German Caribbean
The German Caribbean was an unsuccessful imperial project
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 undertaken by German colonists and the Reichsmarine
The Reichsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Weimar Republic and first two years of Nazi Germany. It was the naval branch of the Reichswehr, existing from 1918 to 1935...

 during the late nineteenth century to establish a trading and military base in the West Indies. The project was designed to grant Germany expanding access to American
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 markets whilst providing a power base from which to increase German influence in the Caribbean.


In 1888, naval engineers landed on Klein Curacao
Klein Curaçao
Klein Curaçao is an 1.7 km2 uninhabited island south-east of Curaçao in the Caribbean Sea, and is part of the country Curaçao. In 1888, a short-lived German naval base was established on the island as part of Imperial expansion into the German Caribbean, although inclement weather eventually...

 near Aruba
Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 130 km east of Guajira Peninsula...

 to undertake the construction of a naval shipyard
Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial...

. The island had formerly been in Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 control although their lack of interest in the tiny atoll encouraged German firms to fund a project on the island. However, the sandy terrain proved difficult to build foundations on and progress was slow. Nonetheless, the island was declared part of the "Deutsche Karibik" (German Caribbean colony) and further positions were sought on the assumption that the base would soon be completed and available for use as a coaling station. However, British and French concerns in the area soon discouraged further expansion and so the Germans decided to maximise their existing position. The original plan was abandoned however, when tropical storms
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

 washed away many of the foundation pillars for the first planned wharf, leaving the entire project with insufficient funding to continue and three sailors dead.

The project was run along similar lines to the German colonisation of the Pacific, and had much the same outcome, with Germany arriving late to the colonial theatre, never owning or selling slaves and finding a toehold incredibly difficult to establish.

See also

  • Second Reich
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.