The East African country of Kenya was settled by Europeans at the start of the twentieth century. The settlers concentrated in the fertile central highlands, mainly farming coffee and tea. They displaced large numbers of the Kikuyu tribe who had worked the land as migratory farmers for centuries.
During the early 1950s, resentment grew amongst the Kikuyu tribe against European settlement and their lack of political representation. These attacks increased and a state of emergency was declared by the Governor Evelyn Baring in October 1952. Leading members of the organisation, including Kenya’s future president Jomo Kenyatta, were detained by the authorities.
The Mau Mau stepped up its attacks on European settlers and Kikuyu, culminating in the attack on the village of Lari in March 1953 in which 84 Kikuyu civilians, mainly women, and children, were murdered. British troops began to reinforce local forces to try and counter these attacks.
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