The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914

The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914

The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914

The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914

Synopsis

The first book in a planned series dealing with the social structure of the European colonial services in Africa, this volume examines Germany's military and administrative personnel in the colonies of German East Africa, South-West Africa, Cameroun, and Togo: their performance on the scene, their educational and class background, their ideology, their continuing ties with the homeland, and their subsequent careers.

Although the African colonies played a negligible part in German trade and foreign investment, they were profoundly affected by thirty years of German rule. Brutal and overbearing though many German administrators were, they had substantial achievements to their credit. Among other things, they introduced European technology, medicine, and education in their colonies, and they laid the groundwork for today's states by establishing firm geographic boundaries and building an infrastructure of ports, roads, and railways.

Excerpt

The present work is intended as the first in a multi-volume work designed to elucidate the sociological and functional characteristics, the achievements as well as the shortcomings, of the white empire builders, civilian and military, during the age of the "New Imperialism" in Africa. The present volume on the Germans before 1914 will be followed by parallel studies on the British, the Belgians, the Portuguese, and the French. We shall later deal with the evolution of the colonial establishments, and end with the sociology of decolonization. We have concentrated on the white bureaucrats and military officers, their social backgrounds, general preconceptions, and modus operandi, but we soon found that we could not dissociate the rulers from the ruled, or the bureaucracies from the wider social and economic framework in which they operated. This study then evolved into one that shows how the Germans ran their empire and portrays the colonial elite and their work in Africa. It is meant as a contribution to Euro-African history or to the history of Europe in Africa.

The Kolonialreich extended over four separate and widely dispersed territories. It comprised many peoples--Stone Age hunters in the Kalahari desert, Nama pastoralists, Ngoni warriors with an Iron Age culture, Islamic lords in the Sudan, Swahili-speaking traders, and many others. The colonial dependencies were much smaller than those under British or French sway; nevertheless, they constituted an empire of impressive size. Largely acquired between 1883 and 1884, the African colonies extended over more than 900,000 square miles-- considerably more than four times the area of the Reich, with about one-fifth of its population as shown in the following table:

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