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Imperialism | Colonial Policy


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

In the previous year, the history of the protectorate was dominated by border regulation. On March 11th the Anglo-German agreement fixing the border between Yola and the Cross River was signed. At the same time Franco-German expeditions formed in order to fix the colony's southern and eastern border according to the Morocco-Congo Agreement took up their work. This has been completed in the present year and the officers and researchers, which had to function in the respective departments, returned to their homeland in the fall of 1913. Last year the handover of the exchanged territories also has taken place, the last piece, the larger part of the ceded Logrone area, was handed over to France on June 1st and we were given possession simultaneously of areas located further south, to the north and south of the Ubangi tip. The border commissions have worked in five individual departments. Minor arguments with natives disregarded, they have fulfilled their task peacefully and provided us with valuable service concerning the knowledge of land and people in the acquired territories.
The protectorate of Kamerun, according to a preliminary survey by the geodetic bureau of the Reichskolonialamt, has an area of about 790,000 square km, while Alt-Kamerun covered only 495,600 square km; in this figure (p.23) [image] lakes, especially our share in Lake Chad, are included, as well as Kamerun Bay and the creeks feeding into her. Now, Kamerun is only 45,000 square km smaller than Deutsch-Südwestafrika.

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For long she has been called a neglected colony. Hopefully this is going to change, after the secretary of state of the Reichskolonialamt has visited her for several weeks in September and October and has shown keen interest; but also because one the main causes for her backwardness has been registered, the lack of transportation routes.
In order obtain information on the opening of Northern Kamerun, Governor Dr. Ebermaier travelled there late in 1912, to return only in June 1913; in the course of his trip he visited Lake Chad. The leading administrator of the protectorate had the opportunity to find out about the situation of the administration in general, the policy concerning the natives, the missions and schools, trade and transportation, agriculture and livestock breeding, as well as their influence on the general situation in the north. Other administration officials also have undertaken extensive field trips, for instance the health commissioner into the areas affected by the sleeping disease in Neu-Kamerun and the commissioner for economic policy into the area bordering on Spanish Muni.
Missions of more scientific character also have been dispatched; here the expedition lead by Prof. and Mrs. Thorbecke, sent by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft into the area between Dschang, Dumban, Tibat and Joko deserves to be mentioned. Other expeditions aiming at the exploration of Neu-Kamerun are still out.
Regarding the reaction of the natives on the occasion of the takeover of the newly acquired territories the official report comments : "As the newly acquired territories are concerned, the takeover has met no resistance, a single clash disregarded, which the 10th company had to stand through, which was given the order to occupy the Wolo-Ntem district. Yet it cannot be denied that both in the east and the south, the natives, hitherto under French administration, observe us with suspicion. This has been caused by false information, invented by a malevolent mind, on structure and purpose of our administration, which had been spread. Under the circumstances it is not susprising that the first acts of our administration and the activity of the border expeditions met passive, in singular cases even active resistance, and were testing the patience of our troops which had been ordered to proceed with the utmost hesitation. In individual cases violence for the purpose of self defense could not be avoided. Namely the Fang tribes of the south proved difficult from the start, forcing the administration of the Iwindo district in cooperation with the southern border expedition to proceed, in order to facilitate undisturbed surveying, against the Sanga Sanga men who had never been subdued by the French."
At the end of the report year conditions naturally have not yet calmed down; still in May, in the Muni district which is inhabited by particularly unrulty people, skirmishes have occurred, in which a white NCO fell. How far instruction and appropriate treatment can go, has again been proven in the report year.
The general relation of the administration with the natives improved, undisturbed by the events previously described incidents based on special conditions. A few exceptions disregarded, taxes are paid willingly, instructions of the administration carried out, impulses by the administration in the economic, sanitary, policing and similar sectors find keen interest.
The production by the natives has greatly declined because of the steep fall in prices for caoutchouc. The native cultivations, namely those of cocoa, on the lower Sanaga (p.24) and especially in the Jabassi district, have better prospects. In 1912 the coloureds in these stretches have brought 715 tons of cocoa to the market. The government supported their activity in this field by dispatching experts and inspectors. The Dualas, too, habe established farms on the coastal rivers, where they cultivate yams, makabo, planten, maize and maniok, with all the more vigour as the intermediary trade which used to be so profitable, is declining. At larger settlements, also at the larger caravan stations in the interior, products such as these always find a customer.
The European plantations have gained considerably in size, the total area under cultivation having been extended from 20,000 ha to 28,000 ha, the number of employed workers from 13,272 to almost 18,000. The cocoa plantations of Mt. Kamerun had a major share in this expansion. Today they cover more than 150 ha, but suffer of lack of labour.
Under such favourable circumstances, foreign trade grew from 1911 to 1912 by almost 1/7; trade with the motherland also increased markably. If this increase continued into 1913 can not be stated yet. The fact that the import of brandy has, after the fixation of the new tariffs, considerably decreased, is satisfactory.
For the colony the connection by the cable of the Deutsch-Südamerikanische Telegraphen-Gesellschaft is of special importance. The stretch Lome-Duala was taken into operation on January 18th 1913, so that from that day the protectorate, in its communication with the motherland, has become independent from the English cable corporation.
The range of the radio station at Duala, taken into operation on March 3rd, has been extended by the establishment of a station on Fernando Poo, which is especially desirable for communication with ships passing by and with the Spanish government general. Finally a kind of courier mail is mentioned, named "Flaggenpost" (flag mail, because of badges the couriers are wearing) which has been introduced in large tracts of the colony for the disoatch of urgent official mail.
As expected traffic has developed favourably along the northern railroad, opened on April 1st 1911. The construction of the central railroad proceeds only slowly, as the dense jungle is an extraordinary obstacle. The terminal on the Njong riber shall be reached in 1916. Presently 153 km are in operation, until just behind Edea.
The number of contract workers and day labourers employed in railroad construction on average amounted to 5000. Feeding and lodging have been supervised by the government through labour inspectors. The construction of a field railroad parallel to the railroad and the use of dry excavators for the movement of soil in larger ravines shall contribute to a faster progress of railroad construction.
If the government has given up the plan of the so-called southern railroad because of cogent reasons not to be discussed here in detail, it does not fail to recognize the necessity to open the south of the protectorate by a dense network of roads and to connect it with the central districts which are served by the railroad. The importance of Kamerun's south for the colony's economic question is without doubt. Within the funds available, the raisingof which, by considerable amounts, is planned, in the report year works were carried out vigorously to expand the road network.
The backbone of the entire road system in the south is the large road from Kribi via Lolodorf to Jaunde, 286 km long, and the branch road to Ebolowa. Along the first 80 km the old wooden bridges have been replaced by concrete and steel constructions, so that the Jaunde street more and more is fit for trucks, while caution still has to be used. As a consequence, several houses have joined to form the Südkameruner Lastautomobil-Gesellschaft m. b. H. (Southern Kamerun Truck Corporation L.T.D.). The government also uses several motor vehicles.

Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch, (Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook), edited by P. Sprigade und M. Moisel. Berlin 1914, p.22ff.

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