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Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1908, Retrospective on the Development of the East African Protectorate in 1907
Retrospective on the Development of the East African Protectorate in 1907

In 1907 the undersecretary of state in the ministry of colonial affairs, Herr Dernburg, has visited Deutsch-Ostafrika from August until October, and on this occasion he not only acquainted himself with our protectorate, but also with Zanzibar and the neighbouring British colony, not only with the coast, but also with a part of the interior between Lake Victoria and Tabora. His Excellency Herr Dernburg has not benn the first of Germany's 
leading colonial officials who visited one of the colonies, he had a predecessor in Herr Kayser, the first German colonial director, but no one in his position has stayed in the colony for so long and noone so far has undertaken to study all the colonial problems where they arise, and, based on these observations, to draw his conclusions, as the present head of the central German colonial administration has done.
His Excellency Herr Dernburg has repeatedly spoken about the results of his journey, for the first time at the 25th anniversary of the German Colonial Society in Frankfurt on December 5th, for the last time, so far, in Reichstag's budget commission on February 18th.
It can not be concealed that the circles involved in the utilization of the colonie have expressed widely diverting opinions and wishes, but Reichstag, which in cooperation with the undersecretary of state, has to determine the guidelines of German colonial policy, and not a small part of the German public, perhaps even the overwhelming majority - have, more or less, accepted his position. It has been called too friendly to the natives, the prospect of an uprising has been described, which the natives would lust for, because they do no more sense a severe and strict hand ruling over them.
The undersecretary of state has cited just this prospect as an argument to support his policy toward the natives : he fears that stricter, exaggerated severity would cause the natives to rebel. The core of his opinion is expressed in the following sentences, taken from his speech on February 18th 1908:
"In Ostafrika, we must - and this is the basis of our authority - keep everything together by the respect the administration enjoys, by the severity with which it acts against any insubordination, by the technical support of the railways, which, as you know, still provide an imperfect service, and by the confidence it enjoys from the side of the blacks. We must introduce and keep up an energetic, just, trustworthy administration, and we have to teach the people that they gain an advantage from German rule. It is very difficult to make them understand this, because the advantages they had, so far, have been small in proportion, compared to the disadvantages the German administration has imposed on them, according to their own perception, concerning the alteration of their traditions, taxation, controls etc."
In any case it may be stated, that the protectorate only can benefit from a visit by the highest official of colonial policy, and even more, as this visit draws the attention of the general public at home, more than usual, at Deutsch-Ostafrika and the work accomplished there by 1956 Germans, for the honour and benefit of the fatherland.
Over the last year, the white population did not increase with the speed which had previously been the case; still it rose by 7 %, i.e. from 2465 to 2629. This figure does not express that much, it does not reveal that, for instance, the numbers of officials, soldiers and missionaries have risen only slightly, while the productibe population, lets say the nourishing estate, have risen by about 25 %. The statistical table reveals, that the 
number of children dropped by about the same percentage. This conspicuous phenomenon finds a natural explanation that a large number of Treck Boers, who have many children, have emigrated from Moschi on Mt. Meru, where they had begun to settle down, into the adjoining British colony.
The figure of the coloured population in Deutsch-Ostafrika is unknown. Lately, estimates have given the figure of 9 to 10 million, which might be too high. Unfortunately the indigenous population, as far as we can observe, is declining. The rebellion which began in August 1905 has caused heavy losses in wide districts in the south; overall, during the report year, 75,000 men are believed to have died from war, misharvest, famine and diseases.
Otherwise there is no reason to complain about the health situation in the protectorate. A great difficulty has lately been inconveniently experienced, the fact that the coloured inhabitants of the plateaus and mountain ranges and neither willing nor capable to work in the plains.
(p.19) The labour question is Deutsch-Ostafrika's main problem. Presently it is not that pressing, but with the natural growth of the plantation economy it will become more and more visible. The colonial administration has refused to force the natives to work by the means of enforcing regulations, but, on the other hand, it is not clear in regard to the measures which are to be taken. Insiders place great hopes in the extension of the railroad network, because already at the present it facilitates labour migration in the protectorate, i.e. it will be feasible to transport workers from the more densely populated interior to the coast or to wherever they are needed. Certainly, many years will pass until we justifiedly can talk of a railroad network in the protectorate.
The passed year has brought us the completion of the line Daressalam-Mrogoro. But what do these 220 km mean compared with a total distance Daressalam-Lake Tanganjika of about 1000 km ! The funds for the line Daressalam-Mrogoro, as is recalled, have been provided by Reichstag decision of June 16th 1904, and the first cut with a spade has been performed by the third son of our Imperial couple, Prince Adalbert. Numerous adverse conditions, bad weather and lack of workforce, rebellion and others, have delayed construction that long. On October 9th undersecretary of state Dernburg was the first to ride on the new line.
A railroad in Deutsch-Ostafrika offers the best prospects, as shown by the Usambara Line; in the report year it produced a considerable surplus, so that the construction firm has expressed its willingness, based on this surplus, to gradually extend the line. Of course, in such a way many years may pass until Mt. Mery will be reached. On the other hand, it is urgently needed to establish a railraoad connection with this district, where, according to the statistical table, already 365 white settlers reside, which is required for the acquisition of goods and the shipment of products. The year 1907 with rising desire to emigrate into the German colonies has focussed the attention of the educated circles on Deutsch-Ostafrika. The administration complains, that these emigrants, with a certain degree of carelessness, expect everything from the administration, and do not want to contribute anything on their own. On the other hand it may be stated that without far-reaching promotion and support, by railway lines and other concessions, the settlement of the healthy highlands in East Africa's interior by whites can not be achieved.
On Mt. Meru, since 1906 about 10 Swabian families reside, which have previously dwelled in the Caucasus. The memorandum remarks that their accomplishments are satisfactory and that they have shown to be diligent. But they would be unpractical, analphabets and clumsy. If the judgment is correct, is rather doubtful. One should be thankful that in the colony which long has been regarded as a purely tropical plantation region, white settlers have settled down.
Does the government not underestimate the importance, also the political one, of white immigration ? Of course, during its initial period it requires promotion, but a large number of plantations, large and small, is now operating on its own, the labour question disregarded. The times are past when, still in 1895, it was possible for elephant tusks to account for half of German East African production. Caoutchouc is also experiencing a downward trend. Then plantations of small cultures of the indigenous have to provide new export values. It is difficult to say which product will replace it, and this depends from the world business cycle. Caoutchouc is still top, while sisal already has somewhat declined. Both products don't give cause for fears for any kind. The development of German East Africa's cotton production justifies great hopes, while we are still far from challenging the American competition.
Without doubt, Deutsch Ostafrika, our largest colony also is the one which once will be the most beneficial to the motherland. The area, double in size compared to the Deutsches Reich, is inhabited by 10 million coloureds at the most. There is plenty of room for a white population, which, as the educator of the natives, can and will unlock the treasures of the soil.
Just the last years and their results show that the country's production can be increased considerably; has the colony's total trade doubled between 1903 and 1906, exports risen by more than double between 1902 and 1905. In the face of such successes we do not have to lose heart when we fulfil our colonisatory duty, in any aspect.


Books and Maps pertaining to Deutsch-Ostafrika in 1907

Assmuth, H.: Baumwollen-Kultur in Deutsch-Ostafrika. (Cotton Cultivation in Deutsch-Ostafrika) with 13 illustrations 1907. M. 1,-.

Brandis, Hauptm. a. D. L. v. Deutsche Jagd am Victoria-Nyansa m. K. (German Hunt at the Victoria-Nyansa) Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen). Berlin S.W.48, 1907. M. 8.

(p. 20) Busse, W.: Vegetationsbilder aus Deutsch-Ostafrika. I. Zentrales Steppengebiet. (Vegetation Images from Deutsch-Ostafrika. I. Central Steppe Region) 1907. M. 4,-.

Fonck, Hauptm. H. Deutsch-Ostafrika. Eine Schilderung deutscher Tropen nach zehn Wanderjahren. I. Die Schutztruppe. II. Reisen und Expeditionen im Innern, m. Sk. III. Land und Leute. Vossische Bucht., (Deutsch-Ostafrika. A Description of the German Tropics after 10 Years of Wandering. I. The Schutztruppe. II. Travels and Expeditions in the Interior. III. Land and People. Vossische Bucht.) Berlin 1907-08. M. 1,50, 2.-, M. 2,-.

Fuchs, A., Wirtschaftliche Eisenbahn-Erkundungen im mittleren und nördlichen Deutsch-Ostafrika unt. Mitwirk. des Landwirts A. Haunter, m. K. (Economic Reconnaissance in Central and Northern Deutsch-Ostafrika, with the collaboration of Farmer A. Haunter, with map) Kol.-Wirtschaftl. Komitee, Berlin 1907.

Kalkhof, Oberamtsrichter, Parlamentarische Studienreise nach Deutsch-Ostafrika. Reisebriefe. (Parlamentarian Educational Trip to Deutsch-Ostafrika) D. Reimer, Berlin 1907. M. 2.

Paasche, Oberlt. z. S. H. Im Morgenlicht. Kriegs-, Jagd- und Reise-Erlebnisse in Ostafrika. (At Dawn. War, Hunt and Travel Experiences in Ostafrika) 2nd edition C. A. Schwetschke & Sohn, Berlin 1907. M. 12.

Perrot, B., Die Zukunft Deutsch-Ostafrikas. Soll Deutsch-Ostafrika eine deutsche Kolonie werden oder eine hamburgisch-indische Domane bleiben? (Deutsch Ostafrika's Future. Shall Deutsch-Odtafrika become a German Colony, or shall it remain a Hamburgian-Indian Domain) H. Walther, Verlagsbuchh. G.m.b.H., Berlin 1908. M. 3.

Pfeil, Dr. J. Graf v. Zur Erwerbung von Deutsch-Ostafrika. Ein Beitrag zu seiner Geschichte. (On the Acquisition of Deutsch-Ostafrika. A Contribution to its History) K. Curtius, Berlin 1907.

Schrabisch, H. K. v. Leitfaden für Ansiedler. Unter spezieller Beurteilung von West-Usambara. (Manual for Settlers, with special Consideration of West-Usambara) C. A. Schwetschke & Sohn, Berlin 1907. M. 1.

Velten, Prof. Dr. C. Prosa und Poesie der Suaheli. (Prose and Poetry of the Suaheli) published by the author, Berlin 1907. M. 7,50.


Moisel, M. Map of Deutsch-Ostafrika. 1 : 2.000.000 with indication of the utilizable deposits and with a survey of the relations of Deutsch-Ostafrika to the other German colonies in Africa, 3rd edition, D. Reimer, Berlin 1907. M. 6.

Map of Deutsch-Ostafrika, in 29 sheets and 6 attachments, at a scale 1 : 300.000. Begun under supervision of Dr. R. Kiepert, continued under guidance of Paul Sprigade and Max Moisel. At the commission and with the support of the Reichs-Kolonialamt. Sheet C. 1, Udjidji 65x50 cm. C. 2., Rutschugi-Posten. 58x76 cm. M. 1,50 and M. 2,-. 1907. Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen). Berlin SW. 48.

Further information on literature and maps on Deutsch-Ostafrika are contained in "Dietrich Reimer's Mitteilungen". - 4 numbers of 30 Pfg. each annually. Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen) Berlin SW. 48.


Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies with Yearbook), edited by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). Berlin 1908, p.18ff.

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

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Dokument in deutscher Sprache