British Kenya

former UK possession in Africa between 1920 and 1963

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

Flag of British Kenya
Map of British East Africa, 1909.


  • The nutritional status of cohorts born 20 years before and after colonization did not change significantly, during the colonial period expanding health infrastructure, slightly favoring the central region and urban areas, improved the nutritional and health status of most Kenyans. The net outcome of colonial times was a significant progress in nutrition and health. While anti-colonialism is fashionable it is not supported by evidence.
  • Any claim about…the level of colonial violence, requires not just assumptions about the scale of violence that would have occurred absent colonial rule but also a careful measure of that violence relative to the population, security threat, and security resources in a given territory. One is hard-pressed, to take a prominent example, to find a single example of such care in measurement in the vast critical cholarship on the British counter-insurgency campaign against the Mau in Kenya from 1952 to 1960…At the very least, it is incumbent on scholars to show that the brutalities unleashed by the British in this campaign were not the likely result of a proportionate response given the context and scale of the threat. If this supposedly solid case is wobbly, what does it tell us about the lesser ‘violence’ often cited as invalidating colonialism?

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