Below is the translation of a letter in which the Kings and Chiefs of Little Popo and Grigi in Togoland (actual Togo) are asking for their lands to be placed under the protection of the German Imperial Majesty the Kaiser, i.e. to be placed under German protection, or rather placing (not knowing the full extent) their lands under German protectorate. This was signed on March 5th of 1884. Remember that Little Popo is now known as Aného in Togo. Grigi might have been the town of Glidji.
I. We, the signatories, Kings and chiefs of Little Popo and Grigi, express our gratitude to Your Majesty for having assisted us in upholding peace in our land.
II. There would be no threat and no uncertainty, if the British government would refrain from interference in the affairs of our lands, which it desires, while we desire her not to have it.
III. We ask Your Majesty to provide us with protection and to avoid such an annexion.
IV. We implore Your Majesty to come to our aid, as we have placed ourselves fully under your protection.
V. We humbly request to take quick action.
signed King Aiaushi Agbanor of Little Popo and Grigi, Caboceer Quadjovi, chief Pedro Quadjo and 11 other signatures
Today, I present to you the text of the treaty signed between King Mlapa– the King of Togo, or rather his representative Chief Plakko or Plakkou, and the Consul General Gustav Nachtigal thereby placing his land under German protectorate. This is the famous July 5th 1884 treaty which marks the beginning of the German protectorate in Togoland and the birth of this German colony in West Africa. As you read it, remember that Porto Seguro is now Agbodrafo and Bagida is Baguida in Togo. Note also that when it is said ‘King of Togo,’ Togo in this case refers to the area around Togoville, the village which gave its name to the entire country. As always, European colonizers used one main treaty in one area of the country (mostly coastal) to claim ownership over the rest of the country. The original in German can be found in Geschichte der deutschen kolonien by Horst Gründer, UTB (2018) p. 91-92
The Consul General for the German Reich, Dr. Gustav Nachtigal, in the name of His Majesty the Kaiser of Germany, and Mlapa, King of Togo, represented for himself, his heirs and his chiefs by Plakkou, carrier of King Mlapa’s stick, have come to the following agreement :
Article 1 King Mlapa, desiring to protect legitimate trade, which mostly is carried out by Germans, and to grant the German merchants full security for their lives and property, requests the protection of His Majesty the German Kaiser, so that he is enabled to uphold the independence of his territory, which stretches from Porto Seguro‘s eastern border to the western border of Lomé or Bey Beach. His Imperial Majesty grants such protection, with the reservation of legitimately acquired rights of third parties.
Article 2 King Mlapa will cede no part of his lands and sovereignty rights to any foreign country of person, and he will not sign any treaty with any foreign power without the previously given approval of His Imperial Majesty.
Article 3 King Mlapa grants protection and free trade to all German subjects who live in his land, and promises never to grant merchants of other nations privileges, preferential treatment or protection beyond what is granted to the Germans. King Mlapa, without His Imperial Majesty’s approval, will refrain from collecting tariffs other than those presently collected, which are 1 Shilling for every ton of palm kernels 1 Shilling for every barrel of palm oil which are to be paid to the chief of the respective location.
Article 4 His Majesty the German Kaiser will respect all trade treaties previously signed by King Mlapa and others, and will in no way place burdens upon free trade in King Mlapa‘s land.
Article 5 His Majesty the German Kaiser will not interfere in the manner the tariff so far has been collected by King Mlapa and his chiefs
Article 6 The signatory parties reserve matters of mutual interest, not included in this treaty, for future agreements.
Article 7 This treaty takes force immediately, reserved ratification by the German government. In order to testify, we have signed in the presence of the witnesses which have signed
J.J. Gacher, J.B. Ahpevon, interpreters H. Randad Josua Lenze Mandt, Lt. at sea Dr. Max Buchner Chief Plakko Chief Adey of Lomé or Bey Coodaycee Hadji, 2nd chief of Bey Okkoo Nukoo King Garsa of Bagida
1 Translator’s footnote : Here a text originally written in English, and printed in German translation in the RTA, has been re-translated into English. Thus it might differ slightly in diction from the original text.
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, Cribyrefers to the city of Kribi, while Victoriarefers to present-day Limbe in the country Cameroon. Porto Seguro is now Agbodrafo and Little Popo is now known as Anéhoin Togo. South-Western Africarefers 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,