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African history

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Company attempted to persuade the British government by arguing that the building of the CAR would open up the interior of the British East African territory to trade(Gunston 56). The British government bought the idea, although it soon turned out to be a failure. The lightly laid 60cm gauge line was launched at Mombasa in August 1890. Only 11km of the track were laid before the CAR project was abandoned, although materials had been imported for 113km. In a rather desperate move to salvage the situation and justify the use of the British taxpayer’s money, materials for CAR were diverted and used to extend the existing manual street trolley facility on Mombasa Island. However, even the diversion meant more cost to the taxpayer as the street trolley and CAR were considerably apart; CAR was based on Mombasa Mainland while the street trolley system was based on Mombasa Island. The reasons the project was abandoned are not clear.It was not until 1891 that real progress was made as far as the planning of the UR was concerned. In early 1891, the British government advised the IBEA Co. to raise capital of £1.25 million for the construction and equipping of a metre gauge railway line from Mombasa to Lake Victoria(Gunston 63). On its part, the British government promised to guarantee interest on the capital sum. As a result, the company commissioned three eminent British Engineers – Sir John Fowler, Sir Guildford Molesworth and General Williams – to undertake a study on the feasibility and likely cost of constructing the railway. On their report following the study, the three engineers underestimated the African communities that would be affected by the project (the Kamba, Kikuyu and Nandi) and the ways they would impact work on the railway. The engineers did not anticipate any opposition from the natives, a fatal mistake as will be demonstrated in subsequent paragraphs.Work on the UR started in earnest on Mombasa Island in early 1896 following the arrival of George Whitehouse, the Chief Engineer of the project, and his team at Mombasa in December 1895. The priority was to establish, at Kilindini, new port facilities capable of handling railway equipment and supplies. The old dhow harbour at Kilindini was not suited for the development of the port facilities(Foran 188). Another priority was the construction of a temporary bridge linking Mombasa Island and the mainland. The bridge was completed in early August 1896, paving the way for track-laying on
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preview essay on African history
  • Pages: 10 (2500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Ph.D.
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