Kilimanjaro: Border

Name ID 1579

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Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18a
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

the border between Tanzania and Kenya

When Kaiser Wilhelm said to Queen Victoria that it was unfair that she had two mountains, she gave him one. If you look at the border between Tanzania and Kenya on a map, you will see how the line was redrawn to give Kilimanjaro to the German King. The missionary John Rebmann first saw the snows of Kilimanjaro on the 11th of May 1848. He said it was called the 'mountain of the caravans' by the Arab slave traders who used the mountain as a landmark while crossing the interior. The local Wachagga people call it Kibo (snow) and in Swahili, mwalima is mountain and ngara means to shine.

Extract ID: 3645

See also

Briggs, Philip Guide to Tanzania

A partition was agreed in 1886

A partition was agreed in 1886, identical to the modern border between Kenya and Tanzania. You may read that Kilimanjaro was part of the British territory before Queen Victoria gave it to her cousin, the Kaiser, as a birthday present. This amusing story was possibly dreamed up by a Victorian satirist to reflect the arbitrariness of the scramble. It is a complete fabrication.

Extract ID: 397

See also

Else, David Trekking in East Africa

governments of Germany and Britain agree

In 1886, when the governments of Germany and Britain agreed on a border to officially define their territories, the line they drew - from Victoria to the coast - was perfectly straight, broken only by an untidy curve around Kilimanjaro. This divided the original British territory claimed by Johnston, now in Kenya, from the rest of the area around Kilimanjaro, now in Kenya.

You may be told that the border curves around Kilimanjaro because Queen Victoria gave the mountain to Kaiser Wilhelm (her grandson) as a birthday present. While such an action would have been no different to the arbitrary partitioning of East Africa by these two monarch's own governments, there is no evidence that this story is true. But it remains one of the popular myths that add to the mystique and attraction of Kilimanjaro.

Extract ID: 401

See also

Sibley, Major J.R. Tanganyikan Guerrilla: East African campaign 1914-18

The well known story of the gift of Mount Kilimanjaro

The well known story of the gift of Mount Kilimanjaro by Queen Victoria to the Kaiser a few years later (rumoured to be because he had no high snow-clad peak in his empire) is perhaps indicative of the rather flippant attitude of the then imperial rulers and their governments towards the frontier lines of their overseas possessions.

... Since Queen Victoria's gift of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Kaiser this area has been developed into the main zone of German colonisation.

Extract ID: 400

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania
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
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

Baker, Richard St. Barbe Africa Drums
Page Number: 18
Extract Date: 1886

the Switzerland of Africa

One dull grey afternoon towards the end of the reign of Queen Victoria two young Foreign Office officials were shown into Dr. Stock's room in a house in Salisbury Square. It was the head-quarters of the Church Missionary Society and Dr. Stock was the General Secretary. This little man, with clear blue piercing eyes, heavy eyebrows, high forehead and gentle voice, had a profound knowledge of almost every part of the globe. In the course of his long service he had visited missionaries in their stations all over the world, and it was his business to keep in touch with his workers.

I knew him and I have never met anyone with such a grasp of his work. He knew the names and addresses and facts relating to all the stations wherever they might be. It was he himself who told me the story I am now relating.

"Doctor Stock," said one of the young men, "do you know a mountain in Africa called Kilimanjaro?"

"Yes, of course," answered Dr. Stock. "That is the Switzerland of Africa. That is where we send our missionaries from the coast to recuperate when they get run down with fever."

"That is a pity, a great pity," said the first young man. And the other repeated:

"That is a pity indeed."

"But I don't understand you," said Dr. Stock. "I wish to convey to you that the foothills of Kilimanjaro are extremely healthy. Why do you say it is a pity? I can't understand why you are so perturbed."

The young men looked at each other and hesitated and seemed to be consulting one another as to whether they should explain the full significance of their visit. They decided to do so, and:

"We said 'what a pity,' " said the first one, "because we have just given it to Germany."

At Dr. Stock's movement of surprise he went on. "You see," he said, "Kaiser Wilhelm said to Queen Victoria, I'd very much like to have the tallest mountain of Africa on my side of the boundary,' and the Foreign Office, speaking for Her Majesty, have replied, 'You shall.' This they have done without knowing anything about it. It was as an afterthought that we were sent to you this after-noon."

It was Dr. Stock's turn to say "That's a pity." He told them they should have come before. But it was too late. That imaginary line cut straight through the African territory up to the Great Lakes had one kink in it, where it skirted the foothills of Kilimanjaro, leaving this nineteen-thousand-foot mountain on the German side.

Extract ID: 3125

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania
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
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

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 05c
Extract Date: 1890

'Heligoland Treaty',

Another meeting leading to the 'Heligoland Treaty', was held in 1890 to ensure Africa 'The benefits of peace and civilisation' and settled the last disputes which still existed between Britain and Germany who abandoned some places in Kenya, receiving in compensation the Island of Heligoland in the North Sea.

A lingering controversy plagued the discussions concerning the area around Taveta claimed by rival German and British explorers and with Germany giving in, this is why it is the only stretch of this border which does not run in a perfectly straight line.

There is no historical evidence to support the story that the dividing line went on purpose around Mount Kilimanjaro and that Queen Victoria gave it as a present for the Kaiser's birthday as she already possessed Mount Kenya.

An Anglo-German Treaty divided Lake Victoria across the middle and continued the frontier to the eastern border of the Belgian Congo Free State. A last Belgian-German Agreement to share Lake Tanganyika along a North-South line ended the 'orderly' partition.

Extract ID: 4020

See also

Ward, Clive & Boy, Gordon & Allan, Iain Snowcaps on the Equator: The Fabled Mountains of East and Central Africa
Extract Author: Iain Allan
Page Number: 137
Extract Date: 1890

Mountain of Dreams - Kilimanjaro

Chapter 8

Yes, the partially preserved skeleton of a leopard does exist on the icy crater rim at 5670m (18600ft).

No, Queen Victoria did not give the mountain to the Kaiser as a birthday present.

Extract ID: 4565

See also

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

Africa Partitioned

Extract ID: 4370

See also

Johnston, Erika The other side of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 012
Extract Date: 1950's

Ol Molog

Ol Molog lies at 6,500 feet up on the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro before the mountain rises steeply into the cupola peak of Kibo, with its crusted snow cap shimmering down its sides. The Kenya border is ten miles below the farms, and had not Queen Victoria felt so generously disposed to her nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm, and given him Kilimanjaro `because the dear boy is so fond of mountains', Ol Molog would have been in Kenya and not Tanganyika.

Extract ID: 4465

See also

Schneppen, Heinz Why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania
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

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See also

BBC internet news
Extract Date: 8 June, 2005

Neighbours row over Kilimanjaro

Tanzania's tourist industry has accused Kenya of trying to hoodwink tourists into thinking Africa's highest mountain is in Kenya rather than Tanzania.

Kenya's tourism minister Morris Dzoro told a travel agents conference that Mount Kilimanjaro was one of his country's top tourist attractions.

This angered Tanzanian tour operators who said Mr Dzoro was "trying to hijack our tourists and take their money."

The 5,895m high mountain is in Tanzania, some 20km from Kenya.

The nearby Tanzanian town of Arusha has its own international airport.

Chief executive of the Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators, Mustapha Akunaay, told the BBC News Website that the Kenyan comments were perhaps understandable when coming from marketing people but not when delivered by a minister.

"I stand by my criticism. This information from Kenya is distorted and is not right."

Kenya already has twice as many tourists as Tanzania and Tanzania's tourist industry fears it could lose out even further once an agreed customs union comes into force.

Extract ID: 5074