Primary Source
Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1908, Deutsch-Ostafrika

Size : including lake surface 995,000 square km (= twice the Reich).

Population : About 7 million, perhaps up to 10 million. The most important element are Bantu negroes. The Bantu in the southern part of the colony are related to the Zulu. In the steppes of the north, until into the central region, the Massai which penetrated into the area from the north, live in statelets (Hamites, speaking languages of the Nilotic peoples). In the Northwest, between Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika, as the ruling class among the Bantu, the Hamitic Wahuma or Watussi. To the Zulus of the south belong the Wahehe, living under tribal princes (in the Rufiji valley) and the Mafiti; both tribes migrated into the area coming from the south.
The Suaheli are an ethnic mix of Arabs and indigenous; their idiom is the East African lingua franca. Besides the indigenous, along the coast reside Arabs (from Muscat and Shihiri), Baluchis, Indians, Parsees, Goanese, Syrians, Egyptians, Turks. Europeans 1904 : 1437, of them Germans 1102. 1905 : 1873, of them 1324 Germans and 316 adult women. Since 1904 the immigration of Boers and European settlers (Swabians from Russia, Reich Germans, Greeks, Italians etc.) into the Kilimanjaro region (Moschi).

Morphology : Deutsch-Ostafrika is part of the plateau stretching from Abyssinia to Cape Town, rising from the Indian Ocean westward toward the interior. It is structured by several rifts extending in south-northerly direction and reaches hights in the protectorate of 1,000 - 1,500 m and more.
At the northern border the double-peaked Kilimanjaro (western peak : Kibo, 6,010 m, eastern peak : Mawensi, 5,355 m), covers an area of 3,770 square km or 67 German square miles. To the left of the Kilimanjaro the Pangani, the Pare Mountains, steeply declining toward the west; to the east the Usambara Mountains. A continuation of the Pare Mountasins, on the right bank of the Pangani, the Useguha Terrasse. The Nguru Mountains form the beginning of the rim mountain range which continues, in the shape of a bow, through Ussagara and Uhehe and extends to the Nyassa. On the border between Ussagara and Uhehe the Ruhebo Mountains. In the Nyassa Mountains peaks of 3,000 m, on the northeastern corner of Lake Nyassa the Livingstone Mountains. In the protectorate's north west the mountains of Urundi and Ruanda. In the rift to the north of Lake Kiwu the Kirunga Volcanoes. (p.17)

Hydrology : the plateau in general is mostly dry. Rivers feeding into the Indian Ocean are, from north to south : the Umba, the Pangani (source at the Kilimanjaro), the Wami and Kingani (estuary opposite Zanzibar), the Rufiji, with the Kilombero and Ruaha; near the Rufiji estuary the island of Mafia; the Rowuma (border river in the south).
Into Lake Tanganyika feed the Mlagarassi, into Lake Victoria-Njansa the Kagera, the southernmost source of the Nile.
The three sweetwater lakes Lake Victoria (1,180 m above sea level, 66,000 square km = size of the Kingdom of Bavaria), Lake Tanganyika (795 m above sea level, 35,000 square km, size of East Prussia) and Lake Nyasa (500 m above sea level, 27,000 square km = province West Prussia) partially belong to the German protectorate. To the west of the Kilimanjaro are located Lake Guassonjiro, Lake Ejassi and Lake Manjara. Lake Rikwa, located norteast of Lake Nyasa, has an altitude of 810 m and empties into a basin without outflow.

Climate : Deutsch-Ostafrika entirely belongs to the hot climactic zone. From May to September the Southwest Passate wind is blowing, from December to March the Northeast Passate. The winds carry moisture onto the land and determine the rainy and dry seasons. Main meteorological station Daressalam, in addition 54 pluviometric stations.
Along the coast the short rainy season is expected in November, the long one in March and April. The coolest month is July, with nightly temperatures of 16 degrees Celsius, over day up to 35 degrees and more. Europeans can dwell in the highlands without damaging their health.

Flora : Along the coast, especially in estuaries, swamp vegetation; mangrove zone. Following Pori, bush steppe with frequent tree growth (Acacias, Baobab, euphorbias etc.). In the mountains extensive forests with useful timber. Cultivated plants : cotton, sisal, coffee, caoutchouc, cocoa palm, rice, bananas, pineapple.

Fauna : tropical fauna with apes, large predator cats, pachyderms, crocodiles. The protectorate's fauna is more closely related to that of southern Africa than to that of western Africa. A distinct, peculiar character has the fauna of the large lakes in the interior. Hunting products play a role in exports; animal breeding produces mainly hides and fur.

Minerals : In Ussongo and Ikome profitable gold deposits, at the Mlagarassi salt deposits, along the Njassa perhaps profitable coal deposits. At several places garnet and mica.

Trade : exported are caoutchouc, ivory, sesame, copal, coconuts, mats, cotton, hemp, indigenous lumber, skins and furs, beeswax, horns, copra, coffee.
Imported are cotton products, rice, flour, iron and ironwares, wine, beer, butter, sugar, meat and various food, petrol, cement, vegetables and fruit, tobacco, spirituals etc. For values of exports and imports see table on page 4.

Transportation : Railways : The Usambara Line is regularly served since 1905 on the stretch Tanga-Mombo over 129 km and enjoys rising popularity, also with the negroes. For the time being it shall be extended until the Pangani River (45 km). - Construction of the Line Daressalam-Mrogoro (225 km), approved by the Reichstag in 1904, has been begun in late 1904 and reached Mrogoro in October 1907. Extension for further 700 km until Tabora is approved.
Navigation : The eleven ports of the colony have been visited in 1906 by 562 steamers with about 1,520,000 tons. In addition many sailing boats (dhaus) participate in the trade. On Lake Victoria the German pinasse "Ukerewe" is sailing, along with many British steamers and many dhaus, both British and German. On Lake Tanganyika the "Hedwig von Wissmann", on Lake Nyassa the "Hermann von Wissmann".
Transit fee : Deutsche Ostafrikalinie, Line Genoa-Daressalam 1st class 675 Mark, 2nd class 350 Mark, main line Naples-Daressalam 1st class 750 Mark, 2nd class 525 Mark, 3rd class 300 Mark.
Postal and Telegraph Service : by the end of 1907 35 offices, among them 25 with telegram service and 5 with local telephone service; 2,418 km overland telegraph cables. 1906 : 2,249,400 letters, 65,952 postal money orders, total amount 18,900,000 Mark; 17,948 parcels, 257,498 newspaper issues, 150,108 telegrams, 76,774 telephone calls. Postal connection : 4-5 times a month, time of delivery Berlin-Daressalam 19 to 23 days, telegram fee per word to Bismarckburg and Udjidji 3.15 Mark, to the other offices 2.75 Mark.

Administration : Seat of the governor at Daressalam. The protectorate is structured in now 22 districts. 12 of them are under civilian administration : Tanga, Pangani, Bagamojo, Daressalam, Rufiji, Kilwa, Lindi, Wilhelmstal, Morogoro, Langenburg, Ssongea, Moschi and 10 under military administration : Kilimatinde, Mpapua, Iringa, Udjidji, Usumbura, Bismarckburg, Tabora, Muansa, Bukoba, Mahenge.

Schutztruppe : 1907: 2510 men, distributed over the following locations : Aruscha, Iringa, Lindi, Iraku, Ubena, Sasawara, Kilimatinde, Mkalama, Kwa Mtoro, Daressalam, Udjidji, Bismarckburg, Rutschugi, Bukoba, Ussuvi, (p. 18) Kifumbiro, Mbejera, Usambara, Tabora, Mahenge, Kondoa-Irangi, Liwalo, Muansa; 15 companies and one machine gun detachment.


Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies with Yearbook), edited by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). Berlin 1908, p.16ff.

GM (digitalisation) and AG (translation) 
posted on the web for psm-data; many thanks to

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz 

Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz


Dokument in deutscher Sprache