Lamu Island first came under the British sphere of influence in 1890. The British had not taken a great interest in East Africa until Germany began to establish a colony to the North modern Etheopia. in 1890, the area around Witu was transferred to the British and along with it, Lamu Island.
Witu has been a German protectorate from 1885 but becomes part of the British sphere of influence in 1890, based on the treaty signed in that year with Germany.
The British East Africa Company, from its base in Mombasa, extended its activities along the coast to the border with the Italian sphere of influence in the north and to Lake Victoria in the west and from 1890, across Lake Victoria further inland into Uganda.
However, as the British East Africa Company did not manage to show a profit, it is forced to transfer its rights to the British government: in Uganda in 1893 and in the rest of British East Africa in 1895. The British subsequently form the protectorates of Uganda and British East Africa in 1894 and 1895 respectively.
By 1877 some letters from Coast were being taken north from Lamu to Aden by ships of the British Steam Navigation Company, although the bulk of mail was being transmitted via Zanzibar. A system of mail-runners was developed and expanded by the British East Africa Association, while individual traders and concessionaries organized their own service. That enjoyed the use of distinctive postage stamps in 1889-90.
A regular postal service in British East Africa was introduced in May 1890 and post offices opened in Mombasa and the island of Lamu.