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

That the Hottentots of Namaqualand recognized Germany


It appeared a small compensation that Great Britain surrendered to Germany the island of Heligoland, which she had taken from the Danes in the Napoleonic wars. It was annexed to Prussia; the natives born before the year 1880 were exempted from military service, and till the year 1901 no additional import duties were to be imposed. It has been strongly fortified and made a naval station.

Progress of German colonial expansion.

Colonial wars. The Herero rising.

It was easy for the Opposition to criticize the colonial policy. They could point out that, with the exception of parts of South-West Africa, no territory had been acquired in which any large number of German emigrants could live and rear families. They went as a rule to the United States and South America, or to territories under the British flag. As markets for German products the colonies remained of small importance; in 1907 the whole value of the trade, import and export, between Germany and her colonies was less than L3,300,000, and the cost of administration, including the grant to the shipping companies, often exceeded the total trade. Many mistakes were made in the administration, and cases of misconduct by individual officials formed the text for attacks on the whole system. Generally, however, these criticisms were premature; it was surely wise, while the

opportunity was still open, to take care that Germany, in the partition of the world among European races, should not alone go entirely without a share. The lack of colonial experience, and, often, the lack of sympathy with, or understanding of, the negro and other races over whom they had assumed a protectorate, were contributory causes in the slow development of Germany's African colonies. The unwillingness of the Reichstag to sanction the expenditure of any large sums on railways and other public works also hindered the exploitation of the economic resources of very large areas. Yet at the close of the first twenty-five years' existence of the colonial empire it might be said that the initial difficulties had been overcome, and sufficient knowledge gained to ensure Germany a return fairly commensurate with the efforts she had put forth. The necessity to enlist the interests of the natives on the side of the government, if any progress was to be made in industry or trade, was a lesson slowly learned. After the Arab opposition had been crushed on the east coast of Africa, there still remained the native states to be dealt with, and few tribes voluntarily submitted to European control. There was a serious rising in 1905-1906, when thousands of lives were lost. In Togoland there were disturbances of a comparatively minor character; in the Cameroon hinterland campaigns were undertaken against the Fulu and Bornuese princes. It was, however, in South-West Africa that the Germans had their chief and most bitter experience in colonial warfare. Though "annexed" in 1884 it was not till ten years later, after protracted fighting, that the Hottentots of Namaqualand recognized Germany. After another decade of comparative peace war again broke out (1903) and spread from the Hottentots to the Herero. The Anglo-Boer War had then but recently ended, and in Germany generally, and especially in military circles, it had provoked much adverse criticism on the inability of the British to bring the contest to a speedier conclusion. To their surprise the Germans now found that, against an inferior foe operating in a more restricted area, they were unable to do as well as the British army had done. The story of the war is told elsewhere (see GERMAN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA); it lasted well into 1908 and the Germans were indebted to the Cape Mounted Police for material help in bringing it to an end. As it progressed the Germans adopted many of the methods employed by the British in their colonial wars, and they learned to appreciate more accurately the immensity of the task which Lord Kitchener accomplished in overcoming the guerrilla warfare in the Boer republics.

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