Petals of Blood Historical Context

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In 1887 a private British company attempted to start a trading business near the Kenyan coast, modeling itself after the British East India Company which had for years monopolized highly profitable European trade in India. While the Imperial British East Africa Company, as it was known, soon went bankrupt, the British government itself took over the territory in 1895, and over the next decade gradually gained administrative control of most of modern Kenya. The British government encouraged English "settlers" to move to the fertile highland regions, where they created gigantic plantations while displacing hundreds of thousands of native Kenyans, mostly ethnic Gikuyus, from their traditional lands.

For the next sixty years the economic, political, and social disparities between European settlers and native Kenyans gave rise to growing antagonism and conflict. It is estimated that by 1945 nearly twenty percent of Kenyan land (and clearly the most fertile) was owned by no more than...

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This section contains 1,038 words
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Literature of Developing Nations for Students
Petals of Blood from Literature of Developing Nations for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.