1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/German East Africa

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GERMAN EAST AFRICA (see 11.771). This protectorate was conquered in 1916–7 by British and Belgian forces, and German sovereignty over it was renounced in the Treaty of Versailles. The six years immediately preceding the outbreak of the World War had been a period of much administrative and commercial activity in the protectorate, the principal achievement being the completion of the railway from the Indian Ocean to Lake Tanganyika.

According to official returns the native inhabitants in 1913 numbered 7,659,898. Europeans numbered 5,336 (compared with 1,954 in 1908), of whom 4,107 were German, 411 British (including about 300 Dutch South Africans) and 336 Greeks. Coloured persons other than natives numbered 14,898, of whom the majority were British Indians. Of the natives some 185,000 were domestic slaves. The Reichstag early in 1914 passed a resolution desiring that slavery should cease by Jan. 1 1920. To this policy of fixing a date for the emancipation of the slaves both the governor (Dr. Schnee) and the Imperial Colonial Secretary (Dr. Solf) were opposed. About 300,000 natives professed Islam ; adherents of the various Christian missions numbered over 200,000. The principal towns were the seaports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga which had in 1913 about 900 and 300 white inhabitants respectively Tabora, on the central plateau, and Ujiji-Kigoma, on Lake Tanganyika.

The high price of Ceara rubber on the European markets led to a great increase in the number of plantations, especially in the hinterland of Tanga, where British capital was largely interested. In 1910 rubber took first place in the exports of the protectorate. Other industries much developed were sisal and coffee growing, while cotton was also cultivated on a larger scale. The increased productivity was reflected in the trade returns. In the five years 1908–12 the value of exports rose from 543,000 to 1,570,000, and that of imports from 1,289,000 to 2,515,000. A good deal of the exports passed over the Uganda railway, but Tanga, as receiving the produce of the Usambara Highlands where lived the majority of the Europeans handled the largest proportion.

About 54% of the trade was with Germany; India, adjoining regions of Africa, and the United Kingdom took nearly all the rest of the trade. About 90% of the shipping was in German hands. Labour on the plantations was obtained through licensed recruiters; during 1911–3 the administration introduced regulations with the object both of ensuring sufficient labour for the planter and of proper treatment of the natives engaged. Most of the natives employed in the Usambara Highlands came from distant parts of the protectorate; about 25% of them renewed their original contracts.

Much energy was shown in developing communications. The Northern or Usambara railway, with its sea terminus at Tanga, had reached New Moshi, a distance of 218 m., by 1912. The Central or Tanganyika railway, 787 m. in length, was completed in Feb. 1914. Like the Usambara line it is of metre gauge. Kigoma, a good natural harbour near Ujiji, was chosen as the lake terminus. The Government bought nearly nine-tenths of the shares of the company owning the railway. The line, running from E. to W. through the centre of the country, and supplemented by a steamboat service on Tanganyika with over 400 m. of navigable water afforded a very large area of east-central Africa easy access to the sea. From Tabora, through which the Tanganyika line passed, surveys were completed for a railway N. to the Kagera river on the Urundi- Ruanda border. The building of this line was begun in 1914, but construction was stopped in 1916.

Wireless telegraphic stations were opened at Mwanza and Bukoba, on Victoria Nyanza, in 1911 ; a high-power station at Dar es Salaam was completed in 1913 and another was erected at Tabora in 1914.

The administration was in the hands of a governor who had the aid of a council consisting of three official and 15 unofficial members elected in three districts five for Dar es Salaam and hinterland, five for Tanga and hinterland and five for the rest of the protectorate. This council had, however, advisory powers only. Education was partly undertaken by the Government, but that of natives was largely in the hands of missionary societies, prominent among them being the Church Missionary Society and the Universities Mission.

Revenue increased from 702,000 in 1910 to 966,000 in 1912; the chief sources of revenue were customs and a hut or poll tax of three rupees per annum on all adult male natives. The expenses of the civil administration were met from local receipts; an imperial subsidy was received for military expenses, the grant in 1913 being 180,000. The budget of 1914–5, the last framed by the German authorities, balanced revenue and expenditure for the civil administration at 1,023,000, with 165,000 subsidy for military expenses.

History. The result of the adoption at the instance of Herr B. Dernburg (then Colonial Secretary) after his visit to the protectorate in 1907 of a policy based avowedly on a study of British colonial methods is seen in the progress recorded above, not least in the increase in the European population. The demarcation of the N.W. frontier in 1910 settled a long and troublesome controversy with the Belgians and British and placed almost the whole of the important sultanate of Ruanda in German territory. In Ruanda a military administration was established; the authority of the sultan was impaired, not broken.

In July 1912 Dr. Albert Schnee, an official who had served in London and in New Guinea, assumed the governorship in succession to Baron von Rechenberg. Dr. Schnee was a man of energy and it was in part due to his efforts that the Dar es Salaam railway was completed two years before scheduled time. la 1913 Dr. Schnee started a vigorous anti-Moslem campaign, apparently regarding Islam as a danger to the country. He sent a circular to all military stations asking for a report on what could be done by means of Government servants and Government teachers to counteract effectively the spread of Islamic propaganda. “Do you consider it possible,” the circular added, “to make a regulation prohibiting Islam altogether?. . . . The encouragement of pig-breeding among natives is recommended as an effective means of stopping the spread of Islam. Please consider this point also.” And Dr. Schnee, by administrative orders, considerably harassed the important Moslem community at Dar es Salaam. This anti-Moslem attitude was dropped at the outbreak of the World War and a violently pro-Islam attitude substituted. By Dr. Schnee's authority a proclamation was- widely distributed inciting the Moslems to a holy war against the British. Schnee also later on permitted the deliberately degrading treatment of British civilians interned at Tabora to continue until, in July 1916, he realized that that place would fall into the hands of the Belgians.

Early in 1914 Lt.-Col. von Lettow Vorbeck arrived at Dar es Salaam and took over the command of the protectorate military forces. He had just completed a tour of the country when the war broke out. Up to March 1916 the civil administration continued with little alteration, and Dr. Schnee was tenacious of his authority up to the time when in Nov. 1917 he was compelled to flee from the protectorate.

Apart from the military operations the last years of German rule in East Africa—1914–7—were remarkable for the manner in which the Germans, cut off by the British blockade from outside supplies, were able to provide for their necessities. They had indeed adventitious aid. An exhibition was to have been opened at Dar es Salaam on Aug. 12 1914 to celebrate the completion of the Tanganyika railway, and for the use of the many visitors expected large quantities of European foods had been imported. In 1914 too the natives had large stocks of corn and cattle, and the country itself furnished milk and eggs. The abundance of wild honey largely made up for the lack of sugar, and rhinoceros fat was much esteemed. But all this apart, the Germans showed much resource. They manufactured whiskey and benzine, soap, tea, chocolate, biscuits, cigars and cigarettes, paper, calico, boots and quinine.

The British and Belgians established their own administrative machinery in the regions they respectively occupied, but by a decision of the Supreme Council in May 1919 the whole of German East Africa was assigned to Great Britain as mandatory. Nevertheless, in virtue of an agreement reached in Sept. 1919 nearly the whole of the provinces of Urundi and Ruanda were added to Belgian Congo. The British-governed area over nine-tenths of the whole protectorate was renamed Tanganyika Territory (see Tanganyika Territory).

See a valuable report by Vice-Consul Norman King, Annual Series, No. 5171, published by the British Foreign Office, 1913; A Handbook of East Africa, prepared for the British Admiralty, 1916; A. F. Calyert, German East Africa (London 1917); Gen. Smuts, “East Africa,” Geog. Jnl. vol. li. (1918) ; and the authorities cited under East Africa: Military Operations.  (F. R. C.)