From 1896, when the building of the Mombasa-Victoria Nyanza railway was begun, until 1903, when the line was A white man's country. practically completed, the energies of the administration were largely absorbed in that great work, and in establishing effective control over the Masai, Somali, and other tribes. The coast lands apart, the protectorate was regarded as valuable chiefly as being the high road to Uganda. But as the railway reached the high plateaus the discovery was made that there were large areas of land - very sparsely peopled - where the climate was excellent and where the conditions were favourable to European colonization. The completion of the railway, by affording transport facilities, made it practicable to open the country to settlers. The first application for land was made in April 1902 by the East Africa Syndicate - a company in which financiers belonging to the Chartered Company of South Africa were interested - which sought a grant of 500 sq. m.; and this was followed by other applications for considerable areas, a scheme being also propounded for a large Jewish settlement.

During 1903 the arrival of hundreds of prospective settlers, chiefly from South Africa, led to the decision to entertain no more applications for large areas of land, especially as questions were raised concerning the preservation for the Masai of their rights of pasturage. In the carrying out of this policy a dispute arose between Lord Lansdowne, foreign secretary, and Sir Charles Eliot, who had been commissioner since 1900. The foreign secretary, believing himself bound by pledges given to the syndicate, decided that they should be granted the lease of the 500 sq. m. they had applied for; but after consulting officials of the protectorate then in London, he refused Sir Charles Eliot permission to conclude leases for 50 sq. m. each to two applicants from South Africa. Sir Charles thereupon resigned his post, and in a public telegram to the prime minister, dated Mombasa, the 21st of June 1904, gave as his reason: - "Lord Lansdowne ordered me to refuse grants of land to certain private persons while giving a monopoly of land on unduly advantageous terms to the East Africa Syndicate. I have refused to execute these instructions, which I consider unjust and impolitic."[1]

On the day Sir Charles sent this telegram the appointment of Sir Donald W. Stewart, the chief commissioner of Ashanti, to succeed him was announced. Sir Donald induced the Masai whose grazing rights were threatened to remove to another district, and a settlement of the land claims was arranged. An offer to the Zionist Association of land for colonization by Jews was declined in August 1905 by that body, after the receipt of a report by a commissioner sent to examine the land (6000 sq. m.) offered. Sir Donald Stewart died on the 1st of October 1905, and was succeeded by Colonel Hayes Sadler, the commissioner of Uganda. Meantime, in April 1905, the administration of the protectorate had been transferred from the foreign to the colonial office. By the close of 1905 considerably over a million acres of land had been leased or sold by the protectorate authorities - about half of it for grazing purposes. In 1907, to meet the demands of the increasing number of white inhabitants, who had formed a Colonists' Association[2] for the promotion of their interests, a legislative council was established, and on this council representatives of the settlers were given seats.

The style of the chief official was also altered, "governor" being substituted for "commissioner". In the same year a scheme was drawn up for assisting the immigration of British Indians to the regions adjacent to the coast and to Victoria Nyanza, districts not suitable for settlement by Europeans.

In general the relations of the British with the tribes of the interior have been satisfactory. The Somali in Jubaland have given some trouble, but the Masai, notwithstanding their warlike reputation, accepted peaceably the control of the whites. This was due, in great measure, to the fact that at the period in question plague carried off their cattle wholesale and reduced them for years to a state of want and weakness which destroyed their warlike habits. One of the most troublesome tribes proved to be the Nandi, who occupied the southern part of the plateau west of the Mau escarpment. They repeatedly raided their less warlike neighbours and committed wholesale thefts from the railway and telegraph lines. In September 1905 an expedition was sent against them which reduced the tribe to submission in the following November; and early in 1906 the Nandi were removed into a reserve. The majority of the natives, unaccustomed to regular work, showed themselves averse from taking service under the white farmers.

The inadequacy of the labour supply was an early cause of trouble to the settlers, while the labour regulations enforced led, during 1907-1908, to considerable friction between the colonists and the administration.

For several years after the establishment of the protectorate the northern region remained very little known and no attempt was made to administer the district. The natives were frequently raided by parties of Gallas and Abyssinians, and in the absence of a defined frontier Abyssinian government posts were pushed south to Lake Rudolf. The Abyssinians also made themselves masters of the Boran country. After long negotiations an agreement as to the boundary line between the lake and the river Juba was signed at Adis Ababa on the 6th of December 1907, and in 1908-1909 the frontier was delimited by an Anglo-Abyssinian commission, Major C.W. Gwynn being the chief British representative. Save for its north-eastern extremity Lake Rudolf was assigned to the British, Lake Stefanie falling to Abyssinia, while from about 4° 20′ N. the Daua to its junction with the Juba became the frontier.


The most comprehensive account of the protectorate to the close of 1904, especially of its economic resources, is The East Africa Protectorate, by Sir Charles Eliot (London, 1905). The progress of the protectorate is detailed in the Reports by the governor issued annually by the British government since 1896, and in Drumkey's Year Book for East Africa (Bombay), first issued in 1908. The Précis of Information concerning the British East Africa Protectorate (issued by the War Office, London, 1901) is chiefly valuable for its historical information. The work of the Imperial British East Africa Company is concisely and authoritatively told from official documents in British East Africa or Ibea, by P.L. McDermont (new ed., London, 1895). Another book, valuable for its historical perspective, is The Foundation of British East Africa, by J.W. Gregory (London, 1901). Bishop A.R. Tucker's Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa (London, 1908) contains a summary of missionary labours. Of the works of explorers Through Masai Land, by Joseph Thomson (London, 1886), is specially valuable.

For the northern frontier see Capt. P. Maud's report in Africa No. 13 (1904). For geology see, besides Thomson's book, The Great Rift Valley, by J.W. Gregory (London, 1896); Across an East African Glacier, by Hans Meyer (London and Leipzig, 1890); and Report relating to the Geology of the East Africa Protectorate, by H.B. Muff (Colonial Office, London, 1908). For big game and ornithology see On Safari, by A. Chapman (London, 1908). The story of the building of the Uganda railway is summarized in the Final Report of the Uganda Railway Committee, Africa, No. 11 (1904), published by the British government.

(F. R. C.)

[1] See Correspondence relating to the Resignation of Sir C. Eliot, Africa, No. 8 (1904).

[2] The Planters and Farmers' Association, as this organization was originally called, dates from 1903.