Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Kenya, Uganda, and Zanzibar is Number 96 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. As explained in an editorial note, in 1920 the British East Africa Protectorate became a colony and its name was changed to Kenya. Unlike the cover and the title page, the text was not updated and still refers to the protectorate. The book contains sections on physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. The historical discussion covers the 19th-century rivalry between Great Britain and Germany for control of territories in East Africa claimed by the sultan of Zanzibar. The Anglo-German agreement of 1886 left the sultan only the island of Zanzibar and a narrow strip of the mainland. The vast hinterland was divided between British and German commercial interests and eventually became, in the south, German East Africa, and in the north, the East Africa Protectorate. In 1890, Zanzibar itself (part of present-day Tanzania) became a British protectorate, in exchange for which Germany acquired the North Sea island of Heligoland. The section on economic conditions discusses the prospects for economic development and profitable investment in Kenya and Uganda, focusing on three factors: useful products, which it concluded existed “in abundance;” labor, which it concluded existed “in bare sufficiency;” and transport facilities, said to be “inadequate for progress.” The appendix includes tables of economic statistics and extracts from the Anglo-German agreements relating to these territories.

Last updated: February 18, 2015