Last week I published a poem by Sarah Anyang Agbor about the Anglophone plight in Cameroon, and the fact that Anglophones as any other children of Cameroon are treasured children of the nation and also ‘sing Cameroon’. Given that the history of Cameroon is so intertwined with that of the European colonizer: first becoming a German colony, then after Germany lost World War I, being divided into 2 and shared between France and Great Britain (the spoils of war, I guess), I have decided to publish here a few notes on German protectorates on the West Coast of Africa from 1884 to 1890. Note below that Cameroons, in the Ambas Bay section, refers to Cameroons Town which was the name for present-day Douala, Criby refers to the city of Kribi, while Victoria refers to present-day Limbe in the country Cameroon. Porto Seguro is now Agbodrafo and Little Popo is now known as Aného in Togo. South-Western Africa refers to present-day Namibia.
NOTES on German Protectorates on the West Coast of Africa 1884—1890, Map of Africa by Treaty vol 2, P. 694.
On the 5th July, 1884, an Agreement was signed between Germany and Togo, by which the territory of the King of Togo, situated on the West Coast of Africa, from the Eastern frontier of Porto Seguro to the Western frontier of Lome or Bay Beach was placed under the Protectorate of Germany.
Cameroons. Togoland. Slave Coast, &c.
On the 12th July, 1884, a German Protectorate was proclaimed over the whole of the Cameroons District, and on the 15th October of the same year†, the following official communication was made by the German Government to the principal Powers of Europe and to the United States Government, notifying the exact extent of territory on the West and South-West Coasts of Africa which had been placed under the protection of the German Empire :—
Baron von Plessen to Earl Granville.
(Translation.) German Embassy, 15th October, 1884.
“The Government of His Majesty the Emperor, with a view to insure more effectually German commercial interests on the West Coast of Africa, has taken certain districts of this coast under its protection. This has been effected in virtue of Treaties which have been in part concluded by Dr. Nachtigal, the Consul-General dispatched to West Africa, with independent Chiefs, and partly in virtue of applications for protection made by Imperial subjects, who have acquired certain tracts by covenants with independent Chiefs.
“Accordingly, the Togo tract, with the harbours of Lome and Bageida, the districts of Bimbia, with the Isle of Nicol, Cameroons, Malimba, to its northern extremity, Little Batanga, Plantation, and Criby, on the Slave Coast, and the tract of coastland between Cape Frio and the Orange River, with the exception of Valvisch (Walfish) Bay, in South-Western Africa, have been placed under the protection of His Majesty the Emperor. This has been notified by hoisting the Imperial military standard and planting frontier poles, and the engagement at the same time announced that all demonstrable existing rights of third parties are to be respected.”
Ambas Bay, Victoria.
On the 19th July, 1884, a British Notification was issued announcing the assumption of British sovereignty over Ambas Bay,* but this territory was transferred to Germany on the 28th March, 1887, since which date it has formed part of the German Protectorate over the Cameroons.
Mahin and Mahin Beach.
On the 29th January, 1885, Mahin was sold by the King of Mahin to a German subject, Herr G. L. Gaiser ; and on the 11th March, 1885, a Treaty was signed by the King of Mahin with the German Commissioner and Consul-General for the West Coast of Africa, Dr. Nachtigal, for extending a German Protectorate over Mahin and Mahin Beach, but it was not ratified by the German Emperor ; and on the 24th October following, both Mahin and Mahin Beach were ceded to Great Britain.
Bight of Biafra, Slave Coast (Togoland, Little Popo, and Porto Seguro), Senegambia, and Southern Rivers Districts.
On the 24th December, 1885, a Protocol was signed between France and Germany, for defining their respective rights of Sovereignty or Protectorate in the Bight of Biafra, on the Slave Coast (Togoland, Little Popo, and Porto Seguro), on the Coast of Senegambia, and in the Southern Rivers Districts.
British and German Limits.
On the 1st July, 1890, an Agreement was entered into between the British and German Governments defining their respective spheres of influence in East, West, and South-West Africa. With respect to the West Coast, the line of boundary was marked between the British Gold Coast Colony and the German Protectorate of Togo, the Volta Districts, and the Rio del Rey.
† “ National Zeitung,” 15th February, 1885. S.P., vol. lxxvi, p. 756,
*H.T., vol. xvii, p. 57.