Primary Sources
Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Atlas of Germany's Colonies and Illustrated Yearbook, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1908, Togo


Borders : The German-French treaty dated July 23rd 1897 determines the colony's borders to the north and east; the border to the west was determined via the exchange of notifications between Berlin and London in 1904. The total area of the protectorate has been calculated at about 87,200 square km (larger than Bavaria, more than double the size of the province Silesia)

Population : January 1st 1908 : 268 Europeans, of them 239 Germans and 50 adult women. The black population numbers c. 1,000,000 (mostly estimates, few counts).
The south is inhabited by Ewe-Negroes, among them splinters of other tribes, in part related with those of the Gold Coast, mainly in the mountains. There languages, by and by, are replaced by Ewe. To the north of them dwell related smaller tribes of unknown (p.10) origin. Further north follow the Tim, Kabure and related tribes, and toward the west the Dagomba- Gurma-, and Barbara tribes.

Irrigation and Geomorphology : Strong surf along the 52 km long coast; disembarkation and loading/offloading of cargo difficult. The peer completed in 1905 at Lome has improved the situation; now passangers can disembark and cargo can be offloaded without damage.

Figure 1 : View at Lome from the tower of the Lutheran church. On the left : house of an indigenous, rented by the Deutsch-Westafrikanische Bank. On the right : house of the Norddeutsche Mission, behind it a guest house, opposite the post office (1).


The estuary of the Volta river, navigable in it's lower stretch, is located on British territory. To the south of the 7th degree of latitude, the lower stretch of the Mono forms the border to French Dahomey. The estuary is located on French territory. The Haho River, entirely located on German territory and emptying into the Togo Lagoon, is navigable only for light shipping (canoes) and only in the vicinity of it's mouth.

Figure 2 :
Construction of a road from Atakpame into the Akposso Valley.

Not navigable, but richer in water are the Todschie and the Schio, which, in normal years, have water year round. However, the first is British in its lower stretch, the former, like the Haho, German in its entirety (p.11) and feeds into Togo Lagoon. The Oti, feeding into the Volta not far from Kete-Kratji also is to be mentioned.
In the central area of the protectorate, a clearly structured, richly forested mountain range stretches in S-N direction, the average altitude of which is 600 to 700 m, in the Dai region 800 m, a number of peaks 900 to 1000 m. With 1020 m, the Agu Massive situated in front of it forms the highest point of Togo.

Climate : In the coastal area the average annual temperature is 26 degrees Celsius, in the interior 23 degrees Celsius. At the coast two clearly distinct rainy seasons, separated by dry seasons, from April to July and from September to the end of November; the latter sometimes fails to appear (drought years). The further one comes into the interior, the clloser the two rainy seasons approach each other, the dry season in-between thus 
shrinking. In the north the main dry season is clearly marked, less so in central and southern Togo. In the north the fall rainy season brings more rain, in the south the other way round. Precipitation along the coast 600-700 mm annually, in the interior 1200 to 1300 mm. In the Togo Mountains between Amedschovhe and Juma the annual precipitation reaches 1500 to 1600 mm, the maximum of the protectorate. The Harmatan, a hot, dry wind from the land, blows in December and the first half of January.

Flora : along the coast palms, along the lagoon Mangrove forests. In the coastal stretch the characteristic tree is the cocos palm tree. In the hinterland tree and grass savannahs, in southern and middle Togo with rich, in sothern North Togo with little, in the northern part of the colony without tree growth.

Figure 3 : Yams field in Nanumba

Forests only in middle and southern Togo, along the rivers and in the central Togo mountains. Economic plants (in cultivation or semi-cultivation) : oil palms, cocos palms, cautchouk trees, maize, peanuts, yams, cassada, cotton, cocoa, timber, schibutter tree, rice, beans, bananas, pineapple, mango, strophanthus, capoc tree etc. The exported cautchouk (nat'l rubber) was mainly tapped from lianas growing wild.

Fauna : in the coastal area there are few large animals. In the interior there are many species of monkeys, larger predators (lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas), hippopotami, a few elephants, wild boars. A rich avifauna, many species of snakes, among them the giant boa and puff adder. Alligators. Domesticated animals : sheep, goats, pigs (except in the north), dogs; chicken, guinea fowl, pigeons, ducks, rarely horses (in the north); 
cattle less frequent at the coast than in the north (in Mangu about 50,000, in Sokode 4,000 to 6,000).

Minerals : Near Banjeli and in Buem deposits of iron ore, hitherto only exploited by the indigenous. In the Ssola Mountains graphite deposits.

Trade : Export : main products : palm oil, palm kernels, maize, caoutchouc, cotton; of minor importance : ivory, cocoa, peanuts, copra and skins. - Import : cotton products, spiritualia, iron, iron tools, wood, wooden tools, tobacco, cigars, gunpowder, materials. Values of imports and exports see table on pp.5-8. Number of the merchant houses and companies active in the protectotrate on January 1st 1908 : 25.

Traffic : shipping 1905 : 247 ships with 419,000 register tons, 1906 : 194 ships with 269,000 reg.-tons, 1907 : 251 ships with 348,000 reg.tons. Passage fee : Woermann Line Hamburg-Lome I. 540 M., II. 390 M.
Railways : coastal railway Lome-Anecho (45 km) opened on July 18th 1905, Lome-Agome-Palime (123 km), opened January 27th 1907, approved (p.12) by Reichstag on June 16th 1904. The interests of the costs of 7.8 million Mark 
are paid by the protectorate. Under construction the line Lome-Atakpame, c. 180 km long, approved in May 1908.
Postal and Telegraphic Service : at the end of 1907 : 15 post offices, of them 13 with telegraphic and 2 with local telephone service; 407 km land telegraph lines. Traffic 1907 : 299,000 letters, 13,000 postal money orders over a total amount of 1,714,000 M., 9,100 parcels, 2.200 newspaper issues sent out and 49.000 ones which came in, 28,000 telegrams and 118.000 telephone calls. Postal connection : four times a month, delibery Berlin-Lome 17-21 days. Telegram fee per word 5.30 M.

Administrative Districts : Seat of the governor (presently Count Zech auf Neuhofen) is Lome. District offoces : Lome-Town and Lome-Land, Anecho, Misahohe, Atakpame, Kete-Kratji, Sokode-Bassari. Mangu-Jendi.
Police troops placed under German military personnel are stationed with the district offices and stations (150 coloureds).

(1) The illustrations are partially taken from the official annual reports on the protectorates, partially from the "Deutsche Kolonialzeitung" archive and from the publishing house Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen) in Berlin

Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch, (Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook), edited by P. Sprigade und M. Moisel, Yearbook and Remarks by Hubert Henoch. Berlin 1909, p.9ff.

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