Dr. Karl Peters

Known as Mikono wa Damu, 'the Man with Blood on his Hands'

Name ID 497

See also

editors East Africa
Extract Date: 1884

Carl Peters forms the Society for German Colonisation

German metaphysician Dr. Carl Peters forms the Society for German Colonisation; his treaties with African chiefs in present-day Tanzania bring huge tracts of land under German control, starting the European 'scramble for Africa'.

Extract ID: 816

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 05d
Extract Date: 1884-1897

'the Man with Blood on his Hands'

In the following decades no colonising power showed much concern with peace and civilisation in exploiting its colonies but Tanganyika was to suffer the most under the cruel methods of Karl Peters, otherwise known as Mikono wa Damu, 'the Man with Blood on his Hands', who left a trail of bloodshed and desolation.

Peters made his first intrusion in Tanganyika in 1875 but it was in 1884 with the scramble for African colonies that he created the Society for German Colonisation, later the German Colonisation Company. A ruthless and opportunistic adventurer, he hastily journeyed up the Wami river on the mainland: within less than six weeks he signed an impressive number of agreements with local sultans (Arab or Swahili chiefs) who, not understanding the contents of the treaties and surrounded by armed soldiers while interpreters gave a totally fake version of what was being said, unwittingly gave up their territories to the German Company.

The terms of these treaties are well known, such as the one signed by Sultan Mangungu of Msovero in Usagara: 'Treaty of Eternal Friendship - Sultan Mangungu offers his territory with all its civil and public appartenances to Dr Karl Peters, Representative of the Society for German Colonisation for exclusive and universal utilization for German colonisation', ending with 1, Dr Karl Peters, in the name of the Society declare my willingness to take over the territory', and it concluded: This contract has been executed legally and is valid for all time'.

With his valueless treaties he acquired immense territories and Bismarck, who had professed not to be interested in colonies, declared the lands to be German Protectorate by an Imperial Bill signed in March 1885.

This is how most of Tanganyika was brought under German rule, and Peters was enraged when he learnt that the rights he claimed 'illegally' over some areas in Uganda - in spite of existing Agreements - were relinquished by Germany to the benefit of England. They were exchanged for the Island of Heligoland which he called 'A bathtub in the North Sea'.

Although he was known for his ill-treatment of indigenous populations he was named Imperial High Commissioner for the Kilimanjaro District, but was finally dismissed from colonial service in 1897 after having been condemned for cruelty by a German judge. Hitler spoke of him as 'A model colonial administrator'.

Extract ID: 4021

See also

Ofcansky, Thomas P and Yeager, Rodger Historical Dictionary of Tanzania
Page Number: xix
Extract Date: 1884 November 4

arrives in Zanzibar

[Peters, Dr. Karl] arrives in Zanzibar.

Extract ID: 1220

See also

Nchi Yeti / Our Land.

Tanganyika came under German influence

The country now known as Tanganyika came under German influence largely through the initiative of Dr. Karl Peters. In 1885, the land which Peters had acquired was placed under the protection of the Imperial German Government. A 10-mile belt along the coast was recognised as belonging to Zanzibar, but in 1888 Germany acquired the right of collecting duties on the coast and in 1890 took over the coastal strip on payment of �200,000 to the Sultan of Zanzibar.

Extract ID: 818

See also

Ofcansky, Thomas P and Yeager, Rodger Historical Dictionary of Tanzania
Page Number: 97
Extract Date: 1885-1888

GEA Administrator

[Peters, Dr. Karl] GEA Administrator

Extract ID: 1221

external link

See also

World History at KMLA
Page Number: 03f
Extract Date: 1886-1918

German East Africa 1886-1918: Deutsch Ostafrika's Governors

1885-1888 Carl Peters, administrator

1888-1891 Hermann von Wissmann, Reichskommissar

1891-1893 Julius von Soden

1893-1895 Friedrich Radbod von Schele

1895-1896 Hermann von Wissmann

1896-1901 Eduard von Liebert

1901-1906 Gustav Adolf Graf von Goetzen

1906-1912 Georg Albrecht von Rechenberg

1912-1918 Albert Heinrich Schnee

Extract ID: 3526

See also

Bechky, Allen Adventuring in East Africa

Continued English disdain for Germany

Continued English disdain for Germany later gave rise to a great tale about Kilimanjaro. The well-known story goes that Kaiser Wilhelm wrote to Queen Victoria asking that Kili be assigned to German East Africa. He pleaded that the British Crown Colony already had one snow-capped peak in its Kenyan domain, while Germany had none. The Queen, in a typical English spirit of fair play, magnanimously assented, giving the mountain as a birthday gift to her grandson, the future Wilhelm II. It's a great yarn, one that has endured the test of time. But there is no truth to it. Carl Peters had sneaked into Tanganyika and persuaded various Chagga chieftains to sign treaties agreeing to cede their territories to his Society for German Colonization.

Extract ID: 399

See also

World History at KMLA
Page Number: 03a

German East Africa 1886-1918

TANGANYIKA as a geographical and political entity did not take shape before the period of High Imperialism; it's name only came into use after German East Africa was transferred to Britain as a mandate by the League of Nations in 1920. What is referred to here therefore is the history of the region that was to become Tanganyika.

German CARL Peters had secured treaties with tribal leaders on East Africa's coast, providing the German government with legitimation to negotiate with Britain over spheres of interest in East Africa. In the treaty of 1886, Germany renounced it's claims on the WITU AREA (on Kenya's coast, north of Mombasa) and on Uganda, and Britain recognized Germany's claim to what was to become German East Africa. In another treaty of 1890, Germany traded the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba for the much smaller island of Heligoland, off Germany's coast in the North Sea. The Germans bought off the Sultan of Zanzibar's rights to the Tanganyikan coast for $ 800,000.

The German East Africa COMPANY (founded 1887, succeeded by the German government in 1891) established BAGAMOYO as their colony's capital, soon moving it to DARESSALAAM. The colony was called DEUTSCH-OSTAFRIKA (German East Africa). The colony's borders had been established in treaties with Britain (Kenya, Uganda, Northern Rhodesia), Belgium (Belgian Congo) and Portugal (Mocambique); interests of the indigenous people were disregarded. From the coast, the Germans penetrated the country and established their rule. The currency was 1 Rupia = 64 Pesa.

Extract ID: 3481

external link

See also

Selpin, Herbert (Director) Carl Peters
Extract Date: 1941

Carl Peters

Media Resources Center (MRC) is the UC Berkeley Library

Carl Peters (1941)

Directed by Herbert Selpin. A docu-drama of the life of Karl Peters, the German Commissioner in East Africa during World War I. It tells of the founding of Deutsch Ostafrika, which covered parts of present-day Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. In German without titles. 110 min. 999:2740

Extract ID: 4696