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East Africa has a long and rich history that extends back, by most accounts, to the origins of man. This volume offers a history of the region from the Stone Age to the 1990s. Although the modern nations East Africa comprises—Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—did not exist in their present shape before the twentieth century, this work examines their history country by country. With the exception of the first three chapters, separate accounts are given of developments within the three mainland territories and, during the colonial period, within the offshore islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. The book falls into two roughly equal parts. The first seven chapters deal with the pre-colonial history of East Africa, stretching from earliest times to the 1890s. Due to (among other things) a lack of written sources from most of the interior before the nineteenth century, the dates used for dividing the early chapters are necessarily arbitrary. Chapter 3 focuses exclusively on the coast and Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the interior; this approach is in line with most East African historiography, which sees the coast and the interior as having little common experience prior to the nineteenth century. The initial chapters focus on the movement of peoples and the developmentofthepolitical ,economic,andsocialsystemsthatcametocharacterize PREFACE xiv | robert m. maxon them. A major thrust of the volume is to describe how the region’s major social formations, often termed “tribes” or ethnic groups, came to occupy the positions they did by the 1890s. This is a story of migration and movement of peoples and their interaction with other groups. As sketched out here, East African social formations come to reflect considerable diversity in language, culture, and economic systems. The same diversity characterizes the region’s political formations. Some parts of East Africa experienced the development of centralized states ruled by monarchs. Historians have more information about these states, and relatively greater detail is provided here about their historical development than that of political formations ruled by chiefs and by counsels of elders. Beginning in the nineteenth century, East Africa experienced increasing external influences, which would culminate with the European “scramble” for the region. Most important was the commercial penetration of this part of the continent by Europe. As the nineteenth century wore on, European capitalism sought sources of raw materials and markers there. These increasing trade relations, together with humanitarian motives, opened the door for the takeover of East Africa by Britain and Germany, as detailed in Chapters 6 and 7. Chapters 8–11 constitute the second half of the book. The first three of these chapters detail the imposition and functioning of colonial rule beginning in the 1890s. Though relatively brief, the colonial interlude has left a tremendous legacy. Patterns of political authoritarianism and economic dependency were set, which have not been decisively altered by the East African states’ achievement of independence. Chapter 11 examines the history of the independent East African states from the 1960s to the 1990s. In dealing with pre-colonial history in Chapters 4 and 5, the term Tanzania is used to refer to the mainland area of that nation. In Chapter 8, the term German East Africa reflects the fact that this nation fell under German rule from the 1890s to the end of World War I. In Chapters 9 and 10, the term Tanganyika is used since this was the name the British gave the territory when they took control. At the risk of confusion, these different terms have been adopted to reflect the terminology in use at the time. The spelling of place names and the names of peoples and languages is preface | xv in accordance with current usage. For most ethnic groups, the prefix has been dropped for the sake of convenience and clarity (e.g., Ganda rather than Baganda). The classification and spelling of linguistic terms follows, for the most part, the lead of C. Ehret, D. Nurse, D. Schoenbrun, and G. Philipson. Spellings of ethnic names do not always match the linguistic terminology. Charts are provided in Chapters 2 and 4 to assist the reader in recognizing the relationships between various language groupings. This narrative of East Africa’s past could not have been completed without the assistance of many more individuals than can be briefly recognized here. Thanks must particularly go to John Indakwa who helped convince me to undertake the project; also to E. S. Atieno Odhiambo and W. R. Ochieng for sharing ideas and materials during the writing of the...


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