Settlement Led The Government Essay

2034 words - 9 pages

New Zealand and Kenya were two British colonies that attracted settlement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After a brief explanation about British interest in these two countries, the essay will compare the experience of settlement by investigating the factors that encouraged people to migrate and the way they interacted with natives to take control of their lands. Finally, the essay will explore in more detail the settler society, its economics and organisation, showing that New Zealand managed to emerge as a neo-Europe, while the Kenyan colonial dream, relying too much on coerced labour force, with settlers outnumbered by Africans, was doomed to fail.
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218).
Migration to New Zealand occurred in several phases: most of the first settlers came in migration schemes, sponsored by commercial companies or churches, but a gold rush in the 1860s also brought many male migrants (Unit 13, pp. 209-10). New Zealand was the most distant colony and the most expensive to reach, prompting the British government to subsidise immigration: in the 1870s, almost 100,000 people benefited from such assisted passages (Unit 13, p. 210). Positive reports, especially letters from emigrants, were also encouraging other people to migrate (Unit 13, p. 210). The Labourers’ Union Chronicle published in 1874 a letter written by Christopher Holloway, telling the success of a farmer working in England ‘for 8s a week – house rent to pay, and a wife and three children to support out of that’ and able to build ‘a farm of 210 acres’ after migrating to New Zealand: this perspective was certainly attractive to agricultural labourers in a time of labour unrest in rural England during the 1870s (Holloway, 1874). In Kenya, settlers came to farm and develop the land, but the region also attracted speculators, gold prospectors and big-game hunters (Unit 16, p. 323). Ivory, in particular, ‘was the key commodity in Kenya’s nineteenth-century international trade’ and is supply ‘demanded a constant expansion of the hinterland’ (Ochieng, 1992, p. 45). Travel texts, like Joseph Thomson’s Through Masai Land, and adventure books also encouraged many young men to try their luck in Africa (Unit 16, pp. 322-3). In the 1920s, the British government, fearing that unemployment might lead to civil unrest, introduced legislation favouring colonial investment and advertised a programme of empire-settlement, but results fell far short of the ambitions of the promoters in Kenya, showing that government incentives were not the sole contributor to migration (Cain & Hopkins, 2013, pp. 575-6). In a nutshell, migration was motivated by ‘push’ factors, such as poverty or persecution at home, and ‘pull’ factors, such as a demand for labour, positive reports, government subsidies, or hopes of a better life: for Dudley Baines, ‘migrants made a kind of cost-benefit calculation based on expectations of life at home and the potential opportunities elsewhere’ (Unit 13, p. 210).
Colonists arrived in regions that were already inhabited and had thus to oppose natives in order to take control of coveted areas. In New Zealand, the British first settled in the sparsely populated southern part of South Island, basing their claims to the land on the doctrine of ‘terra nullius’ – empty land, available for colonisation (Unit 13, p. 206). The New Zealand Company bought land from the Maori but the scale of the settlements prompted tensions between them (Unit 13, p. 203). On 6 February 1840, Maori chiefs agreed to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, portrayed as ‘the founding document of New Zealand’, with different versions in English and Maori: whereas the English version granted full...

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