SMS Schwalbe

She served in German East Africa from 1889 to 1893, and during this period she assisted in the suppression of the Abushiri Revolt. In 1893, she returned to Germany for a major overhaul. She was decommissioned until 1898, when she returned to service for another tour abroad. She initially returned to German East Africa, where she patrolled South African waters to protect German shipping during the Second Boer War. The outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 prompted the Kaiserliche Marine to send Schwalbe to join the European forces battling the Boxers. Schwalbe spent 1901 and 1902 in Chinese waters, blockading the mouth of the Yangtze and suppressing local unrest.

SMS Leipzig (1875)

SMS ''Leipzig
The squadron, which was intended to operate in the South Pacific, had instead to remain off German East Africa due to the Abushiri revolt, a major rebellion against German rule; this was indeed the reason Schwalbe and Pfeil were sent to reinforce the squadron. The operations conducted off German East Africa were the largest and longest sustained action of the German fleet before World War I. On 8 September, Leipzig, Olga, and Möwe sent troops ashore at Tanga. Leipzig then went to Bagamoyo where she shelled rebel troops.

SMS Carola

She sailed to the central Pacific Ocean to protect German interests in Samoa and Melanesia and was the first German warship to reach what would become German Southwest Africa. Her second deployment came in 1886, and lasted into 1891; the tour saw Carola alternate between German East Africa and the central Pacific. During operations in the former from 1888 to 1890, she participated in anti-slave trade operations and helped suppress the Abushiri revolt. After returning to Germany in 1891, Carola was converted into a gunnery training ship, as she was by then obsolete as a warship.


🇹🇿United Republic of TanzaniaTanzanian
European colonialism began in mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. The United Nations estimated Tanzania's population at million. The population is composed of several ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups.

Tanga, Tanzania

TangaTanga CityPort Tanga
In the 19th Century growing interests by Europeans for the Scramble for Africa brought the Germans to Tanga. The Germans bought the coastal strip of mainland Tanzania from the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1891. This takeover designated Tanga into a township and was the first establishment in German East Africa. The town became the centre of German colonial administration before the establishment of Dar es Salaam in the early 20th century. Tanga was chosen in 1889 as a military post of German East Africa, and it became a district office in 1891. The town saw rapid expansion and planned growth under the German occupation.

Carola-class corvette

She also helped suppress the Abushiri revolt, sending marines ashore to fight the rebels and providing gunfire support to German forces led by Major Hermann Wissmann. After returning to Germany in 1891, Carola was converted into a gunnery training ship, as she was by then obsolete as a warship. She served in this capacity, in company with the training ship and Olga through the 1890s and early 1900s, with this duty being interrupted in 1897, when she was used as a target ship. Carola was decommissioned in 1905, sold the following year, and broken up for scrap in Hamburg. In the course of her career, Olga was sent abroad on three major deployments.

Otto von Bismarck

BismarckChancellor BismarckPrince Otto von Bismarck
Germany's new colonies included Togoland (now Togo and part of Ghana), German Kamerun (now Cameroon and part of Nigeria), German East Africa (now Rwanda, Burundi, and the mainland part of Tanzania), and German South-West Africa (now Namibia). The Berlin Conference (1884–85) established regulations for the acquisition of African colonies; in particular, it protected free trade in certain parts of the Congo basin. Germany also acquired colonies in the Pacific, such as German New Guinea.

Carl Peters

Petersalleetitular German colonial leader
Biografie (In German). Paper on the German colonial policy by the example of German East Africa (In German). Deutsches Kolonial-Lexikon Letter P – Peters (In German). Apology of Peters at Excerpt from Peters's memories about the establishment of German East Africa (In German). Das Geschichtsprojekt Afrika-Hamburg about Peters (in German). Bequest of Carl Peters in the archive of 'Märkischer Kreis'.

Society for German Colonization

colonization groupSociety for German Colonisation
On 2 April 1885 Peters formed the German East Africa Company (Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Gesellschaft, DOAG), modelled on the East India Company. He was aware that the imperial charter marked the beginning of a large-scale seizure of land to create reality, which soon resulted in an official note of protest by Sultan Barghash bin Said. Bismarck found himself constrained to send a squadron of Imperial Navy gunboats under Admiral Eduard von Knorr to the port of Zanzibar, whereafter the sultan relented and on 20 December 1885 signed a "treaty of friendship" recognising the acquisitions of German East Africa.


Bagamoyo district
Bagamoyo was the first capital of the colony while serving as the German headquarters of German East Africa (first under the auspices of the German East African Company and then the German Imperial Government) between 1886-1891. Dar es Salaam became the new capital of the colony in 1891. The town was apparently the (1895) birthplace of SS-Oberführer Julian Scherner. During World War I, on August 15, 1916, a British air attack and naval bombardment was launched on Bagamoyo, the Germans were overrun and the German garrison taken. When the German Empire decided to build a railway from Dar es Salaam into the interior in 1905, Bagamoyo's importance began to decline.

Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam RegionDar es Salaam, TanzaniaDar es Salam
Dar es Salaam fell into decline after Majid's death in 1870, but was revived in 1887 when the German East Africa Company established a station there. The town's growth was facilitated by its role as the administrative and commercial centre of German East Africa and industrial expansion resulting from the construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 1900s. German East Africa was captured by the British during World War I and became Tanganyika, with Dar es Salaam remaining the administrative and commercial centre. Under British indirect rule, separate European (e.g., Oyster Bay) and African (e.g., Kariakoo and Ilala) areas developed at a distance from the city centre.

German Army (German Empire)

German ArmyArmyImperial German Army
The Imperial German Army (Deutsches Heer) was the unified ground and air force of the German Empire (excluding the Marine-Fliegerabteilung maritime aviation formations of the Imperial German Navy). The term Deutsches Heer is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the Bundeswehr. The German Army was formed after the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership in 1871 and dissolved in 1919, after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.

East Asia Squadron

East Asia DivisionEast Asian Cruiser DivisionFar East Squadron
Since African colonies were then seen as of greater value, an African Cruiser Squadron was established in 1885 with permanent status, and shortly thereafter the Imperial German Navy reduced the East Asia presence to two small gunboats. From 1888 to 1892, was flagship of the German East Asia Squadron, initially under vice-admiral Karl August Deinhardt, appointed July 14th when the ship was in Aden and took command of the ship at Zanaibar on August 2nd, and of the squadron August 31st at Manda-Bay (Kenya). The planned voyage to the South Sea was cancelled with the first signs of troubles in East Africa. As such she took part in the suppression of the Abushiri Revolt in German East Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro

KilimanjaroMt. KilimanjaroKibo
Later in 1887 during his first attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, the German geology professor Hans Meyer reached the lower edge of the ice cap on Kibo, where he was forced to turn back because he lacked the equipment needed to handle the ice. The following year, Meyer planned another attempt with Oscar Baumann, a cartographer, but the mission was aborted after the pair were held hostage and ransomed during the Abushiri Revolt. In the autumn of 1888, the American naturalist Dr. Abbott and the German explorer Otto Ehrenfried Ehlers approached the summit from the northwest.

Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty

1 July 1890 treatyAnglo-German AgreementAnglo-German Convention
After the 1884 Berlin Conference, Germany had already lost the "Scramble for Africa": the German East Africa Company under Carl Peters had acquired a strip of land on the Tanganyikan coast (leading to the 1888 Abushiri Revolt), but had never had any control over the islands of the Zanzibar sultanate; the Germans gave away no vital interest. In return, they acquired Heligoland, strategically placed for control over the German Bight, which, with the construction of the Kiel Canal from 1887 onward, had become essential to Emperor Wilhelm's II plans for expansion of the Imperial Navy.


United States of AmericaSyriaNazi Germany
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Battle for Lake Tanganyika

battleBritish naval expedition to Lake TanganyikaLake Tanganyika
The Germans maintained a third large and heavily armed craft on the lake, Graf von Götzen; this craft was attacked indecisively by Belgian aircraft and was subsequently scuttled. Developments in the land-based conflict caused the Germans to withdraw from the lake, and control of the surface of Lake Tanganyika passed to the British and Belgians. Lake Tanganyika lay between the Belgian Congo on the western side and German East Africa on the eastern side. By the start of the war, the Germans had two warships on Lake Tanganyika: the 60 MT Hedwig von Wissmann, and the 45 MT Kingani.

Schwalbe-class cruiser

The Schwalbe class of unprotected cruisers were the first ships of the type built for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy). The class comprised two ships, the lead ship, and. They were designed for service in Germany's recently acquired colonial empire, and were built between 1886 and 1889. They were armed with a main battery of eight 10.5 cm guns and could steam at a speed of 13.5 kn. Schwalbe and Sperber spent their active careers abroad, usually in Germany's African colonies or in the Pacific. The two cruisers assisted in the suppression of the Abushiri Revolt in German East Africa in 1889–1890.

Leipzig-class corvette

She served abroad in this capacity from 1888 to 1893; during this extended deployment, she participated in the campaign to suppress the Abushiri revolt in German East Africa in 1888–1890. She then alternated between East Africa, China, and Chile, where she protected German nationals during the Chilean Civil War of 1891. In the meantime, Prinz Adalbert had been converted into a training ship in 1886, and served in that role for three years, before being reduced to a barracks ship in May 1890. In 1907, she was sold for scrap; by that time, Leipzig too had been reduced to a barracks ship and stationary training hulk in 1895, though she survived until 1919, when she sank accidentally.

SMS Sperber

She was thereafter assigned to the South Seas Station in German New Guinea to replace the gunboats and, which had been destroyed by the 1889 Apia cyclone. On 20 August, Sperber was recommissioned for her new assignment, and she departed Kiel on 4 September, bound for the Pacific. While coaling in Aden on 13 October, the cruiser received orders to head to German East Africa, which was gripped by the Abushiri Revolt. There, she was to replace the old sail corvette and the aviso. Sperber arrived in Zanzibar on 26 October; four days earlier, the protectorate of Wituland had been granted to Germany.

List of cruisers of Germany

As a result, the German naval designers began work on the, which provided the basis for all future German light cruisers. All nine cruisers served extensively in Germany's colonies, particularly in Africa and Asia. They participated in the suppression of numerous rebellions, including the Abushiri Revolt in German East Africa in 1889–1890, the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900–1901, and the Sokehs Rebellion in the Caroline Islands in 1911. Most of the ships had been recalled to Germany and decommissioned by the early 1910s, having been replaced by the newer light cruisers. and were scrapped in 1912, but the rest continued on in secondary roles.

List of unprotected cruisers of Germany

German unprotected cruisers
They were both sent to German East Africa to help put down the Abushiri Revolt in 1889–90, and Schwalbe joined the Eight Nation Alliance against the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. Both ships were decommissioned by 1911 and were thereafter used for secondary roles: Schwalbe as a training ship and Sperber as a target ship. After World War I, both vessels were sold and broken up for scrap by 1922. The Kaiserliche Marine designed the Bussard class in 1888 as an improved version of the Schwalbe class; like their predecessors, the Bussards were intended purely for colonial duty.