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Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1905
Retrospect on Togo's Development in 1904

Retrospect on Togo's Development in 1904

(p.6) For Togo, 1904 has been a year of success. On June 16th the budget for the construction of the railway line Lome-Palime have been approved. It will be 122 km long, cross the 90 km wide oil palm zone and reaches into the areas especially well suited for cotton plantation. It gas special importance in spanning the dangerous tsetse-infected areas. The construction should be finished in October 1906; this, anyway, has been assumed in the treaty. Three passenger stations, two loading stations and four intersections are planned. In order to facilitate the construction of the railway, the protectorate is granted a credit over maximally 7.8 million M., to be paid back over a period of 30 years at an annual interest rate of 3.5 %. A gauge width of minimum 1 m has been prescribed.
(p.7) The coastal line Lome-Anecho (Klein-Popo), begun early in March, has almost been completed. The gauge width has a posteriori been extended to 1 m. Completion may be expected for early 1905.
The pier taken into sevice on January 27th 1904 has stood the test in March and April this year. On days when the sea was calm, wares can be landed in the surf; on days with poor weather, one has to use the pier. Using it, on one day alone 153 boat loads could be landed and 23 boat loads could be shipped. Pier fees have so far not been collected. But the pier is used by most companies. At the foot of the bridge, next to the rails, a customs office has been constructed, with a customs storage house, made from sandy concrete. The costs for pier including customs office and customs rails have amounted to about 800 000 M.
There has been some progress in the construction of roads. The regulation of streets in Lome has been continued by street widening, strengthening and paving, similarly in Anecho. In all districts, the network of roads has been extended, by the fixation of roads and the clearing of bush. At a few places, bridges and dams were necessary. In most cases, tax workers were employed as workforce. In the districts Lome, Misahohe and Atakpame a regular waggon service has been introduced, establishing a regular connection between Lome and Palime; hitherto loads had exclusively been transported by carriers. As it proved difficult to find the number of carriers required to transport the goods into the interior, the introduction of this waggon service is of eminent importance. The lack of carriers is increased because of the coastal railway's demand for workers, and it certainly will not diminish when the large line is constructed. For the future larger amounts should be necessary in order to finance maintenance and new establishment of roads and bridges. The district Anecho organizes its transport mainly on the lagoon and the Mono. In March 1904 the navigability of the central and lower Haho river has been examined again, with the result that, except on the lower 12 km, the river is not navigable for boats at any time of the year.
Regarding the number of the ships who entered the protectorate's two ports in 1903, a decline by 10 to a total of 297 is registered, because freught steamers did not visit the roadstead repeatedly in the report year, as they used to do in earlier years.
Border regulation. It is of importance for the Togo protectorate, that a new border line in the northern territory has been established by the exchange of notifications between the Reich government and the royal government of Great Britain on July 26th 1904. The necessary border-marking posts have been erected by a German and an Englich commissioner. By the means of this border regulation, Togo is the only German protectorate in Africa, the border of which to its neighbours have all been fixed.
A census has taken place on January 1st 1904. It established that the white population has been grown, in comparison with last year, by 21 to a total of 189 persons. Of these, 179 are Germans, 4 Swiss, 3 Britons, # Americans. By occupation, 62 are government officials (8 less than last year), 32 priests and missionaries (5 less than last year), 6 planters and farmers, 44 merchants and traders (as compared to 35 last year). Of the men, only 18 are married, 10 of whom have brought their women over into the protectorate. Regarded to the indigenous population, we depend on estimates. According to official sources, hitherto the black population has been overestimated considerably; it should not exceed 1.5 million. Lome has about 4,000 indigenous inhabitants.
Agriculture. Cotton cultivation takes first place; it is cultivated both by the people as well as on large plantations. The rentability of plantation cultivation, for instance on large scale in the plantation Kpeme and on a smaller scale on the plantation of the Togo Company located in the interior, can only be determined after years of experiments. The cultivation of cotton by the indigenous is progressing slowly, but steadily. In part, cotton is cultivated on fields which have grown yams, maize, cassava or peanuts, to give the soil time to recover. It will extend, when the number of men now employed as carriers will reduce due to improved transportation (railway), freeing the men for productive agriculture and especially cotton plantation. The last harvest amounted to 1000 bales, as opposed to 400 last year.
1903 has been extraordinarily infavourable for palm oil and palm kernels, normally the country's main products, so that the export figures, compared to last year, declined by more than half. After the abundant rainfall in October and November 1903 and after rich precipitation in the rainy season, beginning in March 1904, expectations for 1904 are more favourable.
The exploitation of caoutchouk has increased considerably, from 72,000 kg at a value of 367,000 M in 1902 to 95,000 kg at a value of 640,000 M in 1903. The rising prices for rubber on the world market will, to all probability, have the consequence (p.8) that also on 1904 larger quantities of rubber will be extracted and exported.
Only relatively small areas in Togo are suited for the cultivation of cocoa. Also for the coffee tree, of some importance in earlier years, no extension of its cultivation is to be registered. The rather difficult cultivation of Kola also experiences only a slight extension. Of other agricultural products, only maize is of interest for export; in 1903 a value of 100,000 M. was exported. Among the experimental gardens, the one near Lome shall no more be extended, as its results have validity for a rather limited area, and conditions for the cultures tentatively in question for the coastal stretch have sufficiently been established. On the other hand, the large number of stations inland as well as most dependent stations have created larger and smaller experimental plantations. From Atakpame it is reported that the indigenous population is not yet mature enough to plant difficult cultures. Better reports arrive from the Misahohe district. The indigenous are supported by the stations by the handout of seed material. A promotion of the experimental garden at Misahohe to an experimental and educational station under the qualified administration, in order to produce better seeds and to systematically educate the indigenous in the various cultures, is desirable.
Little can be said regarding cattle-breeding.
Trade : on the organization of trade, we quote a newly published memorandum "the sale of imported Europeasn wares is facilitated partially by consumers' direct purchase in the coastal factories and their branches in the interior, in part via indigenous middlemen who offer the wares on the numerous markets. The advance of branch factories damages the middlemen's trade. In the protectorate's northern stretches Haussas dominate the intermediary trade almost exclusively.
Trade in the land's export products for the most part goes through the hands of middlemen. These purchase the products on the markets and deliver them to the factories. The trade in palm kernels and palm oil is, for the most part, done by women, that of rubber by men. In the southern areas, barter trade has been almost completely eliminated. Purchases and sales are conducted for/with cash; the indigenous partially still prefer the English coin over the German. German 5 Pfennig coins are rather popular.
The report year was adverse in regard to trade, as caused by the last years' drought the country's harvest declined considerably. This resulted in a decline of exports as well as in - via reduced purchasing power of the indigenous - a decline in imports."
Trade in 1903 had been adversely influenced by the drought. We do not have the fifures for 1904 yet, but we assume that the import of textiles and clothing have increased, which leads us to the conclusion that the indigenous' purchasing power has increased. In 1903, the German-British customs agreement for the Volta River Triangle has been cancelled, expiring on April 30th 1904. This cancellation is in connection with the railway project Lome-Palime. In order to acquire the financial means for interests and downpayments, the companies established in Togo have proposed to raise import tariffs. Negotiations with Britain concerning a continuation of the customs union did not yet lead to any result. In September 1904, a basic understanding regarding the fixation of tariffs for brandy has been achieved not only with the British Gold Coast Colony, but also with France for Dahomey. The memorandum comments at the end : "There is no interest of the colony of Togo to renew the customs union, if a liberation of trade on the Volta river as well as across the Volta River from bank to bank is not simultaneously achieved by agreement with Britain. So far, the upper british sector of the customs union territory has 
benefitted most of the customs union; its ports (Kitta, Denu etc.) have attracted a not insignificant part of the trade with the German hinterland, because of the possibility of customs-free import, at the expense of the coastal German trade factories and of the protectorate's finances."
The difficulties the language question has arisen early in 1904 have to be mentioned. Matters have been arranged in such way, that from January 1st 1906, besides the indigenous languages only German may be used as language of instruction in mission schools.
The Gouvernment Council formed in accordance with the decree of December 24th 1903 in Togo consists of 7 non-official members, of them 4 merchants (2 from Lome, 2 from Anecho), 1 planter and 2 missionaries (one each of the two confessions).

(p.9) A few, easily suppressed insubordinations disregarded, peace has in no way been disturbed in the year 1903 in Togo.


Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies with Yearbook), edited by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). Berlin 1905, p.6ff.

GM (digitalisation) and AG (translation) 
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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz 

Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz


Dokument in deutscher Sprache