The colonial history of Kenya started from the Berlin Conference of 1885, when the European powers first partitioned East Africa into speres of influence . In 1895, the UK govt. established the East African Protectorate , and soon after, opened the fertile highlands to white settlers. The settlers wereallowed a voice in govt. even before it was officially made a UK colony in 1920, but Africans were prohibited from direct political participation until 1944.
From October 1952 to Dec. 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the "Mau Mau" rebellion against British colonial rule. During this period , African participation during this process increased rapidly. The first direct elections for Africans to the legislative council took place in 1957. Kenya became independent on Dec.12, 1963, and the next year joined the commonwealth.