The Creation of East African Borders

German East Africa

The colony was organized when the German military was called upon to put down a revolt against the activities of a colonial company during the late 1880s. It ended with Imperial Germany's defeat in World War I. Afterwards, the territory was divided between Britain and Belgium and reorganized as a mandate of the League of Nations.

Like other powers, the Germans expanded their empire in the Africa Great Lakes region on the basis of fighting slavery and the slave trade. Unlike other imperial powers, however, they never actually formally abolished it, preferring instead to curtail the production of new "recruits" and regulate the extant slaving business.[1]

The colony began with Carl Peters, an adventurer who founded the Society for German Colonization and signed treaties with several native chieftains on the mainland opposite Zanzibar. On 3 March 1885, the German government announced it had granted an imperial charter (signed by Bismarck on 27 February 1885) to Peters' company and intended to establish a protectorate in the Africa Great Lakes region. Peters then recruited specialists, who began exploring south to the Rufiji River and north to Witu, near Lamu on the coast.

When the Sultan of Zanzibar protested, since he claimed to be ruler on the mainland as well, chancellor Otto von Bismarck sent five warships, which arrived on 7 August 1885 and trained their guns on the Sultan's palace. The British and Germans agreed to divide the mainland between themselves, and the Sultan had no option but to agree.

German rule was quickly established over Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, and Kilwa, even sending the caravans of Tom von Prince, Wilhelm Langheld, Emin Pasha, and Charles Stokes to dominate "the Street of Caravans". The Abushiri Revolt of 1888 was put down (with British help) the following year. In 1890, London and Berlin concluded the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty, returning Heligoland (seized during the Napoleonic wars) to Germany and deciding on the borders of German East Africa (the exact boundaries remained unsurveyed until 1910).

Between 1891 and 1894, the Hehe tribe, led by Chief Mkwawa, resisted German expansion. They were defeated because rival tribes supported the Germans. After years of guerrilla warfare, Mkwawa himself was cornered and committed suicide in 1898.

The Maji Maji Rebellion occurred in 1905 and was put down by the governor, Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen. But scandal soon followed, with stories of corruption and brutality, and in 1907 Chancellor Bülow appointed Bernhard Dernburg to reform the colonial administration. It became a model of colonial efficiency and commanded extraordinary loyalty among the natives during the First World War.

German colonial administrators relied heavily on native chiefs to keep order and collect taxes. By 1 January 1914, aside from local police, military garrisons of Schutztruppen ("protective troops") at Dar es Salaam, Moshi, Iringa, and Mahenge numbered 110 German officers (including 42 medical officers), 126 non-commissioned officers, and 2,472 native enlisted men (Askaris[2]).[3][4]

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (who had served in German South-West Africa as well as German Kamerun), was a successful general in German East Africa during World War I.


How Kilimanjaro ended up in Tanzania


Line of demarcation… Kilimanjaro: Border

You may be told that the border curves around Kilimanjaro because Queen Victoria gave the mountain to Kaiser Wilhelm (her grandson) as a birthday present. While such an action would have been no different to the arbitrary partitioning of East Africa by these two monarch's own governments, there is no evidence that this story is true. But it remains one of the popular myths that add to the mystique and attraction of Kilimanjaro.

That was the wording in diplomatic language. Put more simply, the Germans had gained Kilimanjaro but not Mombasa, the British Mombasa but not Kilimanjaro. Now it becomes evident why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania: because Mombasa is in Kenya.


Date: 23 February, 1901

Britain and Germany agree on boundary between German East Africa and Nyasaland.

Date: 7 February, 1910

Britain, Germany and Belgium agree on the borders of Congo, Uganda and German East Africa.


 African Nations and Territory Identity

The dismantlement of African Land and Nations
and the artificial construction of the 1872 Colonial Africa c. -1960 c.

Henri Brunschwig analysed the decisions of the Conference of Berlin, and points out not to have had in Berlin the effective allotment of that as much is said, the truth is that the European national and intercontinental ideologies had finished to instrument the relation between borders of European dominance at the Conference of Berlin.

This operation represents a particular character in has much not to have had in Berlin the presence of any African individual or state.


The Berlin Conference of 1884–85, also known as the Congo Conference (German: Kongokonferenz) or West Africa Conference (Westafrika-Konferenz),[1] regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power. Called for by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa.


The Dividing of a Continent: Africa's Separatist Problem


Volume 5. Wilhelmine Germany and the First World War, 1890-1918 Anglo-German Treaty [Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty](July 1, 1890)

East Africa in the 19th Century


Germans, French and British in Africa to 1900

Trouble in East Africa

A German company was in charge of the administration of German East Africa, and the company's demand for taxes and labor obligations provoked rebellion among local Arabs and from the He he and Yea tribes. This was the Obituary revolt. Germans were evicted militarily from the coast except for strongholds at Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam. They returned with an elite force under the command of General von Wissman, and they captured and hanged the leader of the revolt – the half Arab half African trader, Abushiri.


Click on photo below to enlarge

A Jewish Homeland in East Africa


East Africa 1895-1920


The early years of the protectorate include several developments of significance in Kenya's subsequent history. One is the decision to encourage settlement in Kenya's temperate highlands by farmers of European origin, this prosperous region subsequently becomes known as the White Highlands exclusively for the white population that was to arrive, but arrive from where?

History tells us clearly that there were only limited number of British people who were interested in embarking on and into the unknown wilderness of Kenya?

The clear intention was to provide revenue for the railway driven northwest from Mombasa to reach Kisumu on Lake Victoria in 1901.

Most of the settlers later indeed came not from Britain but from South Africa but what history will not reveal is in fact there was a plan in Jewish settlements in the British East Africa Protectorate. There was a plan and a clear mention of the land between Nairobi and the Mau Escarpment that would be ideal, especially the Uasin Gishu Plateau.

These actions would cause 2 million Jews to abandon the Russian Empire between 1881 and 1913, meanwhile, anti-Semitic persecution further increased in Russia, culminating in the Kisinev pogroms in Bessarabia in April 19-20 1903. With nearly 75% going to the United States, and others settling in South America, Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, France and other countries. However, the arrival of destitute and culturally foreign refugees from Russia led to increased anti-Semitism in the West.

The Dreyfus Affair in France in 1894, and increasing hostility to Jewish immigrants in England, and other countries led many Jews to push for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, where Jews would be able to govern themselves and maintain their customs, religion and no longer fear persecution. This would result in the Zionist movement, with the goal of creating a Jewish homeland in either Australia, Argentina, Kenya/Uganda, Palestine etc. Since there was growing anti-immigrant hostility in Britain itself, with nearly 100,000 Russian-born Jews living in the country by 1901.

Meanwhile in London, the first Alien Act was passed in 1904 in an attempt to limit Jewish refugees and other foreigners from settling in the United Kingdom.

Britain had seen an increased number of persecuted European Jews towards the end of 1800’s and was too feeling the strain in taking aboard people of different descent, who most probably spoke other European language, Eastern European or Russian language and had to establish what other options there were, with the goal of creating a Jewish homeland in either Australia, Argentina, Kenya/Uganda, Palestine….. etc.

Arriving in London in October 1902, Herzl met with members of the British cabinet seeking their assistance in establishing a Jewish settlement under British protection. Leopold Greenberg, the head of the British Zionist Federation along with Herzl met with Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain and Foreign Secretary Lord Landsdowne in April 1903. It would be in this meeting that Chamberlain proposed establishing a Jewish settlement in the British East Africa Protectorate. He mentioned that the land between Nairobi and the Mau Escarpment would be ideal, especially the Uasin Gishu Plateau.

The British government had several reasons for wanting to settle British East Africa, besides simply assisting refugees. However, the Uganda Scheme as it became called was vehemently opposed by the majority of the Russian delegates in Basel. Despite this, three days later, the British government declared the British East Africa Protectorate to be a "Jewish Territory" under British protection.

As the Zionist movement spread amongst Jews in the West, the first Zionist Congress was held between 29 August and 31 August 1897 in Basel Switzerland with the ultimate goal of establishing a Jewish homeland in Ottoman-ruled Palestine. Though a small number of Eastern European Jews had been settling in Palestine since 1882, their numbers were insignificant and by 1900, Jews only constituted 6% of a population of 600,000.

However, the Zionist Organization, led by Hungarian-born Theodor Herzl, would continue to meet annually to pursue its goal and was committed to the idea of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. To that end, in May 1901, they approached the Ottoman Sultan for a Charter to settle Jews in Palestine, but were rebuffed. Attempts to secure support from Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany seemed promising at first, however his support for the idea was withdrawn once he began to seek an alliance with the Ottomans.


In January 1905, the first eighty families arrived in Mombasa and from there would take the Uganda Railway to their future home on the Uasin Gishu Plateau. The settlers consisted largely of Jews from Moldavia, Wallachia and Bessarabia, many with little background in farming. In addition, a small number of English Jews began arriving as civil servants, skilled professionals in the territory.

The new settlers had mixed success in agriculture, but many who already had experience as pedlars and traders in Europe were able to utilize their skills in Africa, trading with the indigenous African inhabitants, assuming the roles of middle-men, with many eventually becoming large commercial and industrial enterprises.


Mombasa Visit of Rt Hon Joseph Chamberlain ( he was briefly Britain's secretary for the colonies) and his wife in 1902, Mrs Chamberlain is seated next to Sir Charles Eliot in the lead push car , they spent 6 days in the country on their way to South Africa.

During his visit , he gained the impression of a largely uninhibited land, ripe for exploitation, the seeds were sown for his subsequent decision to offer the Zionists 50000 square miles of East Africa as a self-governing Jewish settlement under British protection. There was a public outcry however the offer was finally turned down by the Jews themselves for the sole reason that it would have compromised their demands to carve out a Jewish homeland in Palestine. But for that rejection, the future development of Kenya might have turned out differently.

Now, imagine this started WW1, for this ridiculous reason... The simplest answer is that the immediate cause was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria-Hungary. His death at the hands of Gavrilo Princip – a Serbian nationalist with ties to the secretive military group known as the Black Hand – propelled the major European military powers towards war. All to bring down the Ottoman Empire....Caroline Kere