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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 Togo Protectorate in 1909
Retrospective on the Development of the Togo Protectorate in 1909

The protectorate started into the report year with a white population of 330. The strong increase is a consequence of the construction of the railroad Lome-Atakpame. The white population also increased considerably, when construction of the railroad Lome-Palime was begun in 1905; especially the number of engineers and technicians has risen. But, due to the colony's favourable economic situation, the other population elements also have increased. We do not yet know the figures of the economic and trade statistics for 1909. But as in the little favourable year 1908 imports and exports increased considerably, this certainly has been even more the case in the report year, all the more as the prices for the colony's main export products were good.
Nothing special has to be mentioned regarding the results of the European plantation enterprises; no corporation has achieved profits worthy to report.
Construction activity at the major places can be interpreted as an indication of consistent development. Not only in Lome and Anecho, new factory buildings and larger houses have been built, but also in places in the interior such as Atakpame, Palime and Ho. It is to be stated with satisfaction, that more and more natives build houses in European style. So, a coloured man has built a large residence with storage room, which he leased for many years to a French company.
This will extend deeper and deeper into the hinterland, with the progress of the railroads. Officially it is pointed out, with justification, that the peoples of Togo are willing to produce, but that they lack the opportunity to market their products, because cheap transportation is lacking, that they lack access to the world market. The completion of the railroad Lome-Atakpame in part will make up for this; however already today the demand for a continuation via Basseri, Banjeli etc. must be raised. Then the native farmers, even in the remote parts of the country, will intensify and extend their cultures.
Construction on the newly approved railroad Lome-Atakpame was begun on September 7th 1908. Works progressed regularly. The revenues of the entire transportation facilities, including the pier, which had been extended by a considerable stretch (taken into service on January 27th 1909), the coastal railroad and the line Lome-Palime, have been rather favourable for 1908 and the first half of 1909 (later data are not yet available) and have considerably surpassed the minimum interest of 306,500 Mark.
Construction of the new railroad was begun with 200 workers and then was extended until the workforce reached 2,000. The workers were provided to construction planning by the government. This explains the administration's desire to have labour commissioners supervise construction and make sure that they are treated justly and properly. The natives quickly learned to regard the labour commissioner, a government secretary fluent in the Ewe language, as the guardian of their interests. They found protection against excessive treatment, but had to accept the punishment of lethargic or obstinate persons. At all times the supply of labour was sufficient; it only fell short, when the natives were occupied by seasonal farm labour.
The Togo negroes are an excellent material; the administration even is in state to select administrative personnel from among them. A number of coloureds are employed in offices, in the customs and sanitary service, in the printing office and in the schools. The conditions of their employment have been regulated in an ordinnance (p.13). They receive attractive salaries; after the completion of five years of service they are paid a premium of 200 Mark, and after serving 25 years are entitled to a one-time payment of 1000 Mark.
Cotton cultivation, in Togo almost exclusively in the hands of natives, has developed satisfactorily. Exports in 1908, of 419,000 kg, had a value of more than 366,000 Mark. The expected increase in the production of oil palm products also has materialized. The administration still regards it necessary to study the living conditions of the tree, in order to run experiments to improve the cultivation. However, so far a suitable person has not been found.
Unfortunately, the sleeping sickness has appeared in the districts Misahöhe and Kete-Kratschi, so that German medical doctors had to be brought into the area.
It is rather probable that the natives keep silent about the disease, on purpose, as they dislike when the victims are isolated. The health conditions of the Europeans, as of the natives, in other respects were satisfactorily. Health conditions on the railroad construction site can even be described as continually good. Only six natives have died, and among the Europeans there have only been a few cases of Malaria infections. The good conditions may be credited to the fact that the government had insisted the construction company to employ a medical doctor and to establish health stations. - All in all, in order to participate in the work of colonisation, in our colony the natives are asked to cooperate in the furthest degree.


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.12f

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