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Imperialism | Colonial Policy

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Atlas of Germany's Colonies and Illustrated Yearbook, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1910, Retrospective on the Development of the German Protectorates in the Pacific in 1909
Retrospective on the Development of the German Protectorates in the Pacific in 1909

In the so-called old protectorate, Neu Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and in Kaiser Wilhelmsland peace prevailed year round. Chiefs from the islands, which so far hardly had been included in the area of our protection, came to Herbertshöhe, asked for cap and stick as tokens for the fact that they, from now on, wanted to exercise their chiefdom under German protection. Scientific researchers were eagerly active; partially with very practical goals in mind, as in the case of Hauptmann Friederici, who during 7 months crossed our island group searching for phosphate deposits.
No changes have been observed in the white population in the old protectorate, neither in the Carolinas, Marianas and Marshall Islands, or only negligible changes. From official side it is stated that the number of marriages with coloureds has declined, and that the immigration of European women rises. It is too early to judge if this development, which is to be welcomed, will last. Any success depends on the sanitation of traffic centers, of the improvement of living conditions, the elevation of the standard of living and the accessibility of recreation facilities at higher elevations.
Further the health condition of the white population was relatively good. The coloured population, unfortunately, is not yet accustomed (p.32) to, in case of sickness, ask for the assistance of Europeans. Among them the infant mortality is extraordinary, if one does not observe childless parents. Among all tribes, child care is unsatisfactory; this can only be altered if mission and government doctor cooperate on a wide scale.
The main indicator of the economic development, copra, is favourable. The exports of the Bismarck Archipelago have increased considerably, while they slightly decreased for Kaiser Wilhelmsland. Unfortunately the prices were not high for 1908. As we are informed from official side, the production again increased in 1909. The cultivation of caoutchouc and coffee are still in their infancy. We will have to wait a while for practical results of Schlechter's Guttapercha expedition. Fortunately at present more attention is spent on the rich timber stands of our island world. Five steam sawmills operate in the protectorate at present, but only for the domestic market and our own demand; yet it is to be expected that a market will be found in Australia. The transfer of the government from Herbertshöhe to Simpsonhafen has not yet been undertaken.
On the West Carolinas unrest among the natives has continued into 1909. In the year's first months, police troops established a 20 km long path across Ponape, and on March 2nd a landing detachment of S.M.S. Jaguar for the first time crossed the island on this new path. Now it is possible to penetrate deeper into the island than before. Further, suggestions by the district chief regarding the abolition of feudal order have been accepted. The Ponape men declared themselves willing to work 15 days per year without pay for the district office.
The Mortlock men, which had been shipped to Ponape in 1907, in January 1909 have been shipped to Saipan, where they shall be settled for good. It is planned, to transfer the population surplus of the central Carolinas by and by to the thinly populated, but fertile high islands. Unfortunately the Mortlock men were struck, in consequence of the change of their homeland, of diseases.
The most important event for the Western Carolinas is the establishment of the Deutschen Südsee-Phosphatgesellschaft (German South Seas Phosphate Corporation) in Bremen with 4 1/2 million Mark capital, which aims at the exploitation of the phosphate fields in the Palau Islands, especially on Angaur. Work began in February 1909. The island is connected with the cable station in Yap by wireless telegraphy and thus is connected with the world cable net. As workers on Angaur Chinese are employed; difficulties occurred, so that attempts were made to hire workers from Jap, Palau and the central Carolinas. These islanders unaccustomed to regular work shall be useful workers.
Unfortunately, as established by the census of 1908, does the population of Jap decline; in 1907 alone 200 died of dysentery.
On the Marshall Islands both phosphate production and the trade in copra have developed favourably. Here also, because the importation of Chinese coolies met with difficulties, Carolinians were hired as labour, and the attempt was successful.
On the occasion of the district chief's journey through his district the population on the Ralik and Ratak groups was counted, all in all 9267 heads, considerably less than hitherto estimated. The natives have said, that in 1907 alone, in the northern Ralik atolls 400 persons died of diseases connected with the cold. Almost everywhere the lack of young men and children is apparent. Phosphate exports, established in 1907 with 700,000 Marks, rose in 1908 to 3.3 million Marks. Most of the phosphate are exported to Australia, only a small part is shipped to Germany and England. This phosphate export resulted in a considerable profit for the protectorate's finances. Samoa suffered from unrest among the natives, which for some time were regarded threatening (p.33). Then the ringleaders were arrested and deported to the Marianas. A census established the Samoan population at c. 33,500. 
The number of whites, now 468, slightly increased over last year's figure. The white planters mostly cultivate cocoa and caoutchouc; yet still copra is the main export product, and caoutchouc does not yet appear in the export tables. Samoan cocoa, despite the fall in prices, has received favourable evaluation. With justification complaints are made about the bad traffic connections of the colony. For some time San Francisco and Apia had a regular connection. So far, only the steamers of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand guarantee regular delivery of the mail according to schedule. But mail directed this way requires 41 if not even 47 days. In the protectorate people would be at ease if it lasted only 36 days. Regarding the participation of the white inhabitants in the administration, the official report notes, that livelier interest in financial matters in the government council is noticed, since the protectorate's needs are paid for from her revenues; this is easy to comprehend.


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 1910, p.31ff.

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