The Missionary Factor in East Africa

By Roland Oliver | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
THE MISSIONS AND THE EUROPEAN OCCUPATION, 1885-95

1

THE GERMAN INRUPTION into East Africa in 1885 1 started a train of events which converted the missions into an important vehicle of militant imperialism in Europe, with consequences which vitally affected their future standing in Africa. This fact is outwardly surprising, since in Germany itself the awakening of missionary interest was a by-product rather than a cause of the imperialist movement. The promoters of German colonialism were mostly rich Hamburg merchants, who neither sought nor commanded the support of the predominantly Pietist and socially inferior missionary groups.2 The much-quoted Fabri3 was, it is true, a director of the Calvinistic Barmen Mission; but both he and his society were strongly criticised by the Lutheran-Evangelical majority,4 who were already fully

____________________
1
I take for convenience the date of the publication of the Imperial Schutzbrief.
2
Mirbt, 'Die Bedeutung des Pietismus für die Heidenmission', AMZ. 99. 145.
3
Author of a celebrated pamphlet, Bedarf Deutschland Kolonieen?, Gotha, 1879. It is quoted by M. E. Townsend in The Rise and Fall of the German Colonial Empire, and by P. T. Moon in Imperialism and World Politics, rightly as an example of imperialist arguments, but wrongly as an example of the German missionary viewpoint.
4
See especially AMZ. 92. 441.

-94-

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