound mind e.g. if a person is mad or crazy.
  • Incase a person is a drug addict.
  • Incase of a person being infected by a contagious disease.
  • Incase one is under 18 years he can be denied personal liberty to enable him acquire education.
  • Incase one is a convicted criminal.


Limitations on freedom of speech


One may be denied freedom of speech if one makes untrue utterances about another individual or against the government.

One is not allowed to publish seditious documents and also to incite other members of the community against the government. Finally, one is not allowed to talk ill against the President.








The occasions in which a person in Kenya (Kenya citizen) is likely to be denied the right to life


One can be denied the right to life during the time of war. One can be killed the time a rebellion or a riot is being suppressed.

In the process of preventing a criminal offence the police can stop intended robbery by shooting suspects. It can also occur in the course of defending one’s property or oneself.

Lastly, a person can also be denied the right to life by being convicted by a court of law especially if one is found guilty of murder.


Limitations of the freedom of worship


  • One is not allowed to preach with the intention of inciting people to cause instability in the country.
  • One is not allowed to preach in a way which is likely to disunite the people of Kenya.
  • One is not allowed to use religion wrongly with the intention of undermining the government in any way whatsoever.


How the bill of rights in Kenya constitution protects the right of the individual.


  1. An individual is guaranteed the right to life. If one murders or commits suicide, he is punishable by law.
  2. An individual is guaranteed right to own property. If one interferes with another person’s property he is liable to prosecution in a court of law.
  3. An individual is guaranteed freedom of conscience. In this case one is entitled the right to think and worship.
  4. An individual is guaranteed freedom of association or assembly. Individuals therefore are free to assemble and associate with people of their own choice without harassment.
  5. An individual is guaranteed the right to worship and join a religion of his choice.
  6. The bill of rights protects a person against arbitrary search, detention and arrest.
  7. It provides freedom of movement of the individual. One has right to move freely in any part of the country.




  1. An individual is protected from being enslaved or being forced to supply unpaid labour.
  2. The bill or rights provides the individual with freedom of expression or speech through writing and talking.


The responsibilities of a good citizen.


A good Kenyan citizen is one who is ready     to obey all the Kenyan laws in order to maintain peace and order in the country. He is one who participates in development projects such as roads, dispensaries, hospitals and schools – which help to improve the welfare of the people of Kenya.

A good citizen is also one who participates in the democratic process by getting involved in voting to elect the most responsible representatives of the people in both the parliament and the local authorities.


The elements of good citizenship


A good citizen will demonstrate the following:

  • High degree of patriotism. This may be demonstrated by full participation in development projects and respect of the law.
  • High degree of honesty in all what one does.
  • High degree of generosity.
  • Always being well informed in all activities taking place in one’s country so that one can participate fully in the democratic process, in public meetings and in the elections.
  • Always being free to air views on all issues affecting the people and the country at large.








Review Questions.


  1. What does the term citizenship imply?
  2. In which ways may one become a citizen of Kenya?
  3. How may citizenship be with held?
  4. Explain the circumstances which may compel the government to interfere with the:
  5. i) Freedom of speech
  6. ii) Right to life


5.  Outline the rights and freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights in Kenya.

  1. Describe the qualities of a good citizen.







The meaning of National integration meaning and importance.


National integration is the process of uniting all the people of Kenya irrespective of their cultures, occupations, religions, races and ethnic groups into one solid and responsible nation. National integration is important because:

  1. It encourages socialisation of people of different races, cultures, religion and ethnic groups.
  2. it encourages rapid economic and social developments in the country for example trade, games and sports.
  • It brings national stability by ensuring that there is security in the country
  1. It promotes national building.
  2. It enables the nation to prosper.
  3. It enhances patriotism and nationalism.
  • It fuses various communities of Kenya into one
  • It causes people to develop a sense of pride for their nation.
  1. It encourages foreigners to visit our country.
  2. It encourages teamwork when solving national problems like the problem of drought, famine and epidemics.


The factors promoting national unity.


National language:

This makes it possible for people of different communities to communicate with one another. Kiswahili and English help to achieve this goal.


The constitution:

It protects Kenya citizens from any kind of discrimination. It provides equal opportunities for all Kenyans.



This helps Kenyans children to meet, mix and interact freely. It helps Kenyans to develop a sense of belonging and desire to serve the nation whole-heartedly.






School children socialising  on their way to school.
















Equal distribution of resources:

Schools, clean water and health centres should be distributed fairly and equally to serve the needs of all Kenyans.


Social economic interactions:

This occurs when people undertake social and economic activities such as trading , games and conducting marriage ceremonies .


The Presidency:

All Kenyans are united under one President

who they respect and honour. The President

is in charge of the entire nation. He links the

nation with the rest of the world.


The factors which play the role of

 limiting national unity.


Tribalism:       Favouring people of ones own

tribe on matters pertaining to

employment, economic benefits,

educational privileges and



Nepotism:  Favouring relatives.



Racism/Racialism:  Favouring people of ones race for example favouring

Africans and discriminating Asians.


Religious differences:            This is division along religious lines due to different

beliefs and practices.


Corruption:    This is giving or asking for bribes in order to offer services to

others. It also includes misuse of public funds.


Uneven economic development: This is when some areas are more economically developed than others in terms of means of communication, agricultural research centres, industry and trade.


The meaning of the term “conflict”


Conflict may imply a state of war or battle or a struggle of some kind or a long fight. It may also imply a situation whereby ideas or beliefs differ. This may result to ideological and religious differences. It may imply a disagreement or clash. Conflict may also be quarrels or sharp arguments.


Various types of conflicts


  • Political conflicts: Examples are wars, battles, ethnic clashes.
  • Religious conflicts.
  • Cultural conflicts.
  • Ideological conflicts
  • Conflict of laws.
  • Conflict of opinion.
  • Family conflict.
  • Ethnic conflicts.


The issues which may cause conflict


  1. Misunderstanding of people or nations.
  2. Differing ideologies/ideological differences.
  3. Disunity of various people or nations.
  4. Struggle for power and material wealth.
  5. Formation of different classes of people due to social stratification.
  6. Inferiority and superiority complexes.
  7. Struggle for leadership.



  1. 5






The methods of resolving conflicts.


  1. Use of dialogue/talking to agree.
  2. Trying to develop understanding through settling the differences between people or nations or through establishing political relations which enable them to solve problems amicably
  3. Forming commercial/trade partnership.
  4. Developing communication links to facilitate quicker solving of disputes.
  5. Signing of peace agreements or treaties and sometimes engaging arbitrators.
  6. Settling religious differences through use of ecumenical organisations and programmes.
  7. Encouraging equitable distribution and ownership of property and wealth.
  8. Promoting responsibility, accountability, respect, honesty, charity and pursuit for peace.
  9. Forming national and international organisations aimed at promoting peace and harmony in the world or between nations and also between various people in a nation.


The process of resolving conflicts


First identify the type of conflict in question. Secondly isolate the people or parties involved in the conflict. Then cross-examine the major causes of the conflict. Engage an impartial or neutral arbitrator. Now use dialogue as a way of settling the dispute. Incase of a stalemate or deadlock, engage more and more arbitrators. They should maintain a high degree of neutrality and understanding.




Try to exhaust the available ways, means as well as the existing machinery for resolving conflicts. You may involve neutral leaders, elders, lawyers, opinion leaders and all other kinds of mediators. Also refer to the way similar issues were dealt with in the past. If the outcome was negative then forget about it and try your own.

If the parties agree, then they should sign binding agreements or treaties which clearly explain what is expected of them in future. If the parties fail to agree, encourage constant meetings aimed at resolving the conflict and also employ as many mediators or arbitrators as possible until an agreement is reached.

It is therefore important note that when resolving conflict methods such as Negotiation, mediation and arbitration are very necessary.

In negotiation one has to study the kind and nature of conflict and then analyse all the facts about that particular conflict. The conflicting states or individuals or groups are then assembled for discussion which continues until a lasting solution is reached. When this is achieved then an agreement is reached and the concerned sign as away of expressing their commitment.

  • It should also be noted that an arbitrator or a mediator should be a neutral person who is not likely to favour any side. Arbitration should never include people who have vested interests, or people who are corrupt and can take bribes. Mediator should not include people who are related to any one group or individual or those involved in the dispute in question.


Various levels of conflict


  • Interstate conflict: In this case a disagreement may arise between two countries. The causes of this may be boundary disputes, hatred between two heads of state, people of one country raiding people of the neighbouring country to capture or steal livestock, ideological differences and abuse of human rights and international laws.
  • Conflict between two people: This is a very common level of conflict brought about by issues such as failure to pay debt, land ownership wrangle, family disagreement, political differences between individuals and jealousy.
  • Conflict between a state and an individual: This is likely to occur especially when one is denied individual human rights for example, The government may take an individual’s land and fail to compensate it. Powerful individual may also grab public land and then the government struggles to repossess it once more for public interest.




  • Conflict between two or more groups: some of the causes of this conflict may be stiff competition in business, land ownership claims, power struggle by rival political parties and religious differences which involve different religious groups or denominations.


The role of a mediator during resolving conflicts.


  • A mediator explains the rules to be followed during the process of helping the parties to reach an agreement.
  • A mediator acts as referee to ensure that no party interrupts the other when explaining the cause of conflicts.
  • The mediator listens to the parties and compiles the facts which he later uses to help reach an agreement.
  • The mediator gives his own solutions and the parties give out their suggestions.
  • If an agreement is reached the mediator records it and the parties concerned are requested to honour and show commitment to it.



Review Questions.


  1. i) What is the meaning of National Integration
  2. ii) Why should there be National Integration
  3. Describe the factors that may limit National Unity.
  4. Define the term conflict.
  5. Identify the main methods of resolving conflicts.
  6. How can conflicts affect the running of schools in Kenya?
  7. Discuss the process of resolving conflicts.
  8. Identify the ways through which conflicts may be avoided.

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