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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

While not discouraging Luderitz


Africa.

His conversion to the views of the colonial party was gradual, as was seen in his attitude to the proposed acquisition of German stations in South-West Africa. In Namaqualand and Damaraland, British influence, exercised from Cape Colony, had long been strong, but the British government had refused to annex the country even when asked so to do by the German missionaries who laboured among the natives. In 1882 F. A. Luderitz, a Bremen tobacco merchant, approached Bismarck on the question of establishing a trading station on the coast at Angra Pequena. The chancellor, while not discouraging Luderitz, acted with perfect fairness to Great Britain, and throughout 1883 that country might have acted had she known her mind. She did not, and in the summer of 1884 Bismarck decided no longer to await her pleasure, and the south-west coast of Africa from the frontier of the Portuguese possessions to the Orange river, with the exception of Walfish Bay, was taken under German protection. During the same year Dr Nachtigal was despatched to the west coast, and stealing a march on his British and French rivals he secured not only Togoland but Cameroon for the Germans. On the east coast Bismarck acted decisively without reference to British interests. A company, the _Gesellschaft fur deutsche Kolonization_, was founded early in 1884 by Dr Carl Peters, who with two companions went off to the east coast of Africa and succeeded in November of that year in

negotiating treaties with various chiefs on the mainland who were alleged to be independent of Zanzibar. In this region British opposition had to be considered, but in February 1885 a German protectorate over the territory acquired by Peters was proclaimed.

The Pacific.

Similar events took place in the South Seas. The acquisition of Samoa, where German interests were most extensive, was prevented (for the time being) by the arrangement made in 1879 with Great Britain and the United States. But in 1884 and 1885 the German flag was hoisted on the north of New Guinea (to which the name Kaiser Wilhelmsland has been given), on several parts of the New Britain Archipelago (which afterwards became the Bismarck Archipelago), and on the Caroline Islands. The last acquisition was not kept. The Spanish government claimed the islands, and Bismarck, in order to avoid a struggle which would have been very disastrous to monarchical government in Spain, suggested that the pope should be asked to mediate. Leo XIII. accepted the offer, which was an agreeable reminiscence of the days when popes determined the limits of the Spanish colonial empire, all the more gratefully that it was made by a Protestant power. He decided in favour of Spain, Germany being granted certain rights in the islands. The loss of the islands was amply compensated for by the political advantages which Bismarck gained by this attention to the pope, and, after all, not many years elapsed before they became German.

Bismarck in his colonial policy had repeatedly explained that he did not propose to found provinces or take over for the government the responsibility for their administration; he intended to leave the responsibility for their material development to the merchants, and even to entrust to them the actual government. He avowedly wished to imitate the older form of British colonization by means of chartered companies, which had been recently revived in the North Borneo Company; the only responsibility of the imperial government was to be their protection from foreign aggression. In accordance with this policy, the territories were not actually incorporated in the empire (there would also have been constitutional difficulties in doing that), and they were officially known as Protectorates (_Schutzgebiete_), a word which thus acquired a new signification. In 1885 two new great companies were founded to undertake the government. The _Deutsch-Ost-Afrika Gesellschaft_, with a capital of L200,000, took over the territories acquired by Dr Peters, and for the South Seas the _Neu-Guinea Gesellschaft_, founded by an amalgamation of a number of firms in 1884, received a charter in 1885. It was not, however, possible to limit the imperial responsibility as Bismarck intended. In East Africa the great revolt of the Arabs in 1888 drove the company out of all their possessions, with the exception of the port of Dar-es-Salam. The company was not strong enough to defend itself; troops had to be sent out by the emperor under Captain Wissmann, who as imperial commissioner took over the government. This, which was at first a temporary arrangement, was afterwards made permanent.


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