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Schutzgebiet Togo
Togoland protectorate
Protectorate of Germany

Flag Coat of arms
Togoland (red). Other German colonies in blue
Capital Bagida (1884-86)
Sebeab (1886-97)
Lomé (1897- )
Language(s) German (official)
Ewe, Kabye
Political structure Protectorate
Historical era New Imperialism
 - Protectorate established 5 July 1884
 - Allied occupation 26 August 1914
 - Togoland partitioned 27 December 1916
Currency German gold mark

Togoland was a German protectorate in West Africa from 1884 to 1914, encompassing what is now the nation of Togo and most of what is now Volta Region District, Ghana. The colony was established during the period generally known as Europe’s imperialist "Scramble for Africa". 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 and Kamerun. From his base on the Spanish island possession Fernando Poo in the Bight of Bonny he traveled extensively on the mainland of Africa. On 5 July 1884 Nachtigal signed a treaty with the local chief, Mlapa III, in which he declared a German Empire 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 Widah, was appointed as the first commissioner for the territory.[1]


Economics and growth

Loading of cotton bales on the pier at Lome (1885)

Germany gradually extended its control inland. Colonial administrators and settlers brought scientific cultivation to the country's main export crops (cacao, coffee, cotton). The colony’s infrastructure was developed to one of the highest levels in Africa. Colonial officials built roads and bridges to the interior mountain ranges and three rail lines from the capital Lome; along the coast to Aného in 1905, to Palime (modern Kpalimé) in 1907, and the longest line, the Hinterlandbahn to Atakpamé by 1911.[2]

In 1895 the capital Lome had a population of 31 Germans and 2,084 natives. By 1913 the native population had swelled to 7,042 persons and 194 Germans, including 33 women, while the entire colony had a German population of 316, including 61 women and 14 children.[3] In the years just before the Great War Lome had grown into the “prettiest town in West Africa.”[4] Because it was one of Germany's two self-supporting colonies,[5] Togoland was acknowledged as a small but treasured possession. This would last until the eruption of World War I.

Occupation and beyond

Map of Togo in 1915.

After calling on the German colony to surrender on 6 August 1914, French and British troops invaded unopposed the next day. No military personnel was 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.[6] The Entente forces occupied the capital Lome, then advanced on a powerful and 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 now 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 predicaments ahead.[7] On 27 December 1916, Togoland was separated into French and British administrative zones. With the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles in 1920, Togoland formally became a League of Nations Class B mandate divided into French Togoland and British Togoland, covering respectively about two-thirds and one-third of the territory.

The French-ruled region of the former German colony became in 1960 the Republic of Togo 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. The British area was integrated in the same year into Ghana following a plebiscite.


Map of Togoland in 1885.
  1. ^ Washausen, Hamburg und die Kolonialpolitik, p. 79
  2. ^ Haupt,Deutschlands Schutzgebiete, p. 82
  3. ^ Haupt, p. 81
  4. ^ Haupt, p. 74
  5. ^ German Samoa was self-sufficient after 1908
  6. ^ Haupt, p. 79
  7. ^ Haupt, p. 87

See also


  • Haupt, Werner (1984). Deutschlands Schutzgebiete in Übersee 1884-1918. [Germany’s Overseas Protectorates 1884-1918]. Friedberg: Podzun-Pallas Verlag. ISBN 3-7909-0204-7.  
  • Washausen, Helmut (1968). Hamburg und die Kolonialpolitik des Deutschen Reiches. [Hamburg and Colonial Politics of the German Empire]. Hamburg: Hans Christians Verlag.  

References in popular culture

In the popular Canadian sketch comedy show, Second City Television (which ran from 1976 to 1984), the news segment skit "SCTV News" regularly included news bulletins about natural catastrophes in "Togoland," though no contemporary country had that name.

In Insomniac Games's video game franchise Resistance series, Britain and France initiated the Great War when they allowed their military forces to invade Togoland.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TOGOLAND, a German colony on the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa. It forms part of the territory formerly distinguished as the Slave Coast and was annexed by Germany in 1884. It is bounded S. by the Atlantic, W. by the British possessions on the Gold Coast, N. by the French colony of Upper Senegal and Niger, E. by Dahomey, also a French colony. (For map see French West Africa and Gold Coast). The coastline is only 32 m. in length (I° 14' E. to I° 38' E.) but inland Togoland widens to three or four times that breadth. It contracts again at its northern boundary to about 30 m. From the coast northward the extreme length is 350 m. The area of the colony is some 33,700 sq. m. Pop. about i,000,000. The white inhabitants numbered (1909) 33 0 of whom 300 were German. The boundary between Togo and Dahomey, by Franco-German agreement of 1897, follows the coast lagoon from Little Popo to the Mono river, ascends the middle of that river as far as 7° N., thence goes in a direct line to 9° N. and from that point in a north-westerly direction to 11° N. The western boundary was settled by Anglo-German agreements of 1890 and 1899; it leaves the coast west of the town of Lome and proceeds in a zigzag line to where the Deine river joins the Volta; thence follows the Volta to its junction with the Daka and then the Daka up to the point where 9° N. cuts the river. From this point the frontier follows a north-easterly course to 11° 8' N., leaving the town of Yendi and the Chakosi territory on the German side of the boundary line. The agreement of 1899 defined the western boundary from 8° N. northward, and partitioned between the two powers a large block of territory, which by an agreement of 1888 had been declared a neutral zone. The northern frontier is a line drawn between the northernmost points of the eastern and western frontiers.

Table of contents

Physical Features

The coast is low and sandy and is formed by the detritus deposited by the sea current called Calema. It is perfectly straight, without harbours, and approached only through a dangerous bar. This coast strip is nowhere more than 2 m. broad. It masks a series of lagoons, of which the largest, occupying a central position, is called the Togo, Avon or Haho lagoon. It is connected by a channel running eastward parallel with the sea, with the Wo and Little Popo lagoons, and with the Mono river. Behind the lagoons an undulating plain stretches some 50 m. The Sio and Haho, the two largest rivers of the coast region, both flow into the Togo lagoon. These rivers rise on the eastern versant of a chain of mountains which traverse the country in a south-westerly to north-easterly direction. Beginning in the south-east corner of the Gold Coast colony this range, composed of quartzites and schists, extends beyond the borders of Togoland into upper Dahomey. It has no general name, but in the south is called Agome. On the eastern side it presents a fairly continuous escarpment. It is most elevated in its southern portion, Mt Dabo having a height of 3133 ft. and Mt Atilakuse (in 7° 20' N. o° 43' E.) 3248 ft. Its general elevation is between 2000 and 2500 ft.; on the north-west side of the range the country is table-land some boo to moo ft. high. Baumann Spitze (3215 ft.) is an isolated peak in 6° 50' N., o° 46' E., east of the main range. South and east of the range the country, apart from that watered by the coast streams, drains to the Mono river. The greater part of the colony lies west and north of the chain and belongs to the basin of the Volta. The chief river traversing it is the Oti, which rises in about 12° N., enters Togoland at its northeast corner, and runs with a very sinuous course south-south-west to its junction with the Volta in 7° 37' N. For a considerable distance the left bank of the Volta itself is in German territory, but its lower course is wholly in the Gold Coast colony.


The climate on the coast is hot, humid and unhealthy. There are two wet seasons, the first lasting from March till June, the second from September to November. Apart from the coast region, seasons of drought are not uncommon. The dry wind from the Sahara called harmattan, which carries great quantities of fine red sand, causes a fall of temperature in the (European) summer.

Flora and Fauna. - Coco-nut palms, introduced about the beginning of the 19th century by the Portuguese, grow along the coast and for 80 m. or so inland. The lagoons are surrounded by dense belts of reeds, and the coast-land is covered with low, impenetrable bush. There are considerable forests of oil palms, rubber trees and vines, and timber and dyewood trees. Many of the river valleys. are densely wooded. On the hills the baobab and hyphaene palm are characteristic; on the plateau are stretches of open savanna, and park-like country with clumps of silk cotton and shea-butter trees. The fauna resembles that of other parts of West Africa; it is poor on the coast. Elephants and lions are found in the interior.


The inhabitants are negroes and negroids. In the north the people are mostly Hausa, in the west they belong to the Tshi-speaking clans, while on the coast they are members of the Ewe (Dahomey) tribes. Among the coast people there is a distinct infusion of Portuguese blood, and in all the parts are descendants of Brazilian negroes who returned to Africa during the 19th century. Pidgin English is the common language along the coast. The Adeli and Akposso hill tribes have a dialect of their own. In the north the tribes form small, wellorganized states. In the coast lands the inhabitants are traders. and agriculturists, in the interior they are largely pastoralists.. The Hausa are often traders, traversing the country in large caravans. The inhabitants are partly Mahommedans, partly believers in fetish; comparatively few profess Christianity. As a rule the tribes are peaceful. Slave raiding has ceased, but domestic slavery in a mild form continues.


The capital and chief port is Lome (pop. about 5000), near the western frontier. It is a creation of the Germans, the site,. in 1884, being occupied by a small fishing village. It is provided with a jetty, is the sea terminus of the railway systems, the residence of the governor, and has churches, schools, hospitals and large business houses. The chief African traders are Hausa immigrants. Togo, which has given its name to the country, is a town on the south-eastern shores of the Togo lagoon. On the narrow spit of land between the lagoons and the sea are Bagida and Porto Segurothe last named one of the oldest towns on the Slave Coast and the port of Togo town - and, close to the eastern frontier, Little Popo, called by the Germans Anecho. Anejo or Anecho means the houses or quarter of the Anes. The Anes are reported to have come from the Gold Coast by sea and to have been wrecked at this place. Little Popo dates from the 17th century or earlier. At the time of the German annexation Anecho was one of three distinct quarters into which the town was divided. In the hill country are the government stations of Misahohe and Bismarckburg. On the Volta, a short distance above the Oti confluence, are the adjacent towns of Kete-Krachi; on an affluent of the Mono in 7° N. is Sagada. In the north are the large native towns of Yendi and Sansane Mangu, both on caravan routes between Ashanti and the Niger countries.

Agriculture and Trade

The country is rich in natural products, and its resources have been largely developed by the Germans. It was the first German colony to dispense (1903-1904) with an imperial subsidy towards its upkeep. Several firms have acquired plantations in which coffee, cocoa, cotton, kola and other tropical products are cultivated. Coco-nut palms thrive;. maize, yams, bananas, tapioca and ginger are cultivated by the natives. The chief trade is in, and the principal exports are, palm oil and kernels, rubber, cotton, maize, groundnuts (Arachis), shea-butter from the Bassia parkii (Sapotaceae), fibres of the Raphia vinifera, and the Sansevieria guineensis, indigo, and kola nuts, ebony and other valuable wood. In the interior cattle and sheep are plentiful, on the plateau horses and donkeys. The natives have several industries, including pottery, straw plaiting, smithwork and woodcarving. Some of their carving is very fine. They collect and spin the indigenous cotton, which is of good quality, and dye it with indigo or other pigments; they also manufacture very handsome shawls. Cotton growing under European direction began about 1900, with the result that in 1901-1902 over 100,000 lb of cotton grown from native, American and Egyptian seed were shipped to Bremen. In subsequent years the industry attained considerable proportions.

The imports are chiefly textiles, metals and hardware, and gin. Imports are mainly from Germany, exports to Germany and to other West African colonies. In 1908 the value of the imports was. £425,000, of the exports £389,000.


Good roads have been built connecting the coast towns with the principal places in the interior. A railway about 20 m. long connects Lome with Little Popo. From Lome another railway 76 m. long runs north-west to Agome-Palime near Misahohe. There are telegraph and telephone lines between Lome and Little Popo, and both places are in telegraphic communication with the Gold Coast and Dahomey, and thus with the international cable system. There is direct steamship communication between Togoland and Hamburg, and the steamers of three French and two English lines call at Togoland ports.

Government, eec. - The colony is administered by a governor who is advised by a nominated council of unofficial members. Revenue is derived principally from customs duties, direct taxation being light. In1907-1908revenue and expenditure balanced at £103,000. A judicial system has been instituted to which natives as well as Europeans are amenable. The government maintains schools at all the coast towns. Various missionary societies have also established schools. In 1909 some 10,000 native children were receiving instruction.


Before its annexation by Germany the lagoons were a favourite resort of slavers, and stations were established there by Portuguese, British, French and German traders. The coast natives were dependent on the rulers of Dahomey or Porto Novo. Little Popo and Togo were capitals of small independent kingdoms. Little Popo is said to have been founded in the 17th century by refugees from Accra, who were driven out by the Akwamu. At the time that "the scramble for Africa" began, the narrow strip of coast over which the king of Togo ruled was the sole district between the Gambia and the Niger to which Great Britain, France or some other civilized power had not a claim. At Togo Bremen merchants had trading stations, and taking advantage of this fact Dr Gustav Nachtigal, German imperial commissioner, induced the king of Togo (July 5, 1884) to place his country under German suzerainty. The claims made by Germany to large areas of the hinterland gave rise to considerable negotiation with France and Great Britain, and it was not until 1899 that the frontiers were fixed on all sides (see Africa, § 5). Meantime the development of the coast region had been taken in hand. On the whole the history of the colony has been one of peaceful progress, interrupted now and again, as in 1903, by severe droughts. At stated intervals the native chiefs are summoned to Lome to discuss administrative matters with the government.

See H. Klose, Togo enter deutscher Flagge (Berlin, 1899), a comprehensive survey, with bibliography; N. Seidel, Die Kiiste and das Vorland der Togocolonie (Berlin, 1897), and Die Ewhesprache in Togo (Heidelberg, 1906); Schonhart, Volkstiimliches aus Togo (Dresden, 1909); R. Buttner, Die Forschungsstation Bismarckburg and Adeli (1894); Das deutsche Schutzgebiet Togo (Bremen, 1891); L. Von Ammon, "Zur Geologie von Togo and vom Nigerlande" in Mitteil. der geog. Gesell. in Munchen (1905); Klose, "Religiose Anschauungen and Menschenopfer in Togo" in Globus 1902; P. Sprigade, Karte von Togo, scale I :200,000, 12 sheets, also in 2 sheets on the scale I :500,000 (Berlin, 1902-1907).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun




  1. (historical) A former German protectorate in Africa, in what is now Togo

Derived terms

  • British Togoland
  • French Togoland


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