Kenya Colony

The Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, commonly known as British Kenya, was part of the British Empire in Africa from 1920 until 1963. 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.

Colony and Protectorate of Kenya

Anthem: God Save the King (1920–1952)
God Save the Queen (1952–1963)
Common languagesEnglish (official)
Swahili, Kikuyu, Kamba, Luhya, Luo, Gusii, Meru, Nandi–Markweta also spoken
GovernmentColonial administration
George V
Edward VIII
George VI
Elizabeth II
Commissioner or Governor 
 1920–1922 (first)
Maj-Gen Sir Edward Northey
ACM Sir Robert Brooke-Popham
 1963 (last)
Malcolm MacDonald
Historical era20th century
11 June 1920 (Colony)
13 August 1920 (Protectorate) 1920[1]
 Independent as Kenya
12 December 1963
1924639,209 km2 (246,800 sq mi)
CurrencyEast African shilling
ISO 3166 codeKE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
East Africa Protectorate
Kenya (1963–1964)
Today part of Kenya
Source for 1924 area and population:[3]


The Colony and Protectorate of Kenya was established on 11 June 1920 when the territories of the former East Africa Protectorate (except those parts of that Protectorate over which His Majesty the Sultan of Zanzibar had sovereignty) were annexed by the UK.[4] The Kenya Protectorate was established on 13 August 1920 when the territories of the former East Africa Protectorate which were not annexed by the UK were established as a British Protectorate.[1] The Protectorate of Kenya was governed as part of the Colony of Kenya by virtue of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the Sultan dated 14 December 1895.[5][6][7][8]

In the 1920s natives objected to the reservation of the White Highlands for Europeans, especially British war veterans. Bitterness grew between the natives and the Europeans.[9] The population in 1921 was estimated at 2,376,000, of whom 9,651 were Europeans, 22,822 Indians, and 10,102 Arabs. Mombasa, the largest city in 1921, had a population of 32,000 at that time.

The Colony and the Protectorate each came to an end on 12 December 1963. The United Kingdom ceded sovereignty over the Colony of Kenya and, under an agreement dated 8 October 1963, the Sultan agreed that simultaneous with independence for Kenya, the Sultan would cease to have sovereignty over the Protectorate of Kenya.[6] In this way, Kenya became an independent country under the Kenya Independence Act 1963 which established the "Dominion of Kenya", with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the first prime minister.[10] Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was named Kenyatta's first vice-president. On 26 May 1963, Kenya had its first elections and a new red, green, black and white flag was introduced.[11] Exactly 12 months later on 12 December 1964, Kenya became a republic under the name "Republic of Kenya".[6]

See also


  1. Kenya Protectorate Order in Council, 1920 and dated 13 August 1920
  2. "Kenya Population". Worldometers. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. "The British Empire in 1924". The British Empire. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  4. Kenya (Annexation) Order in Council, 1920 and dated 11 June 1920
  5. Kenya Protectorate Order in Council, 1920, S.R.O. 1920 No. 2343 & S.I. Rev. VIII, 258, State Pp., Vol. 87, p. 968.
  6. "Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. p. 762
  7. "Kenya Annexation Order, Kenya Gazette 7 Sep 1921". Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  8. Brennan, James R. “Lowering the Sultan’s Flag: Sovereignty and Decolonization in Coastal Kenya.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 50, no. 4 (2008): 831–61.
  9. Morgan, W. T. W. "The'white highlands' of Kenya." Geographical Journal (1963): 140–155. in JSTOR
  10. History of Kenya government webpage Archived 26 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2015-07-24
  11. kedibone (23 November 2011). "Kenya is granted independence". South African History Online. Retrieved 2 March 2018.

Further reading

  • Kitching, Gavin N. Class and economic change in Kenya: The making of an African petite bourgeoisie 1905-1970 (Yale University Press, 1980)
  • Lonsdale, John, and Bruce Berman. "Coping with the contradictions: the development of the colonial state in Kenya, 1895–1914." Journal of African History 20#04 (1979): 487–505.
  • Mungeam, Gordon Hudson. British rule in Kenya, 1895-1912 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1966)
  • Ochieng, William Robert. A history of Kenya (Macmillan Kenya, 1985)
  • Ochieng, William Robert, and Robert M. Maxon, eds. An economic history of Kenya (East African Publishers, 1992)
  • Wolff, Richard D. Britain and Kenya, 1870-1930: The Economics of Colonialism (Transafrica Publishers, 1974)
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