Christian missionaries in East Africa


  • Christianity was first introduced in East Africa by the Portuguese during the 16th century Francisco came and left behind the Franciscan Christian in Kilwa when by 624 AD worshipping centers wereestablished in Mombasa.
  • Towards the end of the Portuguese rule, Islam was introduced by the Arabs until the missionaries came in the 19th century.
  • The 1st missionary to come to East Africa was lowing who arrived in Zanzibar them Mombasa in 1844 and started converting people to Christianity.
  • Different missionary organization sent missionaries to East Africa and these were;- The holy ghost fathers, church missionary society. The mill hill fathers, the London missionary society, the Scottish mission and the university mission central Africa.

Should be taken that at the beginning missionary work was concentrated at the coast and they began
going into the interior from the second half of the 19th century.


  • The need to spread Christianity among Africans whom they looked at as pagans made the missionaries to come to east Africa.
  •  They were also interested in abolishing slave trade and slavery which they considered to be evil because it was causing misery and suffering among East Africans.
  •  They wanted to offer medical services to the sick Africans who were constantly big killed by tropical diseases like malaria and small pox.
  •  The missionaries came to provide western formal education and the Africans how to read and write.
  •  In addition, the missionaries come to civilize the uncivilized East African who were deeply rooted into their African cultures.
  •  They also came to introduce legitimate trade in East Africa so as to replace the evil slave trade and bring development in the region.
  •  Missionaries came to East Africa in order to pave way for the colonization of East Africa e.g. they came to soften the hearts of the East Africans and make them accept colonialism.
  •  Some missionaries came after being invited by some Africans leaders’ e.g. Kabaka Mutesa I of Buganda invited missionary teachers in his kingdom through Henry Marton Stanley.
  •  Some missionaries were adventures and explorers who came to East Africa just to Explorer new places.
  •  Some missionaries were inspired to come to East Africa just to fight Islam that had been established and had
  • become strong at the coast.
  •  It is believed that missionaries came to fight and end some African painful practices like circumcision and human sacrifices.
  •  The evangelical awakening in Europe in the 19th century influenced many missionaries to move to East Africa to preach/ spread the gospel including other parts of the African continent.
  •  Missionaries were inspired to come to East Africa to complete the great work started by Doctor David Livingstone whom they believed that he died before completing his works.
  •  Some missionaries because of insecurity that existed in Europe in 1848 revolution that swept the whole of Europe made them to come and secure their lives.
  •  It also believed that some missionaries came due to high population in Europe that time. There fore they came to reduce on the population pressure that existed in Europe at that time.
  •  They came to East Africa due to high rates of unemployment existed in Europe at that time. This was due to industries revolution that replaced human labor with machines.
  •  Presence of fertile soils which favoured plantation agriculture also attracted them to come to act up plantations.
  •  The favorable climate of East Africa characterized by sunshine, and rainfall attracted missionaries to come to East Africa.
  •  Presence of big chunks of land in East Africa which was not utilized made missionaries to come to utilize such land through settlement and farming.
  •  The presence of beautiful sceneries such as ports and habours, mountain peaks, valleys etc also attracted many missionaries into East Africa.
  •  The desire by the missionaries to get raw materials to feed their home industries forced them to come to East Africa.
  •  The hospitality of some East African communities especially the Buganda also made many missionary societies to come and stay in East Africa.
  •  Christian missionaries came to East Africa to invest their excess capital/ money through putting up plantations.
  •  The availability of cheap labour in East Africa whom the missionaries would use in their plantations made them to come and make good use of them.

Qn. Account for the missionary interest into East Africa during the 9th century (25 marks)(reasons
why they came to E.A)

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