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Birth of a Nation

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This article is about the comic article. You may be looking for the film.

Birth of a Nation is a four page article about real world history, as it connected to the adventures of Indiana Jones. Written by Kurt Busiek, it was published at the end of the issue #4 (the second half of British East Africa, September 1909 ) of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles comic series in May 1992, accompanying the events of the comic, and appears after the article The Man with the Big Stick.


The article explored the history of Kenya, especially its progress from being British East Africa to the independent country of Kenya.

In prehistory, East Africa was the home of Homo erectus, the evolutionary predecessor to the modern Homo sapiens. However, modern Kenya's geography is not very compatible with human settlement - half the country is desert, but the southwest highlands (including the Kirinyaga area, were home to the Kikuyu, an agricultural tribe, and the Maasai, a warrior tribe. In the southeast, along the coast, many outside traders were visiting Mombasa Island and the Tana River valley, including Arabs, Greeks, Persians, and later the Chinese, though through the middle ages, the area was under Arab control. In 1505, after Vasco da Gama had returned from his journey to East Africa and India, Portugal sacked Mombasa and took control for two centuries. The Arabs retook the territory in early 1700s, and Arab and Swahili merchants managed the slave trade. In 1815, the rulers of Mombasa offered to give up the country and abolish the slave trade in return for British protection, but after two years, the British returned control to the Sultan of Oman, who allowed the resumption of the slave trade. By the late 1800s, the area fell under the control of the Imperial British East Africa Company, which had leased the region from the Sultan of Oman. In 1895, the British government stepped in and formed the area as the British East Africa Protectorate. In order to control the land and stop the constant intertribal warfare, the British began building a railway, the Uganda Railway. The construction of the railroad brought in many troops to quell the Maasai, as well as laborers from India, and then encouraged European settlement along the route, sometimes on Kikuyu lands. The safari industry also grew up in this time.

During World War I, British East Africa went to war against neighboring German East Africa, and many British settlers and safari hunters, like Frederick Selous, led units or formed irregular cavalry troops. After the war, more British settlers arrived, especially soldiers seeking land for settlement. In 1920, the protectorate was given full colony status and renamed Kenya. Ethnic tensions, between the minority white settlers, the larger population of Indians, and the still larger population of native Africans led to the declaration by the Colonial Office that that the natives had greater priority. In World War II, though there was some fighting in East Africa, African troops serving in Burma against the Japanese saw the inequalities in treatment between themselves and their white comrades.

After the war, an underground movement by the Kikuyu, called the Mau Mau Uprising, began, and used guerrilla tactics to try to win back land stolen from them. A State of Emergency was declared in 1952, and was not lifted until 1960, even after the main leaders, like Jomo Kenyatta, in the uprising were captured. Black Africans had started demanding a greater role in governmental power, and by 1960, the British government began the process to grant Kenya full independence, give black Africans a full vote, and liquidate white settlement. In 1963, the country achieved independence, and Jomo Kenyatta became the first prime minister. Kenyatta turned Kenya into a one-party state, becoming president for life, and racism forced many of the Indians out in the 1960s. In 1977, hunting wild animals became outlawed, which led to widespread poaching. Kenya's other modern problems include overpopulation and struggles over land use.

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