Numerous legends recount how various clans migrated to the present territory. Much remains unclear about when and how the migrations occurred. By the mid-nineteenth century, the current ethnographic map of east-central Kenya had taken shape. The Mbeere maintained a variety of shifting relationships with neighboring groups, particularly the Embu, Kamba, Kikuyu, and Chuka. Periodic raids for livestock or grain occurred in times of economic distress. Peaceful trading sometimes took place. The European penetration of East Africa reached Mbeere in 1851, when the German missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf crossed the Tana River. The British established a protectorate in Kenya in 1895 and secured control over Embu District in 1906. Catholic and Anglican missionaries soon followed and established the first schools. Travel and social connections to towns and cities have been facilitated by great improvements in roads. Increasing rates of literacy and the availability of telecommunications further enhance awareness of national and international events affecting local communities.