Who is the colonialist in East Africa

Hang Peters

Why did the German colonial pioneer Carl Peters get the nickname "Hänge-Peters"?

"Hänge-Peters" was born in 1896 - in the hallways of the Reichstag, in the daily newspapers critical of colonialism and in the corner pubs of Berlin, in short: wherever there was debate about the meaning and justification of the German colonial adventure.

"Hänge-Peters" was the dirty name of the German colonial pioneer Carl Peters, whose excesses of violence reached the public at that time.

Peters set out for Africa in 1884 in order to acquire land near Mount Kilimanjaro in questionable negotiations.

A little later, Bismarck placed these areas, since then called German East Africa, grudgingly under German protection and appointed Peters as their Reich Commissioner - a position that the choleric power man unscrupulously exploited.

The affair about his black maid Jagodia finally turned into a political issue, which he probably had to be sexually willing: When she turned to Peters' servant, he had her home villages razed to the ground and both of them hanged - hence "Hänge-Peters".

The local population responded with an uprising. In 1892 Peters was recalled from German East Africa. Finally, in 1896, August Bebel of the SPD took up the events in a famous speech before the Reichstag.

Bebel chose a clever strategy: he quoted with relish from Peter's own portrayals of heroes, in which he had meticulously painted out some of his derailments. Their explosive mixture of violence, eroticism and colonial power fantasies made "Hänge-Peters" the talk of the town - and ultimately discredited colonialism as a whole.

"If your colonial policy produces such consequences," Bebel addressed the government at the time in the Reichstag, "then you have every reason to turn your back on all of Africa as quickly as possible and complete your civilization and cultural work here in Germany."

That did not happen, but at least Peters was dishonorably dismissed from service in the Reich a year later. Adolf Hitler was supposed to overturn this judgment in 1937. Because during National Socialism, Peters was celebrated as the prototype of the German "Herrenmenschen" - among other things in a movie with Hans Albers.

Was Kilimanjaro really a gift to the German Kaiser?

Kilimanjaro was a gift from Queen Victoria to Kaiser Wilhelm II - that's the myth that is also spread in the film "Out of Africa" ​​(1985). But the reality is different: there was a very succinct reason why Kilimanjaro belongs to Tanzania. The Germans had better negotiating skills than the British.

Both the British and the Germans wanted to expand their spheres of interest on the East African coast as far as possible. This also included the territory of the Sultan of Zanzibar with the port city of Mombasa. In tough negotiations, the Germans finally gave up their demands on the port of Mombasa, but demanded the Kilimanjaro massif for this.

Great Britain and the German Empire signed an agreement in 1886 that separated the German from the British sphere of influence. The border ran from the mouth of the Wanga River into the Indian Ocean, along the "northern slope of the mountain range of Kilimanjaro" to the east bank of Lake Victoria.

The treaty was a compromise because the Germans got Kilimanjaro but had to leave the British to Mombasa.