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Togoland Protectorate
Schutzgebiet Togo (German)
1884–1914 [1]
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Reichsadler 1889.svg
Coats of arms
Togoland 1914.svg
Green: Territory comprising the German colony of Togoland
Dark grey: Other German possessions
Darkest grey: German Empire
StatusProtectorate of  German Empire
Capital Bagida (1884–87)
Sebeab (1887–97)
Lomé (1897–1916)
Common languages German (official)
Ewe, Kotokoli, Kabye
Islam, Christianity, Traditional religion
 1884 (first)
Gustav Nachtigal
 1914 (last)
Hans Georg von Doering
Historical era New Imperialism
5 July 1884
26 August 1914
 Togoland partitioned
27 December 1916
191287,200 km2 (33,700 sq mi)
Currency German gold mark
Succeeded by
British Togoland Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
French Togoland Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg
Today part of Ghana

Togoland was a German Empire protectorate in West Africa from 1884 to 1914, encompassing what is now the nation of Togo and most of what is now the Volta Region of Ghana, approximately 90,400 km2 (29,867 sq mi) in size. [2] [3] During the period known as the "Scramble for Africa", the colony was established in 1884 and was gradually extended inland.


At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the colony was invaded and quickly overrun by British and French forces during the Togoland campaign and placed under military rule. In 1916 the territory was divided into separate British and French administrative zones, and this was formalised in 1922 with the creation of British Togoland and French Togoland.


The colony was established towards the end of the period of European colonisation in Africa generally known as the "Scramble for Africa". Two separate protectorates were established in 1884. In February 1884, the chiefs of the town of Aného were kidnapped by German soldiers and forced to sign a treaty of protection. [4] In the Lomé region, the German explorer, medical doctor, imperial consul and commissioner for West Africa Gustav Nachtigal was the driving force toward the establishment of the West African colonies of Togoland as well as Kamerun. From his base on the Spanish island possession Fernando Po in the Bight of Biafra he traveled extensively on the mainland of Africa. On 5 July 1884 Nachtigal signed a treaty with the local chief, Mlapa III  [ fr ], in which he declared a German protectorate over a stretch of territory along the Slave Coast on the Bight of Benin. With the small gunboat SMS Möwe at anchor, the imperial flag was raised for the first time on the African continent. Consul Heinrich Ludwig Randad Jr., resident agent of the firm C. Goedelts at Ouidah, was appointed as the first commissioner for the territory. [5]

In 1899, Germany and Great Britain traded territory in the Samoan Islands for the Northern Solomon Islands and control in Tonga, using the Togoland Neutral Zone (Yendi) and the Volta Triangle as bargaining chips. [6]

Economics and growth

Germany gradually extended its control inland. Colonial administrators and settlers brought scientific cultivation to the country's main export crops (cacao, coffee, cotton). The total number of German officials in the colony was only 12 in 1890. [7] The colony's infrastructure was developed to one of the highest levels in Africa. [8] Colonial officials built roads and bridges toward the interior mountain ranges and three rail lines from the capital, Lomé: along the coast to Aného in 1905, to Palime (modern Kpalimé) in 1907, and the longest line, the Hinterlandbahn, to Atakpamé by 1911. [9] By 1914, over 1,000 km [10] of roads had been constructed by the colonial office. [7]

Map of Togoland in 1885 Togo land 1885.jpg
Map of Togoland in 1885

Organized in 1888 with 25 Hausa infantry, the Polizeitruppe was used to enforce colonial authority over the hinterland of Togo. Expanded to 144 members in 1894, it conducted operations against Kpandu, and "a number of towns in central Togo which had resisted the government was attacked and razed to the ground, the property of the inhabitants confiscated and the people fined sums ranging from 200 marks to 1,110 marks." [7] Over the remainder of the decade, an additional 35 expeditions were authorized by the colonial government. [7]

Askari troops in Togoland, c. 1911 FROBENIUS(1911) Tafel44 Togo, eine Beerdigungsfeier mit militarischen Ehren.jpg
Askari troops in Togoland, c. 1911

In 1895 the capital Lomé had a population of 31 Germans and 2,084 natives. By 1913 the native population had grown to 7,042 persons together with 194 Germans, including 33 women, while the entire colony had a German population of 316, including 61 women and 14 children. [11] In the years just before World War I, Lomé had grown into the "prettiest town in West Africa". [12] Because it was one of Germany's two self-supporting colonies, [13] Togoland was acknowledged as a small but treasured possession.[ according to whom? ] This lasted until the outbreak of World War I.

World War I occupation and beyond

After calling on the German colony to surrender on 6 August 1914, French and British troops invaded unopposed the next day. No military personnel were stationed in the protectorate. The police force consisted of a commander and deputy commander, 10 German sergeants, 1 native sergeant and 660 Togolese policemen deployed throughout the territory. [14] The Entente forces occupied Lomé, then advanced on a powerful new radio station near Kamina, east of Atakpamé. The colony surrendered on 26 August 1914, after the German technicians who had built the radio installation destroyed the station during the night of 24/25 August. In the weeks before the destruction, Kamerun, German Southwest Africa, German East Africa and 47 ships on the high seas were sent reports of Allied actions, as well as warnings of trouble ahead. [15] On 27 December 1916, Togoland was separated into French and British administrative zones. After the end of World War I, members of the newly established Czechoslovakia government considered acquiring the colony as Czechoslovak Togo, but the idea never proceeded past creating a flag. Following the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles,[ citation needed ] on 20 July 1922, Togoland formally became a League of Nations Class B mandate [ citation needed ] divided into French Togoland and British Togoland, covering respectively about two-thirds and one-third of the territory. [16] [ failed verification ]

The British area of the former German colony was integrated into Ghana in 1957 after a May 1956 plebiscite in which 58% of British-area residents voted to join Ghana upon its independence, rather than remaining under British-administered United Nations Trusteeship.

The French-ruled region became the Republic of Togo in 1960 and is now known as the Togolese Republic. In 1960, the new state invited the last German governor of Togoland, Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg, to the country's official independence celebrations. [17]


Planned symbols for Togoland

In 1914 a series of drafts were made for proposed Coat of Arms and Flags for the German colonies. However, World War I broke out before the designs were finished and implemented and the symbols were never actually taken into use. Following the defeat in the war, Germany lost all its colonies and the prepared coat of arms and flags were therefore never used.

See also


  1. Laumann (2003), pp. 195–199
  2. "Rank Order – Area". CIA World Fact Book. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  3. David Owusu-Ansah. Historical Dictionary of Ghana (4 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. xii.
  4. Laumann, "A Historiography of German Togoland", p. 195
  5. Washausen, Hamburg und die Kolonialpolitik, p. 79
  6. Paul M. Kennedy, "The Samoan Tangle: A Study in Anglo-German-American Relations, 1878–1900", Harper & Row, p 1974.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Amenumey, D. E. K. German Administration in Southern Togo. The Journal of African History 10, No. 4 (1969), pp. 623–639.
  8. "Togoland". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  9. Haupt,Deutschlands Schutzgebiete, p. 82
  10. Amenumey, D. E. K. (1969). "German Administration in Southern Togo". The Journal of African History. 10 (4): 623–639. doi:10.1017/S0021853700009749. JSTOR   179902. S2CID   162947085.
  11. Haupt, p. 81
  12. Haupt, p. 74
  13. German Samoa was self-sufficient after 1908
  14. Haupt, p. 79
  15. Haupt, p. 87
  16. Martin, Lawrence (2007). The treaties of peace, 1919–1923. Vol. 2. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. p. 15. ISBN   978-1-58477-708-3 . Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  17. Adolf Friedrich Herzog zu Mecklenburg; Der Spiegel April 20, 1960

Related Research Articles

The history of Togo can be traced to archaeological finds which indicate that ancient local tribes were able to produce pottery and process tin. During the period from the 11th century to the 16th century, the Ewé, the Mina, the Gun, and various other tribes entered the region. Most of them settled in coastal areas. The Portuguese arrived in the late 15th century, followed by other European powers. Until the 19th century, the coastal region was a major slave trade centre, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lomé</span> Capital, chief port, and the largest city of Togo

Lomé is the capital and largest city of Togo. It has an urban population of 837,437 while there were 1,477,660 permanent residents in its metropolitan area as of the 2010 census. Located on the Gulf of Guinea at the southwest corner of the country, with its entire western border along the easternmost point of Ghana's Volta Region, Lomé is the country's administrative and industrial center, which includes an oil refinery. It is also the country's chief port, from where it exports coffee, cocoa, copra, and oil palm kernels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">German Samoa</span> Colony of the German Empire in Oceania from 1900 to 1920

German Samoa was a German protectorate from 1900 to 1920, consisting of the islands of Upolu, Savai'i, Apolima and Manono, now wholly within the Independent State of Samoa, formerly Western Samoa. Samoa was the last German colonial acquisition in the Pacific basin, received following the Tripartite Convention signed at Washington on 2 December 1899 with ratifications exchanged on 16 February 1900. It was the only German colony in the Pacific, aside from the Jiaozhou Bay Leased Territory in China, that was administered separately from German New Guinea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kamerun</span> West African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916

Kamerun was an African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1920 in the region of today's Republic of Cameroon. Kamerun also included northern parts of Gabon and the Congo with western parts of the Central African Republic, southwestern parts of Chad and far northeastern parts of Nigeria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">German colonial empire</span> Colonial empire governed by Germany between 1884 and 1918

The German colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, dependencies, and territories of the German Empire. Unified in the early 1870s, the chancellor of this time period was Otto von Bismarck. Short-lived attempts at colonization by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Bismarck resisted pressure to construct a colonial empire until the Scramble for Africa in 1884. Claiming much of the remaining uncolonized areas of Africa, Germany built the third-largest colonial empire at the time, after the British and French. The German colonial empire encompassed parts of several African countries, including parts of present-day Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, as well as northeastern New Guinea, Samoa and numerous Micronesian islands. Including mainland Germany, the empire had a total land area of 3,503,352 square kilometers (1,352,652 sq mi) and population of 80,125,993 people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Atakpamé</span> Place in Plateaux Region, Togo

Atakpamé is the fifth largest city in Togo by population, located in the Plateaux Region of Togo. It is an industrial centre and lies on the main north-south highway, 161 km north of the capital Lomé. It is also a regional commercial centre for produce and cloth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">French Togoland</span> Former French colonial mandate in West Africa (1916–60); present-day Togo

French Togoland was a French colonial League of Nations mandate from 1916 to 1960 in French West Africa. In 1960 it became the independent Togolese Republic, and the present day nation of Togo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">German West Africa</span> German colony

German West Africa (Deutsch-Westafrika) was an informal designation for the areas in West Africa that were part of the German Colonial Empire between 1884 and 1919. The term was normally used for the territories of Cameroon and Togo. German West Africa was not an administrative unit. However, in trade and in the vernacular the term was sometimes in use.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">German colonization of Africa</span>

Germany colonized Africa during two distinct periods. In the 1680s, the Margraviate of Brandenburg, then leading the broader realm of Brandenburg-Prussia, pursued limited imperial efforts in West Africa. The Brandenburg African Company was chartered in 1682 and established two small settlements on the Gold Coast of what is today Ghana. Five years later, a treaty with the king of Arguin in Mauritania established a protectorate over that island, and Brandenburg occupied an abandoned fort originally constructed there by Portugal. Brandenburg — after 1701, the Kingdom of Prussia — pursued these colonial efforts until 1721, when Arguin was captured by the French and the Gold Coast settlements were sold to the Dutch Republic.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alhaji Grunshi</span>

Alhaji Grunshi,, serving in the Gold Coast Regiment, was the first soldier in British service to fire a shot in the First World War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Postage stamps and postal history of Togo</span>

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Togo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Togoland campaign</span> 1914 French and British invasion of the German colony of Togoland

The Togoland campaign was a French and British invasion of the German colony of Togoland in West Africa, which began the West African campaign of the First World War. German colonial forces withdrew from the capital Lomé and the coastal province to fight delaying actions on the route north to Kamina, where the Kamina Funkstation linked the government in Berlin to Togoland, the Atlantic and South America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Affair of Khra</span> 1914 conflict between Anglo-French and German colonial forces

The Affair of Khra [Chra] was fought by British and French troops against German Polizeitruppen in the village of Khra, near the Khra River on 22 August 1914, during the Togoland Campaign of the First World War. The German defenders mined the approaches to the river, blew the bridges and dug in around the village on the far bank, ready to defend the crossing with rifles and three concealed machine-guns. The British-French attack was repulsed and then a German counter-attack was ordered but many troops refused the order and the attack was not delivered.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of rail transport in Togo</span>

Rail transport in Togo began in 1905.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kamina Funkstation, Togo</span>

Kamina Funkstation was a wireless transmitter in the German-occupied colony of Togoland in West Africa. The wireless station was built by Telefunken near the village of Kamina, in Togoland, where the nearest large settlement was Atakpamé. The transmitter was built by Telefunken, on behalf of the German government from 1911 to 1914. The station was designed as a node and switching point for other German colonial radio stations. Shortly after the beginning of the First World War, Togoland was invaded by British and French forces from the neighbouring colonies of Gold Coast (Ghana) to the west and French Dahomey (Benin) to the east. The station was destroyed by the operators to prevent it from coming under British and French control.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ewe Unification Movement</span>

The Ewe Unification Movement was a series of west African ethno-nationalist efforts which sought the unification of the Ewe peoples spread across what are now modern Ghana and Togo. It emerged as a direct political goal around 1945 under the colonial mandate of French Togoland, however the ideal of unifying the group has been an identifiable sentiment present amongst the ethnicity's leadership and wider population ever since their initial colonial partitions by the British and German Empires from 1874 to 1884. While there have been many efforts to bring about unification, none have ultimately been successful due to both the platform itself often being a secondary concern for political leadership, or inter/intrastate conflicts overshadowing them.

The Lomé–Aného railway was the first railway in the German protectorate of Togoland. Over a length of 44 kilometers, it connected the administrative center of Lomé with the coastal town of Aného. Colloquially, the coastal railway was also called Kokosnussbahn – coconut trees grew on the dunes between the beach and the lagoon; oil palm products were often transport goods.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lomé–Blitta railway</span> Railway line in Togo

The Lomé–Blitta railway was the third railway line built in today's Togo. It was also called Hinterlandbahn or Baumwoll-Bahn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Togo-Bè Kingdom</span>

The kingdom of Togo-Bè was a precolonial state located in the south of modern day Togo, founded by Ewe people. It was situated around the Togo lake and has possibly encompassed an area of 600 km². The foundation of the kingdom remains unclear and its history is widely disputed. Togo-Bè lost its independence when it became a protectorate of the German Empire on 5 July, 1884. A treaty was signed by its last ruling king Mlapa III and German explorer Gustav Nachtigal. The treaty declared a German protectorate over a stretch of territory along the Slave Coast on the Bight of Benin. With the small gunboat SMS Möwe at anchor, the imperial flag was raised for the first time on the African continent. Consul Heinrich Ludwig Randad Jr., resident agent of the firm C. Goedelts at Ouidah, was appointed as the first commissioner for the territory. The most important exports were slaves, until local slavery was declared illegal and was abolished by the French in 1848, but cotton, sisal fibre, cacao beans and different textiles were also traded. Because of the slave trade ban, its economy was ravaged and its kings lost most of the power, so it was easily colonized. Traditionally the kingdom was animist, but by 1884 had moved towards Christianity due to the influence of German missionaries operating in the region since 1847.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Togolese nationality law</span>

Togolese nationality law is regulated by the Constitution of Togo, as amended; the Togolese Nationality Code, and its revisions; the Code of Persons and Family; the Children's Code; and various international agreements to which the country is a signatory. These laws determine who is, or is eligible to be, a national of Togo. The legal means to acquire nationality, formal legal membership in a nation, differ from the domestic relationship of rights and obligations between a national and the nation, known as citizenship. Nationality describes the relationship of an individual to the state under international law, whereas citizenship is the domestic relationship of an individual within the nation. Togolese nationality is typically obtained under the principal of jus sanguinis, i.e. by birth in Togo or abroad to parents with Togolese nationality. It can be granted to persons with an affiliation to the country, or to a permanent resident who has lived in the country for a given period of time through naturalization.