1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Togoland

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TOGOLAND, a German colony on the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa. It forms part of the territory formerly distinguished as the Slave Coast and was annexed by Germany in 1884. It is bounded S. by the Atlantic, W. by the British possessions on the Gold Coast, N. by the French colony of Upper Senegal and Niger, E. by Dahomey, also a French colony. (For map see French West Africa and Gold Coast). The coastline is only 32 m. in length (1° 14′ E. to 1° 38′ E.) but inland Togoland widens to three or four times that breadth. It contracts again at its northern boundary to about 30 m. From the coast northward the extreme length is 350 m. The area of the colony is some 33,700 sq. m. Pop. about 1,000,000. The white inhabitants numbered (1909) 330 of whom 300 were German. The boundary between Togo and Dahomey, by Franco-German agreement of 1897, follows the coast lagoon from Little Popo to the Mono river, ascends the middle of that river as far as 7° N., thence goes in a direct line to 9° N. and from that point in a north-westerly direction to 110 N. The western boundary was settled by Anglo-German agreements of 1890 and 1899; it leaves the coast west of the town of Lome and proceeds in a zigzag line to where the Deine river joins the Volta; thence follows the Volta to its junction with the Daka and then the Daka up to the point where 9° N. cuts the river. From this point the frontier follows a north-easterly course to 110 8′ N., leaving the town of Yendi and the Chakosi territory on the German side of the boundary line. The agreement of 1899 defined the western boundary from 8° N. northward, and partitioned between the two powers a large block of territory, which by an agreement of 1888 had been declared a neutral zone. The northern frontier is a line drawn between the northernmost points of the eastern and western frontiers.

Physical Features.—The coast is low and sandy and is formed by the detritus deposited by the sea current called Calema. It is perfectly straight, without harbours, and approached only through a dangerous bar. This coast strip is nowhere more than 2 m. broad. It masks a series of lagoons, of which the largest, occupying a central position, is called the Togo, Avon or Haho lagoon. It is connected by a channel running eastward parallel with the sea, with the Wo and Little Popo lagoons, and with the Mono river. Behind the lagoons an undulating plain stretches some 50 m. The Sio and Haho, the two largest rivers of the coast region, both flow into the Togo lagoon. These rivers rise on the eastern versant of a chain of mountains which traverse the country in a south-westerly to north-easterly direction. Beginning in the south-east corner of the Gold Coast colony this range, composed of quartzite's and schists, extends beyond the borders of Togoland into upper Dahomey. It has no general name, but in the south is called Agome. On the eastern side it presents a fairly continuous escarpment. It is most elevated in its southern portion, Mt Dabo having a height of 3133 ft. and Mt Atilakuse (in 7° 20′ N. 0° 43′ E.) 3248 ft. Its general elevation is between 2000 and 2500 ft.; on the north-west side of the range the country is table-land some 600 to 1000 ft. high. Baumann Spitze (3215 ft.) is an isolated peak in 6° 50′ N., 0° 46′ E., east of the main range. South and east of the range the country, apart from that watered by the coast streams, drains to the Mono river. The greater part of the colony lies west and n orth of the chain and belongs to the basin of the Volta. The chief river traversing it is the Oti, which rises in about 12° N., enters Togoland at its north-east corner, and runs with a very sinuous course south-south-west to its junction with the Volta in 7° 37′ N. For a considerable distance the left bank of the Volta itself is in German territory, but its lower course is wholly in the Gold Coast colony.

Climate.—The climate on the coast is hot, humid and unhealthy. There are two wet seasons, the first lasting from March till June, the second from September to November. Apart from the coast region, seasons of drought are not uncommon. The dry wind from the Sahara called harmattan, which carries great quantities of fine red sand, causes a fall of temperature in the (European) summer.

Flora and Fauna.—Coco-nut palms, introduced about the beginning of the 19th century by the Portuguese, grow along the coast and for 80 m. or so inland. The lagoons are surrounded by dense belts of reeds, and the coast-land is covered with low, impenetrable bush. There are considerable forests of oil palms, rubber trees and vines, and timber and dyewood trees. Many of the river valleys are densely wooded. On the hills the baobab and hyphaene palm are characteristic; on the plateau are stretches of open savanna, and park-like country with clumps of silk cotton and shea-butter trees. The fauna resembles that of other parts of West Africa; it is poor on the coast. Elephants and lions are found in the interior.

Inhabitants.—The inhabitants are negroes and negroids. In the north the people are mostly Hausa, in the west they belong to the Tshi-speaking clans, while on the coast they are members of the Ewe (Dahomey) tribes. Among the coast people there is a distinct infusion of Portuguese blood, and in all the ports are descendants of Brazilian negroes who returned to Africa during the 19th century. Pidgin English is the common language along the coast. The Adeli and Akposso hill tribes have a dialect of their own. In the north the tribes form small, well organized states. In the coast lands the inhabitants are traders and agriculturists, in the interior they are largely pastoralists. The Hausa are often traders, traversing the country in large caravans. The inhabitants are partly Mahommedans, partly believers in fetish, comparatively few profess Christianity. As a rule the tribes are peaceful. Slave raiding has ceased, but domestic slavery in a mild form continues.

Towns.—The capital and chief port is Lome (pop. about 5000), near the western frontier. It is a creation of the Germans, the site, in 1884, being occupied by a small fishing village. It is provided with a jetty, is the sea terminus of the railway systems, the residence of the governor, and has churches, schools, hospitals and large business houses. The chief African traders are Hausa immigrants. Togo, which has given its name to the country, is a town on the south-eastern shores of the Togo lagoon. On the narrow spit of land between the lagoons and the sea are Bagida and Porto Segurothe last named one of the oldest towns on the Slave Coast and the port of Togo town-and, close to the eastern frontier, Little Popo, called by the Germans Anecho. Anejo or Anecho means the houses or quarter of the Anes. The Anes are reported to have Come from the Gold Coast by sea and to have been wrecked at this place. Little Popo dates from the 17th century or earlier. At the time of the German annexation Anecho was one of three distinct quarters into which the town was divided. In the hill country are the government stations of Misahohe and Bisrnarckburg. On the Volta, a short distance above the Oti confluence, are the adjacent towns of Kete-Krachi; on an affluent of the Mono in 7° N. is Sagada. In the north are the large native towns of Yendi and Sansane Mangu, both on caravan routes between Ashanti and the Niger countries.

Agriculture and Trade.—The country is rich in natural products, and its resources have been largely developed by the Germans. It was the first German colony to dispense (1903–1904) with an imperial subsidy towards its upkeep. Several firms have acquired plantations in which coffee, cocoa, cotton, kola and other tropical products are cultivated. Coco-nut palms thrive; maize, yams, bananas, tapioca and ginger are cultivated by the natives. The chief trade is in, and the principal exports are, palm oil and kernels, rubber, cotton, maize, groundnuts (Arachis), shea-butter from the Bassia pafkii (Sapotaceae), fibres of the Raphia vimfera, and the Sansevieria guineensis, indigo, and kola nuts, ebony and other valuable wood. In the interior cattle and sheep are plentiful, on the plateau horses and donkeys. The natives have several industries, including pottery, straw plaiting, smith work and woodcarving. Some of their carving is very line. They collect and spin the indigenous cotton, which is of good quality, and dye it with indigo or other pigments; they also manufacture very handsome Shawls. Cotton growing under European direction began about 1900, with the result that in 1901–1902 over 100,000 lb of cotton rown from native, American and Egyptian seed were shi ped to Bremen. In subsequent years the industry attained consicferable proportions.

The imports are chiefly textiles, metals and hardware, and gin. Imports are mainly from Germany, exports to Germany and to other West African colonies. In 1908 the value of the imports was £425,000, of the exports £389,000

Communications.—Good roads have been built connecting the coast towns with the principal places in the interior. A railway about 20 m. long connects Lome with Little Popo. From Lome another railway 76 m. long runs north-west to Agome-Palime near Misahöhe. There are telegraph and telephone lines between Lome and Little Popo, and both places are in telegraphic communication with the Gold Coast and Dahomey, and thus with the international cable system. There is direct steamship communication between Togoland and Hamburg, and the steamers of three French and two English lines call at Togoland ports.

Government, &c.—The colony is administered by a governor who is advised by a nominated council of unofficial members. Revenue is derived principally from customs duties, direct taxation being light. In 1907–1908 revenue and expenditure balanced at £103,000. A judicial system has been instituted to which natives as well as Europeans are amenable. The government maintains schools at all the coast towns. Various missionary societies have also established schools. In 1909 some 10,000 native children were receiving instruction.

History.—Before its annexation by Germany the lagoons were a favourite resort of slavers, and stations were established there by Portuguese, British, French and German traders. The coast natives were dependent on the rulers of Dahomey or Porto Novo. Little Popo and Togo were capitals of small independent kingdoms. Little Popo is said to have been founded in the 17th century by refugees from Accra, who were driven out by the Akwamu. At the time that “the scramble for Africa” began, the narrow strip of coast over which the king of Togo ruled was the sole district between the Gambia and the Niger to which Great Britain, France or some other civilized power had not a claim. At Togo Bremen merchants had trading stations, and taking advantage of this fact Dr Gustav Nachtigal, German imperial commissioner, induced the king of Togo (July 5, 1884) to place his country under German suzerainty. The claims made by Germany to large areas of the hinterland gave rise to considerable negotiation with France and Great Britain, and it was not until 1899 that the frontiers were fixed on all sides (see Africa, § 5). Meantime the development of the coast region had been taken in hand. On the whole the history of the colony has been one of peaceful progress, interrupted now and again, as in 1903, by severe droughts. At stated intervals the native chiefs are summoned to Lome to discuss administrative matters with the government.

See H. Klose, Togo unter deutscher Flagge (Berlin, 1899), a comprehensive survey, with bibliography; N. Seidel, Die Küste und das Vorland der Togocolonie (Berlin, 1897), and Die Ewhesprache in Togo (Heidelberg, 1906); Schönhärt, Volkstümliches aus Togo (Dresden, 1909); R. Büttner, Die Forschungsstation Bismarckburg und Adeli (1894); Das deutsche Schutzgebiet Togo (Bremen, 1891); L. Von Ammon, “Zur Geologie von Togo und vom Nigerlande” in Mitteil. der geog. Gesell. in München (1905); Klose, “Religiöse Anschauungen und Menschenopfer in Togo” in Globus 1902; P. Sprigade, Karte von Togo, scale 1:200,000, 12 sheets, also in 2 sheets on the scale 1:500,000 (Berlin, 1902–1907).