Beginning on September 20, 1888, insurrections led by Abushiri attacked German-held trading posts and towns throughout the East African territory. The German trading company, unable to control the uprising appealed to the government in Berlin for assistance. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck dispatched 34-year-old Lieutenant Hermann Wissmann as Reichskommissar to the colony. Wissmann along with a combination of German, Sudanese and Shangaen soldiers formed the core of the first Schutztruppe in the region. With naval assistance they bombarded coastal towns which allowed for German re-occupation. Also the Navy set up a blockade to deny shipments of arms and supplies to reach the rebels.
In late 1884, an expedition of the Society for German Colonization, led by Carl Peters, had reached Zanzibar and made the local chiefs on the opposite mainland sign "protection contracts" promising vast areas to his organisation. Once it had gained a foothold, Peters' new German East Africa Company acquired further lands in Tanganyika up to the Uluguru and Usambara Mountains. That met with opposition by Sultan Barghash bin Said of Zanzibar, who nevertheless had to give in after Peters had reached the official support by the Foreign Office in Berlin and a fleet of the Kaiserliche Marine under Konteradmiral Eduard von Knorr appeared off the Zanzibar coast. On 28 April 1888, Sultan Khalifah bin Said of Zanzibar finally signed a treaty, ceding the administration of the Tanganyika mainland to the German East Africa Company.
Military contingents were formed in German East Africa, where they became famous as Askari, in the Kamerun colony of German West Africa, and in German South-West Africa. Control of the German colonies of New Guinea, in Samoa, and in Togoland was performed by small local police detachments. Kiautschou in China under Imperial Navy administration was a notable exception. As part of the East Asian Station the navy garrisoned at Tsingtao the marines of 3rd Sea Battalion, the only all-German unit with permanent status in an overseas protectorate.
When in 1888 the attempts of the German East Africa Company to start a dominion collapsed in face of African resistance, it asked Bismarck for help, which was at first refused. In 1889, Wissmann was promoted to Captain and appointed as Reichskommissar for the German East Africa region where he was tasked with suppression of the Abushiri Revolt led by Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi. Wissmann was only given one order: "Victory".
When in 1888 the Abushiri Revolt broke out in the dominions of the German East Africa Company, Bismarck's government in Berlin had to send mercenary troops under Reichskommissar Hermann Wissmann to subdue the uprising. Upon the establishment of German East Africa, these "Wissmann troops" were transformed into Schutztruppe forces by an act of the Reichstag parliament on 22 March 1891. Likewise, the police forces for South-West Africa under Curt von François and for German Cameroon were re-established as Schutztruppe units by the act of 9 June 1895.
The German East Africa Company (Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Gesellschaft, abbreviated DOAG) was a chartered colonial organization which brought about the establishment of German East Africa, a territory which eventually comprised the areas of modern Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda. The Company originated in 1884 as the Gesellschaft für deutsche Kolonisation (Society for German Colonisation) with the aim of trading in Africa. The German protectorate of Wituland (within modern Kenya) originated as a separate German sphere of influence in 1885. In April of the same year, the company leased the coastal strip opposite Zanzibar from Sultan Khalifa bin Said for 50 years. Its attempt to take over the administration led to a general revolt along the coast of what is now Tanzania. The company could only hold Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo with the help of the German navy. In 1889 it had to request the assistance of the German government to put down the rebellion. In 1891, after it became apparent that the company could not handle its dominions, it sold out to the German government, which began to rule German East Africa directly. The company initially continued to operate its many activities, including mines, plantations, railways, banking, minting, etc., before it consented to relinquish them to the German colonial administration and other organizations. It subsequently operated as a land company within the German territory until Britain occupied German East Africa during World War I.
On his way to East Africa Wissmann hired a mercenary force of mostly Sudanese soldiers from decommissioned units of the Anglo-Egyptian army to whom later a number of Zulus from South Africa were added, all under the command of German officers. The German forces, along with British naval assistance, fortified Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam and retook Tanga and Pangani. Wissmann's forces with superior firepower also retook the rest of the Coastal Strip. They fortified the interior garrison of Mpwapwa and reopened the main caravan route through the area, using Lts. Langheld, Sigle, Charles Stokes & Sergeant Bauer. Soon afterwards, Abushiri was arrested and executed in Pangani on 16 December 1889. In January 1890, Wissmann issued a general pardon to the remaining rebels.
In 1888, Pangani was the center of an armed movement to resist German colonial conquest of the entire mainland Tanzanian coast. The local leader of the resistance was Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi, a Swahili-speaker born in Zanzibar who owned a small estate at the suburb that now bears his name. Abushiri was instrumental in coordinating resistance to German conquest along much of the coast. The Germans hanged him at Pangani in December 1889.
Al Bashir attempted to flee to the Imperial British East Africa Company in Mombasa, but was turned over to the Germans by local tribesmen. On 15 December 1889 he was sentenced to death by a court-martial and shortly afterwards hanged in Pangani.