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Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1908, Retrospect on the Development of the German Protectorates in the Pacific in 1907
Retrospect on the Development of the German Protectorates in the Pacific in 1907

The German Protectorates in the Pacific, namely Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, the Bismarck-Archipelago, the Carolinas with Palau and the Marianas, the Marshall Islands and Samoa have also in 1907 been fully spared by the elements, as it had repeatedly been the case in the previous years. These taifuns, in tremendous fury, have annihilated the cultures of entire islands for years to come, and the population would have starved to death, if the German government would not have come to their aid, supplying them with food and partially shipping them to other islands. On Samoa, in uninterrupted activity the volcano of Sawaii has poured streams of Lava downhill, in part subterraneously, so that they fed into the sea. But the cultures have suffered considerable damage from absconding gas. 
Peace has been undisturbed, almost everywhere. The collection of the weapons of the Micronesian groups has continued without disturbance. These peoples, which we believed to be doomed, have not only stopped to decline in number, but frequently increased in number, as this has been undisputably proven by a census on Samoa.
With a few exceptions, the white population also has increased. On the Marshall Islands, naturally, it declined, because the administration of Jaluit has been terminated and thus the number of officials has declined. On the other hand it grew, where, as on Nauru, newly started large enterprises attracted people. Relations between the white and coloured population have not only been peaceful, as previously mentioned, but there are indications that, on the side of the aborigines, the benefit of colonization is begun to be seen. As an example the measures taken by the Governor of Samoa for the benefit of the coloured population are mentioned. This was expressed when the chiefs and representatives of the Samoans held a Fono, a chiefs' assembly according to old tradition, at Apia on August 14th and 15th. As everywhere, where lower races get in contact with Europeans, among the Samoans a careless attitude in regard to the sale of land has been observed. Gradually, a large proportion of Samoan property has passed into European hands. Related with it is carelessness in taking up credits. It was a ceremonial moment, when, on this Fono, the white-haired Mataafa, in the name of the Samoan people and of his sub-chiefs, proclaimed the resolutions of the chiefs assembly, according to which future sale and lease of land is forbidden. It had a certain seriosity, when the governor admonished the assembly, to overcome the tendency toward lazyness, which is inherent to the inhabitants of this paradisical land more than to other inhabitants of the earth, and to take on regular work. In future, land sales may only be conducted in the presence of experts, and not without their approval.
Perhaps the most important event on Neuguinea was the Guttapercha- and Caoutchouc Expedition, begun in summer 1907, supported with a sum of about 1,000,000 Mark by the German Colonial Society; it is calculated to take 3 years and to bring thorough information regarding the presence of Caoutchouc and Guttapercha in Kaiser-Wilhelmsland. The expeditions begin at Konstantinhafen and reach mainly into the Oertzen and Finisterre Mountains, as well as into the Ramu valley and the Bismarck Mountains. Already at an earlier date, Guttapercha had been found in the Oertzen Mountains. So far the expedition has brought satisfactory results, and found gutta trees at several locations.
In the report year, Neuguinea, for the first time, exported a small amount of Caoutchouc, which achieved good prices in Hamburg. The main worry is to acquire workers well-instructed in the tapping of the trees. Unfortunately 
the natives have proven not to be suited, so that Javanese had to be enlisted (p.24).
The economic development of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, unfortunately, progresses slowly.
The large enterprise of the Neuguinea-Kompagnie can not plant the lands at its disposal as fast as it wishes, because of lacking workers. The enlisting of foreign workers has become more and more necessary.
The small settlers settled in the Baining Mountains seem to thrive, and losses caused by death and emigration have been replaced immediately. One has begun to settle more settlers on further farms. It has been judged by official site, that it still has to be seen if the measure is a success.
The phosphate open-cast mines of Nauru and a few adjacent islands gradually gain great importance for the entire Pacific colonies. They have already contributed to elevating the revenues of the Micronesian island region over that of the old protectorate of Neuguinea; they promote import and provide occupation and nourishment for a large number of persons. For the current year, a phosphate export of 75,000 tons is expected, for which the protectorate is given a fee of 25,000 M. As workers, on Nauru Chinese are employed.
These also play a decisive role in Samoa's economy, because due to the lethargy of the aborigines, no plantations could operate otherwise. In recent years no complaints regarding their actions have been heard, so that the governor has decided to permit those plait-bearers who have acted decently to prolong their stay in the protectorate. In China people think that thir men in Samoa live well.
The Samoan cocoa culture would be unimaginable without the Chinese. This product is of sprecial, highly-priced quality. Because of the favourable economic development, we may expect the time to come, when it will become completely independent from the motherland's finances. This would be a nice triumph of Governor Dr. Solf, who, as the representative of the German Kaiser , is in charge of the administration of this island for almost a decade.
Overall the Berlin Chamber of Commerce assesses progress of our Pacific colonies, which it describes as all the more remarkable, as, on Neuguinea, the Carolinas and the Marshall Islands, is to be thanked to a rather small number of enterprises, and as all areas, including Samoa, suffer under unfavourable labour conditions, as well as from a location far from the arteries of world traffic, which places upon them extraordinarily high burdens, especially shipping rates.


Books concerning the South Sea in 1907

Kleintitschen, Miss P. A. Die Küstenbewohner der Gazellehalbinsel, ihre Sitten und Gebräuche unt. Benutzung der Monatshefte, m. Kn, (The coastal inhabitants of the Gazelle Peninsula, their customs and traditions, with reference to the Monatshefte) Herz-Jesu-Missionshaus, Hiltrup b. Munster i. Westf.

Parkinson, R. Dreissig Jahre in der Südsee, Land und Leute, Sitten und Gebräuche im Bismarckarchipel und auf den deutschen Salomoinseln. (30 years in the Pacific. Land and people, customs and traditions in the Bismarck Archipelago and on the German Solomon Islands) Strecker & Schröder, Stuttgart 1907. 16 M.

Schultz, Oberrichter Dr. Sprichwortliche Redensarten der Samoaner. Gesammelt, übersetzt und erklärt. (Sayings of the Samoans. Collected, translated and explained) E. Lübcke, Apia 1906.

Further information on literature and maps 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.23f

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