Primary Source
Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Atlas of Germany's Colonies and Illustrated Yearbook, edited by P. Sprigade and M. Moisel, 1914, Deutsch-Südwestafrika's Development in 1913
Deutsch-Südwestafrika's Development in 1913.

What we have described as desirable last year seems to realize : the protectorate will be given a railroad into the Amboland, the terminus of which will be located to the west of the Etoscha pan, just 150 km distance from the Kunene. At least the protectorate's Landesrat, on an extraordinary session in November approved the budget for it. Hopefullt Reichstag does not fail to see the necessity for this railroad.
Considering the thinly spread population, without the Owambo not even 70,000, our economic enterprises, especially the diamond mines of the south, require coloured migrant labour; for the time being, only Owambo qualify for this. Early in 1913 they streamt again southward in larger numbers; over 9,000 workers moved here from the northern part of the colony. While the farmers and the diamond business still complain about lack of labour, this should not lead to attempts to import workers from Togo, Kamerun or Ostafrika, where they are also urgently needed. The government has facilitated labour migration of the Owambo by establishing lodgings in Outjo and Windhuk. Since the north-south-railroad was completed, these facilities are used by migrant labourers on their way to Lüderitzbucht and adjacent stretches.
The number of white inhabitants has increased by 366, of whom 250 were women. The population of the districts of Grootfontein, Omaruru and (p.28) Okahandja has increased most, while the south, but also Rehoboth, experienced a decline. This is partially explained by the fact that railway workers became dispensable.
The economic situation of the colony has developed slowly, but steadily. The protectorate has been injected with fresh vigour by the approval of the Kreditinstitut, which enables farmers as well as estate owners at home to take up credits guaranteed by the state, in order to secure their business by ameliorization projects. Another positive impetus was the regulation of diamond arguments; the taxation of the gros value has been replaced by the taxation of the profit. The farms have been so succesful, thanks to favourable climatic conditions, that they call for the opening of new markets. The government has called on the farmers to estimate the numbers of animals ready for slaughtering; the figures are 11,000 oxen, 2,000 cows, 6,000 calfs, 60,000 sheep. Even if these numbers are a little too optimistic, the farmers' desire to secure a permanent market for the meat production of Deutsch-Südwestafrika is to be regarded as justified. Fortunatelt, attempts have already been made to process the meat here. Single ships calling at Swakopmund have taken supplies of Southwest African pickled meat on board, and their evaluation of its quality is extraordinarily favourable.
Experts again and again drew the farmers' attention at breeding wool sheep. The official annual report states :
"Angora- and wool sheep breeding are expanding more and more, despite the difficulties, mainly caused for wool sheep breeding by long lasting draughts and the resulting losses, which have to be expected especially in the south, less frequently in the center and in the east. The conviction is gaining ground, that wool sheep breeding can only be pursued on large scale, if all available irrigated areas produce fodder for times of need and lack of fodder.
The risk of sheep breeding can be reduced even more and her successes increased, if the opening of new water sources, the construction of dipping facilities and fencing continue and more information and knowledge is gathered regarding the breeding of wool sheep. An obstacle is the fact that the natives are untrained in the treatment of wool sheep and that they have to be instructed in herding them.
The prices obtained for wool and mohair encourage to increase the production of these export articles. The cross-breeding of Karakul has expanded and found the interest of more farmers. In all parts of the country there is a demand for bucks, to such an extent that the Karakul shepherdry was not capable of meeting it."
More attention is also spent on ostrich breeding. The same source previously mentioned elaborates as follows :
"The ostrich breeding farm Otjutuesu was further expanded. In order to further improve breeding, two pairs of South African breeding ostriches were imported. The establishment of the model ostrich breeding farm and her success has attracted the interest of farmers. Several farm owners already have imported valuable ostriches and taken up rational ostrich breeding. - Perhaps because of the extreme draught during the last breeding period, the majority of the ostriches imported in 1911 contented with one nest each. The 10 breeding pairs together laid 147 eggs. 8 breeding pairs bred their eggs themselves; the eggs of the other two pairs had to be placed in incubators. 
The result was 87 chicks, 12 of them from the incubators. The chicks from the incubators were relatively weak and lagged behind in growth. Of the 87 chicks, 13 (15 %) died in the first 3 months. At present there are 27 breeding ostriches on the farm, 20 young ostriches (first generation bred here), 74 chicks (second generation) and 11 wild ostriches for experimental purposes. In 1914, 16 birds of the first generation will be distributed to farmers.
Fortunately the second feathers, ready for cutting, of the first generation, in no way fall behind the quality of their parents' feathers. This is proof that within the protectorate, good care and appropriate keeping provided, rational breeding of high quality ostriches is possible."
Because of the good example the administration gave, the farmers turned their attention more and more toward horse breeding. Fortunately in the last year there were only a few cases of horses dying from an infectious disease. Despite little rainfall there was sufficient pasture.
The low amounts of precipitation did not permit agriculture to flourish as much as one could have desired. Still, the area under agriculture again has expanded. Farmers strive to produce the vegetables they need to feed the natives and to consume themselves on their own soil. Maize, millet, beans, fodder melons and at many locations recently also tobacco are cultivated. The pipe tobacco of Osona is esteemed in the entire country. The samples of Turkish cigaret tobacco sent to German cigaret producers have been evaluated favourably. Wine and fruit cultivation again have expanded. More and more of the harvest is treaded within the protectorate. The official report remarks :
"The state experimental station for wine and fruit cultivation at Grootfontein, which in future will supply the colony's north with vines, fruit- and lemon trees, has proceeded so far in her task, that until the end of the report year 17 ha land were arable and in part irrigated. Further a well was opened which produces about 250 cubic meters of water per day; the water is collected in several ponds and from there lead into the fields. The variety of soils, varying from humus, humous sand and lime soil, in combination with favorable water conditions will allow experiments on a wide-ranging base and it is to be expected that the station will fulfill her task, which includes experiments in the cultivation of all kinds of grain, with success in any respect." (p.29)

African cows [click here!]

A satisfactory increase has to be registered in the mining sector. Diamont mining has produced an unexpectedly high yield, and due to favourable agreements the carat was sold for 45 M instead of 30 M., which caused considerable extra revenue not only for the mining company, but also for the state. The total number of found diamonds between April 1912 and March 1913 was 6,687,000. The average size of the diamonds has increased, not inconsiderably. As an indication that diamond mining is not done in primitive surface work, it is mentioned that machinery is employed everywhere and that the Deutsche Diamanten-Gesellschaft has constructed a narrow-gauge railroad from Prinzenbucht to Bogenfels, 45 km long. Still we don't know where the original deposit of the glittering stones is; the origin of our Deutsch-Südwestafrikanische diamonds is as nebulous as it was in the beginning. The Otavi mines also achieved higher yields, while the tin mines did not live up to expectations. The marble quarries near Karibib could not go into full operation yet, as their machines were not yet completely installed.
That Deutsch-Südwestafrika is our prime settlement colony, in part calculated on permanent residence, can be seen from the type of the private and public buildings. The official report points out that architectonically and in regard to their interior, these are in all cases rather simple; yet everywhere many new buildings were constructed. The population did not increase much until the last census on January 1st 1913; it is hoped that the increase in 1915 is higher.

Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch, (Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook), edited by P. Sprigade und M. Moisel. Berlin 1914, p.27ff.

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