Chapter 5

NCERT
Class 9
History
Solutions
3. Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.

Question:

Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.

Answer:

The Maasai was a community of cattle herders in Africa. Their population was nearly 300, 000 in Southern Kenya and 150,000 in Tanzania. This community occupied a vast land from North Kenya to the steppes of Northern Tanzania. This vast area of lush green grass provided ample forage for their herds.

European countries tried to possess territories in Africa and divided many regions into different colonies. In 1885, they cut Maasailand in half with an international boundary between British Kenya and German Tanganyika. The Maasai community lost about 60% of their pre-colonial lands. They were confined to a dry zone with uncertain rainfall and poor pastures. The government encouraged the peasant community in East Africa to expand cultivation and convert pasture lands into cultivated lands.

The Maasais faced a continuous loss of their grazing lands and this affected their lives in times of drought and even reshaped their social relationships. The colonial government also converted grazing land into Game Reserves like the Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengeti Park in Tanzania. Pastoralists were not allowed to enter these reserves. That's how their grazing grounds were once again confiscated. They were restricted to small areas. They were not allowed to hunt or graze their animals in the reserved areas. Due to this large number of cattle die of starvation and disease.

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