German East Africa Company
The German East Africa Company was an organization established at the start of the German colonization of East Africa. This company, in short, was responsible for the activities in the new colony such as setting up leadership, future explorations, and the development of the region.

In 1888, the Company absorbed the bankrupt
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 German Witu Society, which had been created to trade in the German protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 of Wituland
Wituland was an approximately territory in East Africa centered on the town of Witu just inland from Indian Ocean port of Lamu north of the mouth of the Tana River in what is now Kenya.-History:Founded in 1858 by the former ruler of the insular Pate sultanate after several abortive moves to the...

 only a year and a half before.

In April 1888 the Company leased the coastal strip opposite Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

 from Sultan Khalifa bin Said
Khalifah bin Said of Zanzibar
Sayyid Khalifa I bin Said Al-Busaid, GCMG, was the third Sultan of Zanzibar. He ruled Zanzibar from March 26, 1888 to February 13, 1890 and was succeeded by his brother, Ali bin Said Al-Busaid....

 for 50 years. Its attempt to take over the administration led to a general revolt along the coast
Abushiri Revolt
The Abushiri Revolt was a so-called insurrection in 1888-1889 by the Arab and Swahili population of the areas of the East African coast which were granted to Germany by the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1888...

 of what is now Tanzania. The company could only hold to Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo with the help of the German navy. In 1889, it had to request the assistance of the German government to put down the rebellion.

In 1891, after it became apparent that the Company could not handle its dominions, it sold out to the German government which began to rule German East Africa directly, thus relegating the Company to running some plantations and trade business.

Tom von Prince was born on January 9, 1866, to the British police governor of the British island colony of Mauritius and a German mother. With the death of his father, the mother returned to Germany (Silesia), and entered Tom in an academy for young Prussian male aristocrats. Since Europe was quiet and offered no military advancement, he finally joined Wissmann's Kaiserlich Schutstruppe, (called the Wissmann Truppe) and liked seeing himself as a hero.

By 1890, Tom von Prince was involved in German East Africa as a Lieutenant attempting to control 'the Street of Caravans' under control of the German Wissmann Truppe.

Since the Hehe
The Hehe are an ethnic and linguistic group based in Iringa Region in south-central Tanzania, speaking the Bantu Hehe language. In 1994, the Hehe population was estimated to number 750,000.-History:...

, under Mquawa
Chief Mkwawa
Paramount Chief Mkwavinyika Munyigumba Mwamuyinga , more commonly known as Chief Mkwawa, was a Hehe tribal leader in German East Africa who opposed the German colonisation. The name "Mkwawa" is derived from Mukwava, itself a shortened form of Mukwavinyika, meaning "conqueror of many lands"...

, had only attacked and harassed the Germans, leading to the terrible loss of Commander Emil von Zelewski and many of his men, Tom Prince was sent far inland to Lake Nyassa, with a civilian representative of the Antislavery Committee, Wynecken. It was here he met Wissmann, who lent him Bauer, the Wissmann's Safari leader. The three, Prince, Wynecken, and Bauer, were to encircle the Hehe under Mqwawa, with the help of less than 20 Atongas and a few hundred Sangu, enemy of the Hehe.

Prelude to the German East Africa Company

One of the reasons for the formation of the German East Africa Company was politics occurring inside Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. According to the “Kolonialpolitischer Führer,” German Imperialism
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,...

 was conceived in the 1850s when the growth of the economy due to industrialization caused German businessmen to look beyond Germany for business prospects. Later in the century, a newly unified Germany had to take a part in the exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 and expansion overseas if it was to be among the world’s leading imperial
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,...

 powers. Being a large manufacturing country that both bought and sold goods, it had make sure that their stake in resources was guarded. Gustav Schmoller, an economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

, had a desire for a large naval fleet
Naval fleet
A fleet, or naval fleet, is a large formation of warships, and the largest formation in any navy. A fleet at sea is the direct equivalent of an army on land....

 which was linked to this very idea of expanding the empire. There were twenty million people estimated to move to Germany from other countries in the 1900s, and the colonies would be a good place to hold some of the population. The leaders of the country made an effort to show the German people how the industry and its workers prospered from German imperialism.

The wealth
Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem...

 that could be gained form Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 sparked interest from Germany. The African colonies were a place where natural resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

 and consumers
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 could be found. Hunting wild animals was a popular sport at the turn of the century and this was something that Africa had to offer. Products available from Africa were important imports to Germany, and one view of the era was that the most important resource of Africa was the native
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 people. At the end of the 19th century, the Eastern Arc Mountains
Eastern Arc Mountains
The Eastern Arc Mountains are a chain of mountains found in Kenya and Tanzania. It comprises:* Taita Hills* North and South Pare* East and West Usambara* North and South Nguru* Ukaguru* Uluguru Mountains* Rubeho* Udzungwa Mountains* Mahenge Escarpment...

 became important areas of research. Reginald Moreau and Adolf Engler
Adolf Engler
Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler was a German botanist. He is notable for his work on plant taxonomy and phytogeography, like Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien , edited with Karl A. E...

 wrote important publications on the area’s plant and animal life.

The Impact of German East African Company on Indigenous Peoples

Nearly all of the indigenous people who were affected by the German East African Company inhabited what are now Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The local people who lived in these three countries were forced to do intensive labor such as constructing roads, railways, collecting cotton for export and many other things. They were not allowed to live according to their traditions. John D. Hargreaves explained in his book of Decolonization In Africa that “Europeans would bring scientific and technological expertise and mature political wisdom.” ethnic people did not acquire any benefits from German technology during German East Africa Company because Germans were exporting most of the products from colonized countries to Germany. The colonial authority disrupted the normal family lifestyle because men were contrived away from their home to work and as result women were obliged to take the men’s role in their society.
In addition, the tribes were forced to practise Christianity and their traditional beliefs were disallowed. The German authorities came to their villages and baptized them and provided them with Christian names. The graves of people who died during the German East Africa were marked with two names, traditional names and Christian names (VisWiki, Maji Maji Rebellion). The native people determined to combat against German East Africa to overcome German oppression. Their struggle led to wars such as the Maji Maji war, the Abushiri Rebellion and the HeHe war. During these wars, many of the indigenous people fought against German gun machines and other sophisticated weapons with their spears and arrows.

Maji Maji was one of the serious wars that took place in East Africa, a genocide that was performed by the Germans in East Africa. During this war hundreds of thousands of native people were killed. The Maji Maji was known as the war of water, Since Maji in Swahili is water. The tribal chief named Kinijikitile Nywage influenced the local people to fight the war in which Germans had murdered many people. The chief told his followers to mix the millet seed powder into a river and then told them to soak themselves in a river. He convinced them the powder would turn the German bullets into water. Unfortunately, the result was tragic, causing the death of countless people.

The Abushiri and HeHe could maintain their force for some time against German East Africa. Abushiri received help from the Arabs to fight against the Germans because the area was already dominated by the Arab traders. Arab traders and local tribes who advocated for them did not like the German East African Company; but they could not win the war because German could crush them with their modern military power.

The HeHe war was also led by a tribal chief named Mkwawa, who could fight against the Germans. “Armed with Spears and few guns, the HeHe had a notable victory against a German column” HeHe was able to operate successful fighting against German East Africa. “The German commander Zelewski was one of the first killed along with 360 men of his command” In this conflict not only local people were killed but Germans died as well, and the Germans confronted many challenges before the HeHe were defeated. The HeHe armies fought until the last minute and HeHe ultimately killed himself when he knew that he lost the war.

Besides the war against native people, the German East Africa Company used the local tribes to fight for them after they controlled them. During World War I, there was a war between German and British forces in East Africa. Germany recruited local populations to fight for them. “These were divided between the British and the German chartered companies, which were beginning to occupy what are now Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda”. Many of the native people who did not like the German East African Company had no choice but to fight for Germany.

The Environmental Effects

Mining took place in all three countries that the German East African Company occupied. “From 13,000 to 16,000 were engaged in railway construction, and 3000 were in mining.” This would imply that the German company was exploiting the natural resources of these countries. They were exporting different types of goods such as coffee, rubber and many other things to Europe. In addition, they were building roads and railways by cutting down trees to connect the three countries where their company was operating.

People Involved in the Company

Karl Peters

Karl Peters
Karl Peters
Karl Peters , was a German colonial ruler, explorer, politician and author, the prime mover behind the foundation of the German colony of East Africa...

 was arguably the most significant German for the establishment of the German East Africa Company. He was born on September 27, 1856 in Hanover, Germany. Peters became a successful journalist as he was awarded scholarships to attend college where he studied history, philosophy, and law. After some time, Peters became interested in colonization as he then changed his focus in life to become one of the principal founders of the German East Africa Company. He made significant contributions towards the company which made him a widely recognized explorer. For example, Peters was the person who convinced the indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of East Africa to give Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 control of their land allowing Germany to have a colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 in East Africa. He was able to do this by impressing the natives by firing guns, wearing impressive clothing, and flying flags.” After the Germans took control, Peters became the administrator of the region until his dismissal because of his brutal treatment of the natives. He was known by the natives as “Milkono wa Damu," meaning “the Man with Blood on his hands.” He was put on trial and found guilty, although the decision was criticized by the German press. His ill treatment of the indigenous people earned him an end to his otherwise successful career, and because of the extreme negative response, he lost most of his prestige — there are still streets named after him, but he is neglected by most historians.

Hermann von Wissmann

Hermann von Wissmann was born on September 4, 1853 in Frankfurt, Germany. He joined the Army and after just four years, he became a Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. Wissmann was later involved in a duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

 for which he was sentenced to jail; but this was not all a negative, because he met an African explorer who he traveled with to go to Africa. While in Africa with the explorer, Wissmann became associated with the German East Africa Company, and he obtained high recognition from the leaders in that region. Eventually, there was an uprising
-In music:* Uprising * Uprising , album by Concord Dawn* Uprising , album by Entombed* Uprising , album by Universal Poplab...

 of the indigenous people against the German occupation, and Wissmann, with his extensive background in the military, became essential to fight the rebellion. He was extremely successful in his military operations, and in a little time, he was able to silence the rebels and revive German control. After the rebellion, Wissmann went on to colonize the rest of the German colony until he returned to Germany. In contrary to Karl Peters, Wissmann reportedly treated the indigenous with respect: he insisted on fairness, respect for customs, and use of Swahili (the native language). Some consider him “Germany’s Greatest African,” and because of that, several monuments were erected to commemorate his accomplishments.

Julius von Soden

Julius von Soden
Julius von Soden
Julius Freiherr von Soden was a German colonial official and politician. He was Governor of the colonies of Kamerun and German East Africa, and later became Chef de Cabinet and Foreign Minister of the King of Württemberg....

 is not as highly recognized as other people involved in the German East Africa Company, but he did bring an important item to East Africa — schooling. Soden was a governor of German East Africa, and in 1892 he established the first school. Soden felt that a school for boys, free of religious influences, would greatly help the German presence in Africa. Instead of forcing the native people to work or taking over their land, Soden brought a positive to this underdeveloped area to help it grow.

Eduard von Liebert

Similar to Soden, Eduard von Liebert also helped develop East Africa’s infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

. Under the command of Liebert, East Africa was able to develop hospitals, social facilities, railroads, and more. The railroads, however, were arguably the most important of these. East Africa was able to produce a large surplus of agricultural products, and now these goods could be shipped to markets. It is widely known that at the time railroads were necessary to industrial
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 growth, so with the German contributions, the countries of East Africa had a head start industrialising over nearby regions. This large project took many years to finish. When it was finally done, it was already 1914 — 29 years after the beginning of the German colonization.

Other People

While it is important to go into detail about the more significant and accomplished people involved in the company, it is also necessary to realize that a handful of people could not run the company on their own. There were many governors — other than the ones listed above — of the region to allow it to run smoothly throughout the German occupation: Friedrich Radbod von Schele, Gustav Adolf von Götzen
Gustav Adolf von Götzen
Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen was a German explorer and Governor of German East Africa. He was the second European to set foot in Rwanda, after Dr Oscar Baumann, and later presided over the bloody quashing of the Maji Maji Rebellion in what is now Tanzania.- Early life :Götzen studied law at the...

, Georg Albrecht von Rechenberg, and Albert Heinrich Schnee. As well as governors, there were many other people who helped operate the colony: soldiers who fought to allow Germany to have a colony in Africa, and all of the other role-playing people who work there on a day-to-day basis. Although most of the credit for founding the company and colony is given to a select number of people, none of it would be possible without the collective efforts of everyone in the company.
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