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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Oct 05, 2010 02:37PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is a thread to discuss what used to be German East Africa.

Regarding German East Africa:

German East Africa (German: Deutsch-Ostafrika) was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now Burundi, Rwanda and Tanganyika (the mainland part of present Tanzania). Its area was 994,996 km² (384,170 square miles), nearly three times the size of Germany today.

The colony came into existence during the 1880s and ended with Imperial Germany's defeat in World War I, afterwards the territory was divided between Britain and Belgium until converted to a mandate of the League of Nations

Source: Wikipedia

Map of where German East Africa was located:


Green: Territory comprising German colony of German East Africa

Dark gray: Other German possessions

Darkest gray: German Empire

Note: The map uses the borders of the present-day, but the historical extent for German territories are depicted.

The capital was Bagamoyo (1885-1890) and then Dar-es-Salaam (1890-1918).

It was considered a colony.

The Emperors of the German Empire were at the time:

- 1871-1888 William I
- 1888-1888 Frederick III
- 1888-1918 William II

- 1885-1889 (first) Carl Peters (German East Africa Company)
- 1912-1918 (last) Heinrich Albert Schnee

Historical era: New Imperialism
- Established 27 February 1885
- Border agreement 1 July
- Maji Maji Rebellion 21 October
- Surrender to Britain 25 November
- Disestablished 28 June 1919

Its flag was the flag of the German Empire at the time:

This thread was suggested by group member Harvey.

message 2: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 284 comments Hello again and maybe some German contributers might help with some knowledge here, especially about the von der Goltz family, one member of which provoked a 'rebellion' amongst the Arabs living on the coast prior to WWI.

message 3: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is a classic book covering an interesting but aged aspect of East Africa; "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" by John Henry Patterson. Later made into the movie; "Ghost & The Darkness" with Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas.

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (Peter Capstick Library Series) by John Henry Patterson by John Henry Patterson
"Tells the story of two man-eating lions who terrorized East Africa and brought to a halt the construction of a new railway line."

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Here is an interesting look at how Germany dealt with slavery in their colonial East Africa and the uprising of the slaves to put an end to the practice.

Emancipation Without Abolition in German East Africa

Emancipation without Abolition in German East Africa, c. 1884-1914 by Jan-Georg Deutsch by Jan-Georg Deutsch

This study examines the complex history of slavery in East Africa, focusing on the area that came under German colonial rule. In contrast to the policy pursued at the time by other colonial powers in Africa, the German authorities did not legally abolish slavery in their colonial territories. However, despite government efforts to keep the institution of slavery alive, it significantly declined in Tanganyika in the period concerned. The book highlights the crucial role played by the slaves in the process of emancipation. Author Jan-Georg Deutsch explores the rise of slavery in Tanganyika in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the region became more fully integrated into the world economy. An analysis of German colonial policy reveals that the authorities believed that abolition should be avoided at all costs since it would undermine the power and prosperity of the local slave-owning elites whose effective collaboration was thought to be indispensable to the functioning of colonial rule. The author demonstrates how slaves by their own initiative brought the "evil institution" to an end, making the best of limited choices and opportunities available to them. The study, of interest to historians of East Africa, makes a contribution to the more general debate about the demise of slavery on the continent.

message 5: by Frank (last edited Mar 03, 2013 08:27AM) (new)

Frank | 70 comments Michael wrote: "I would recommend "The Kaiser's Holocaust" on this topic; very interesting.
The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism"

Thanks Michael , I added that to my TRL. I read "King Leopolds Ghost" about the Belgium Congo and found it illuminating. Of course I don't believe the Congo is E. Africa King Leopold's Ghost A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild Adam Hochschild Adam Hochschild

message 6: by Jill (last edited Nov 21, 2013 06:24PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This book is authored by the German General who basically smacked the face of the British Army in Africa during WWI. A must-read for the lover of WWI history, since it covers fighting other than the trench warfare of Europe.

My Reminiscences of East Africa

My Reminiscences of East Africa The East Africa Campaign of the First World War by the Most Notable German Commander by Paul Emil Von Lettow-Vorbeck by Paul Emil Von Lettow-Vorbeck


For many the Great War means the Western Front, that gruelling, slogging stalemate of attrition that was the mud and blood of trench warfare. Yet this was truly a 'world war' fought between nations, many of whom were imperial powers with footholds, interests or colonies across the globe which were often in close proximity to those who were now their enemies. Conflicts took place on land, sea and in the air; the battlegrounds could be tropical jungle or bleached desert. For many of those interested in the war of 1914-18 these so called 'side-show' campaigns are, liberated from the standstill of the European theatre, of special interest. These were mobile wars where the talents of good commanders found the potential for expression and where often exotic terrain and colonial troops brought unique colour and singular events into being. Never was this more applicable than in East Africa where British and German territories lay 'cheek by jowl'. The men who fought these campaigns included Africans, both black and white, who knew the bush well and were equal to its challenges. The author of this book was one of the most remarkable commanders in the entire war not only in the East African Campaign, for he was never truly beaten in battle though quite often the odds were decidedly against him. This was a German with a genius for guerrilla warfare whose achievements could rival the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia. Inevitably, his account of his experiences during the First World War, originally published shortly thereafter, make essential and riveting reading for all those interested in the subject.

message 7: by Jill (last edited Sep 13, 2013 05:28PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) We seldom remember that WWI fighting also took place in Africa where Germany had colonies. And we also forget that someone has to get supplies to the troops.....the Carrier Corps. This updated version traces the history of these troops.

Kariakor: the Carrier Corps; the Story of the Military Labour Forces in the Conquest of German East Africa 1914-1918)

Kariakor. the Carrier Corps. the Story of the Military Labour Forces in the Conquest of German East Africa, 1914-1918 by Geoffrey Hodges by Geoffrey Hodges (no photo)


The Carrier Corps carried everything the soldiers needed to survive during the East African Campaign of the first World War. The Corps suffered heavier casualties than all the other units put together. Originally published in 1986, this second edition has been re-written by the author, keeping much of the original material, but adding new information which has come to light since the work was first published. Much of the original research was based on the reminiscences of the men who took part. Photographs and statistics enhance the six chapters covering African labour; the war strategy; in the battlefields; carrier units; carrier welfare and effects of the war.

message 8: by Jill (last edited Sep 16, 2013 06:29PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Aren't you familiar with German East Afrucam??? Neither am I......big typo. Fixed it. :0)

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
At first I thought man - I need to learn more about Africa (smile).

message 10: by Desiree (new)

Desiree | 52 comments Harvey wrote: "Hello again and maybe some German contributers might help with some knowledge here, especially about the von der Goltz family, one member of which provoked a 'rebellion' amongst the Arabs living on..."

it is a rather old comment, what about "von der Golz"? I know some of the family members.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Tony so much for your add - you really came close but let me just show you how the book would be cited:

The Scramble for Africa The White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 by Thomas Pakenham by Thomas Pakenham Thomas Pakenham

bookcover (when available) - author's photo (when available) and always the author's link which you have.

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Desiree wrote: "Harvey wrote: "Hello again and maybe some German contributers might help with some knowledge here, especially about the von der Goltz family, one member of which provoked a 'rebellion' amongst the ..."

Desiree - if you know of some books - please add and cite them accordingly - we would love to see them.

message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I haven't read this book but it looks informative.

Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa

Violent Intermediaries African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa by Michelle R. Moyd by Michelle R. Moyd (no photo)


The askari, African soldiers recruited in the 1890s to fill the ranks of the German East African colonial army, occupy a unique space at the intersection of East African history, German colonial history, and military history. Violent Intermediaries recovers and reconsiders the origin and role of these men, and of colonial soldiers more generally. Lauded by Germans for their loyalty during the East Africa campaign of World War I, but reviled by Tanzanians for the violence they committed during the making of the colonial state between 1890 and 1918, the askari have been poorly understood as historical agents. Violent Intermediaries situates them in their everyday household, community, military, and constabulary contexts, as men who helped make colonialism in German East Africa.

By linking microhistories with wider nineteenth-century African historical processes, Michelle Moyd shows that the construction of the German East African colonial army resulted from convergences and collisions among differing conceptions of masculinity, radical reconfigurations of socioeconomic, political, and military structures, and European imperial incursions. As soldiers and colonial intermediaries, the askari built the colonial state while simultaneously carving out paths to respectability, becoming men of influence within their local contexts. Yet their positions as clients of German officer-patrons also exposed their dependency on a particular political order, which in the case of German East Africa proved ephemeral.

Through its focus on the making of empire from the ground up, Violent Intermediaries offers a fresh perspective on African colonial troops as state-making agents and critiques the mythologies surrounding the askari by focusing on the nature of colonial violence.

message 14: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This book covers the changing face of the old capital of German East Africa from the end of WWI through the mid-century.

African Underclass: Urbanization, Crime and Colonial Order in Dar-es-Salaam

African Underclass Urbanization, Crime & Colonial Order in Dar es Salaam 1919-61 by Andrew Burton by Andrew Burton (no photo)


African Underclass examines the social, political, and administrative repercussions of rapid urbanization in colonial Dar es Salaam, and the evolution of official policy that viewed urbanization as inextricably linked with social disorder. This policy marginalized numbers of young Africans entering the town---and thus, paradoxically, the policy itself subverted the colonial order. "Well researched and sharply written---one of the best and most stimulating accounts of urbanization in Eastern Africa to have been produced in recent years."---John McCracken, emeritus professor of history, University of StirlingAndrew Burton is assistant director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa.

message 15: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This book cover all the colonies owned by pre-WWI Germany but concentrates on German East Africa.

The Devil's Handwriting

The Devil's Handwriting Precoloniality and the German Colonial State in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa by George Steinmetz by George Steinmetz(no photo)


Germany’s overseas colonial empire was relatively short lived, lasting from 1884 to 1918. During this period, dramatically different policies were enacted in the colonies: in Southwest Africa, German troops carried out a brutal slaughter of the Herero people; in Samoa, authorities pursued a paternalistic defense of native culture; in Qingdao, China, policy veered between harsh racism and cultural exchange.

Why did the same colonizing power act in such differing ways? In The Devil’s Handwriting, George Steinmetz tackles this question through a brilliant cross-cultural analysis of German colonialism, leading to a new conceptualization of the colonial state and postcolonial theory. Steinmetz uncovers the roots of colonial behavior in precolonial European ethnographies, where the Hereros were portrayed as cruel and inhuman, the Samoans were idealized as “noble savages,” and depictions of Chinese culture were mixed. The effects of status competition among colonial officials, colonizers’ identification with their subjects, and the different strategies of cooperation and resistance offered by the colonized are also scrutinized in this deeply nuanced and ambitious comparative history.

message 16: by Jill (last edited Jul 08, 2014 08:21PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A chilling event that mirrored what was to come in Nazi Germany.

Genocide in German South-West Africa: The Colonial War of 1904-1908

Genocide in German South-West Africa The Colonial War of 1904�1908 and Its Aftermath by Jürgen Zimmerer by Jürgen Zimmerer (no photo)


he 1904 war that broke out in present day Namibia after the Herero tribe rose against an oppressive colonial regime—and the German army’s brutal suppression of that uprising—are the focus of this collection of essays. Exploring the annihilation of both the Herero and Nama people, this selection from prominent researchers of German imperialism considers many aspects of the war and shows how racism, concentration camps, and genocide in the German colony foreshadow Hitler’s Third Reich war crimes

message 17: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Life in Africa under the colonial rule of Germany in the early 20th century.

Tanganyika Under German Rule: 1905 - 1912

Tanganyika Under German Rule 1905 1912 by John Iliffe by John Iliffe (no photo)


The history of Tanganyika from the Maji Maji rebellion of 1905 (the greatest African rebellion against early European rule) to the last years of German administration. It examines a colonial situation in depth, ranging from the processes of change in African societies to the decisions of policy-makers in Berlin. In the aftermath of rebellion an imaginative Governor, Freiherr von rechenberg, initiated a programme of African cash-crop agriculture. This programme was reversed by a settler community which successfully manipulated the German political system. Meanwhile, after their defeat in armed rebellion, Africans sought power through educational and economic advancement. Tanganyika in 1912 was poised for that struggle for control between European settler and educated African which has been a fundamental theme of the modern history of East and Central Africa. Dr Illiffe's book is one of the few available studies of German colonial administration. He has drawn on a wide range of sources, both in East Africa and Germany. Written in the light of current reappraisal of African history, the book gives valuable insight into African initiatives during the early years of European rule.

message 18: by Jill (last edited Feb 10, 2015 08:43PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The British just didn't have much luck in the German colonies in Africa during WWI.

Battle of Tanga: German East Africa

Battle of Tanga, German East Africa, 1914 by Major Kenneth J. Harvey by Major Kenneth J. Harvey (no photo)


In November 1914, British Indian Expeditionary Force “B” conducted an amphibious assault on the Port of Tanga in German East Africa. The British possessed all the tools required for success; they outnumbered the defenders almost eight to one, they possessed the only artillery and naval guns available for the battle, and they landed where the Germans were weak. Despite these factors, a hastily organized German defense force of 1,100 soldiers not only defeated the 8,000 British soldiers, but also compelled Indian Expeditionary Force “B” to retreat to Mombasa.

This thesis examines the manner in which German and British forces were organized, trained, equipped, and led. Additionally, it identifies the critical factors that together led to British defeat at Tanga.

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you very much Jill for all of these adds in the threads in this folder.

message 20: by Dimitri (new)

Dimitri | 600 comments German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence

German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence by Susanne Kuss by Susanne Kuss(no photo)


Germany fought three major colonial wars from 1900 to 1908: the Boxer War in China, the Herero and Nama War in Southwest Africa, and the Maji Maji War in East Africa. Recently, historians have emphasized the role of German military culture in shaping the horrific violence of these conflicts, tracing a line from German atrocities in the colonial sphere to those committed by the Nazis during World War II. Susanne Kuss dismantles such claims in a close examination of Germany’s early twentieth-century colonial experience. Despite acts of unquestionable brutality committed by the Kaiser’s soldiers, she finds no direct path from Windhoek, site of the infamous massacre of the Herero people, to Auschwitz.

In German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence Kuss rejects the notion that a distinctive military culture or ethos determined how German forces acted overseas. Unlike rival powers France and Great Britain, Germany did not possess a professional colonial army. The forces it deployed in Africa and China were a motley mix of volunteers, sailors, mercenaries, and native recruits—all accorded different training and motivated by different factors. Germany’s colonial troops embodied no esprit de corps that the Nazis could subsequently adopt.

Belying its reputation for Teutonic efficiency, the German military’s conduct of operations in Africa and China was improvisational and often haphazard. Local conditions—geography, climate, the size and capabilities of opposing native populations—determined the nature and extent of the violence German soldiers employed. A deliberate policy of genocide did not guide their actions.

Susanne Kuss is Privatdozentin at the University of Bern.

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