The Impact of Gold Mining

in Worries of the Heart

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226554198
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226554228 | DOI:
The Impact of Gold Mining

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter presents the story of the discovery of gold in western Kenya. Willis Hotchkiss' biblical metaphors capture nicely the earthly expectations of the white gold prospectors. The discovery of gold in western Kenya provided a much-needed economic stimulus for the local people. The peasants in western Kenya had already suffered their share of misfortune at the beginning of that decade, as locusts and drought had destroyed their crops for three consecutive years. The locust invasions instigated an exodus of people to the mines to secure jobs and earn money to buy food. Wages in the mines were higher than those on the nearby sugar, tea, and sisal estates. Gold mining was clearly transforming Kakamega and its environs. It had given rise to a secular civilization that helped destroy the Christian villages by tempting people away from the church and village schools.

Keywords: gold mining; western Kenya; Willis Hotchkiss; civilization; Christian villages; locust invasions; mines; wages; church

Chapter.  5193 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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