A part of Southeast Africa, the territory of what is now Kenya has seen human habitation since the beginning of the Lower Paleolithic. The Bantu expansion from a West African center of dispersal reached the area by the 1st millennium AD. With the borders of the modern state at the crossroads of the Bantu, Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic ethno-linguistic areas of Africa, Kenya is a truly multi-ethnic state.
European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period, but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, from 1920 known as the Kenya Colony.
In the Second World War (1939–45) Kenya became an important British military base for successful campaigns against Italy in the Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia. The war brought money and an opportunity for military service for 98,000 men, called “askaris”. The war stimulated African nationalism. After the war, African ex-servicemen sought to maintain the socioeconomic gains they had accrued through service in the King’s African Rifles (KAR). Looking for middle-class employment and social privileges, they challenged existing relationships within the colonial state. For the most part, veterans did not participate in national politics, believing that their aspirations could best be achieved within the confines of colonial society. The social and economic connotations of KAR service, combined with the massive wartime expansion of Kenyan defence forces, created a new class of modernised Africans with distinctive characteristics and interests. These socioeconomic perceptions proved powerful after the war.
On their way to the peeler’s trays the tomatoes go through several stages of washing, sterilising and very careful examination. (Picture issued 1945)
Medical work in Kikuyuland. Lincoln is this African medical assistant. He is in charge of a cottage hospital of 30 beds in the native district some 20 miles from Fort Hall
Coffee berries being tipped into a cement hopper. (Picture issued 1945)
Foundation day – prizegiving
June 1945. A Party of the K.A.R [King’s African Rifles] on lease from Burma march down Delamere Avenue
An African working party falls in for orders. (Picture issued- 1945)
Off duty time for African nurses at Fort Hall. (Picture issued 1945)
A Kikuyu assistant makes up a prescription in the dispensary. (Picture issued 1945)
Babies born in a hospital about 60 miles north of Nairobi. (Picture issued 1945)
British Official Photograph (Kenya) The Salvation Army play a big part in social welfare work in Kenya
British Official Photograph (Kenya). Classes in needlework and knitting are held for women attending the Maseno Social Centre, one of a number of such centres in Kenya
British Official Photograph (Kenya). African Youth Movement in Kenya
British Official Photograph (Kenya)
Pickers who bring their women have a hut to themselves. (Picture issued 1945)
Sisal growing in Kenya. G.213_26. Main power unit of hydroelectric station, providing power for the factory
Sisal growing in Kenya. G.215_17. Placing the brushed fibre in the baling boxes
Spraying the leaves against Hemileia. (Picture issued 1945)
Squatting over a draught board, with soda water tops for pieces. (Picture issued 1945)
The homely dose at the kitchen door, which helps to keep the workers fit. (Picture issued 1945)