Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania

Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania

Schneppen, Heinz

1996

Book ID 717

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 01
Extract Date: 1886

Wilhelm likes everything that is high and big

There is a widespread belief that Kilimanjaro is situated in what is now Tanzania because Queen Victoria presented the mountain to her grandson, the German Emperor because, she is quoted as saying, "Wilhelm likes everything that is high and big". This popular version has been up to now reflected in many publications. In history books it is used as an example of the arbitrary way the colonial powers established their frontiers on the African continent. The story of Victoria and Wilhelm is sentimental, but it does not correspond to the facts. Victoria, as we will see later, had nothing to give away and Wilhelm nothing to receive considering that in 1886, when the fate of Mount Kilimanjaro was decided, his grandfather was the Emperor and not Wilhelm; indeed his own father, the Crown Prince, still awaited his turn. The answer is simple: Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania because in a given situation the Germans had the better cards and the British thought it wisest to be accommodating. And they had their special reasons, as we will see later.

Extract ID: 4358

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 07

German Protectorate 1885 (shaded)

Extract ID: 4362

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 16

German Map of June 1886 with the German proposal of a demarcation line from Mombasa to the North Eastern corner of Lake Victoria

Extract ID: 4365

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 17

British Map of October 1886

showing the demarcation line proposal by the British (Kilimanjaro to Speke Gulf) and by the Germans (Kilimanjaro to North of Musoma)

Extract ID: 4366

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 18
Extract Date: 1886

Kilimanjaro and Mombasa

That was the wording in diplomatic language. Put more simply, the Germans had gained Kilimanjaro but not Mombasa, the British Mombasa but not Kilimanjaro. Now it becomes evident why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania: because Mombasa is in Kenya.

Extract ID: 4374

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 20
Extract Date: 23 March 1888

The Germans at Kilimanjaro

In his diary dated 23 March 1888 young Heinrich Hessel recalls proudly that on the preceding day at noon the German detachment in Moshi had hoisted the German flag. The flag had unfurled splendidly. Hessel writes: "No drop of rain had fallen in spite of the rainy season." At lunch they had first toasted the Kaiser, then the crown prince. He ends his entry observing: "we have to see to it that this flag stays for ever". Writing this down he is not aware that his young life is fast coming to an end. Half a year later he is killed in action at Kilwa in the revolt against the Germans.

Extract ID: 4375

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 27
Extract Date: 1996

A myth is difficult to kill

The discussion which we have witnessed does not particularly create the impression that Queen Victoria might ever have thought of giving away the highest mountain in Africa, whomever it may have been to, least of all to her grandson Wilhelm whom in a talk with her Prime Minister she described as a "hot-headed, wrong-headed, conceited young man, devoid of all feeling".

In spite of all evidence (to the contrary) a myth is difficult to kill. As late as 1956 in the "Tanganyika Notes and Records" a reader lamented that this "old hoary legend" was still persisting. Forty years later this story is still very much alive - in England, Germany and Tanzania. The recently published and usually reliable East African Handbook 1995, being misled by its sources, is misleading its readers as well when categorically stating: "The mountain (that is Kilimanjaro) was originally located in apart of British East Africa which is now Kenya. However the mountain was given by Queen Victoria of England as a gift to her cousin, and so the border was moved and the mountain included within German Tanganyika."

We do know of course that there was no such thing as German Tanganyika and if the story were true it would have been the Queen's grandson and not her cousin. But as the story is based on fiction and not on facts the degree of relationship between Victoria and Wilhelm does not really matter. Old legends never die but it seems that they become more confused every time they are repeated.

Extract ID: 4373

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 32
Extract Date: 1902

Africa Partitioned

Extract ID: 4370

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, 1996
Page Number: 35
Extract Date: 1996

Tanzania's borders

It is not the task of this essay to take stock of a colonial past where Germans and Tanzanians shared for 25 years a common history. However this period may be judged, it seems that Tanzania's borders are the most positive heritage the Germans have left to the citizens of this country.

Extract ID: 4372
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