During the early

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During the early

Post  kosovohp on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:44 am

During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee and tea.[25] By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers lived in the area and gained a political voice because of their contribution to the market economy. The area was already home to over a million members of the Kikuyu tribe, most of whom had no land claims in European terms, and lived as itinerant farmers. To protect their interests, the settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax, and the landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labour. A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled.[22] By the 1950s, the white population numbered 80,000.[26]

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King's African Rifles. The British began counter-insurgency operations; in May 1953 General Sir George Erskine took charge as commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces in May 1953, with the personal backing of Winston Churchill.[27]

The capture of Warũhiũ Itote (aka General China) on 15 January 1954, and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvil opened on 24 April 1954, after weeks of planning by the army with the approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege, and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. The Home Guard formed the core of the government's strategy as it was composed of loyalist Africans, not foreign forces like the British Army and King's African Rifles. By the end of the emergency the Home Guard had killed 4686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956, in Nyeri signified the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau and essentially ended the military offensive.[27] During this period, substantial governmental changes to land tenure occurred, the most important of which was the Swynnerton Plan, which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau.

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