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THE MAP OF AFRICA

KAISER’S DREAM OF A BIG DOMAIN. CHANGES WHICH MAY COME. The following article on the country held in Africa by European nations peared in a recent issue of tho New Aork ‘Sun,’ and : e of particular interest at the. .present juncture;— The cables from Europe have indicated very plainly to those who have taken interest in the study of colonial projects'o! j the European countries’ that the maps of the world will suffer important changes ia other continents than Europe. Not to consider the possessions of the lesser countries, it is interesting to see how the clash of interests between the colonial ambition of Germany, England, and France is likely to resound through the continent of Africa. For the present their possessions in other parts of the world may he disregarded, so full of important probability is tho situation in tho Dark Continent. E. Alexander Powell says in his recentwork, * The Last Frontier ’: “We have witnessed one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the world. In less than a generation we have seen the French dream of an African empire stretching without interruption from the Mediterranean to the Congo literally fulfilled. . . . In the two score years that have elapsed since France’s -inr.ee terrible her neglected and scattered colonies have been expanded into a third empire, an empire over sea. She has had her revenge for the loss of Alsace-Lorraine by forestalling leutonic colonial ambition in every quarter of tho globe. In China, Australasia, Equatom, and in Morocco the advance of the German vorlcmers has halted by tkd harsh ‘Qui'Vivc?’ of tho French vidottes . . Her sphere of influence extended over 45 per cent, of the land area 24 per cent of the population of Africa. —Extent of the French Empire.— The activities of the Kaiser in Africa have clashed also with the colonial designs of Great Britain. Great Britain, with control over Egypt and the country about the southern point of Africa extending northward, is broken in its continuity in a serious way only by tho possessions of Germany on tuo cast coast. There is a wondrous difference in the methods of colonisation between these three countries. It is said ; “ W hen the English occupy a countrv the first thing they build is a Custom-house, the Germans a barracks, and the French a railway. As a result of one clash between the French and the Germans the latter have taken a good bite out of the rich Moroccan country in the north-western corner of Africa. They have haggled much and crossed each other’s purpose often before Germany managed to secure what foothold she lias in the Dark Continent-. She has gained every inch of African territory at the expense of friction.

Possibly enough has been indicated of the possibilities as between Franca and Germany. Should Franco be victorious she would almost certainly demand the restoration of the piece of Morocco which was taken from her. It would seem likely that the portion of German territory further south on the west coast known as New Kamerun might also be taken, in addition to .Alsace-Lorraine. —Friction With England.— On the other side of the continent on the eastern shore, Germany has interposed herself between England and the realisation of Cecil Rhodes’s dream of an “ all red ” railway from the Cape to Cairo. It is not out of the possibilities of the next few years that the Congo territory should become German, that the Portuguese territory lying between her two principal possessions on the west coast should also become German. The acquirement of these places would give Germany a belt right across the middle of the southern part of Africa, and effectually slice the English north from the English south. It will be seen that in the event of German defeat in the present war the Kaiser seems likely to lose his foothold in South Africa to the benefit of England, and to a lesser degree for the benefit of France. A alight indication of what this amounts to lies in a recently published list of capital investments of Germany in various colonial adventures. In Africa alone they are said to be nearly £80,000,000. Her total colonial capital investments are nearly £400,000,000. The largest fractions are said to be as follows Brazil, £80,000.000; Africa, £76,000,000; Venezuela, £62,000,000. She has more than £20,000,000 invested in Turkey and the Balkans, to say nothing of nearly a similar amount in China, Mexico, Peru, and £400,000 in Argentina. Pretty pickings for those who conclude the treaty of peace, —ln the Desert Country.—

Twenty years ago Timbuctoo was a word. To-day it is the junction point of a railway system, partly in operation and partly under construction, which, will connect the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and open up to the world’s commerce an area one and a-half times as great as the United States—the French Empire in Africa. Desert? Part of it was; but French science and French enterprise have accomplished such wonders that the announcement was made two years ago by the French colonial administration that in the very heart of Sahara a region many square miles in area had been reclaimed to an extent that it could be planted to grain without delay. Wherever the ’ Frenchman has gone "in Africa he has taken ■ the railroad surveying instrument and the well digger with him. It is not too much to say, on the basis of what has been accomplished in the past, that in 50 years the great desert will have been cut down one-half by the same sort of reclamation processes'" that have put vast arid sections of the American West under successful cultivation. And this great empire is already partlylinked up with Europe by boat or rail. In Paris you can buy a through ticket to Biskra and return that, will entitle you to a rail and water trip with all the comforts and most of the luxuries of civilisation. The bronze statue of Chinese Gordon on camelback overlooking the Nile at _ Khartum is suggestive of what the British have done in the reclamation of northern Africa. From Alexandria all the way to the southernmost limits of the Egyptian Soudan you will see the helmeted British or civil administrator bearing the white man’s burden with an ease that makes you suspect that it is no burden at all. It is a close race between Gaul and Briton as to which has accomplished more in the way of shedding light into the Dark Continent, with the odds slightly in favoi c the Frenchman. The two practically sha equally in. —Tfae Dominion of Africa.— Germaiy came late into the scramble for the waste places of the world. Even while Von Moltke and hie victorious Prussians were severing Alsace-Lorraine from the body of France, the French were building up across the Mediterranean a splendid .dominion beside which the home country looks unimportant. The incident of Agadir in 1911, when the Kaiser halted for a brief moment the absorption of Morocco by France, marked the last attempt of Germany to acquire her share of the remaining unappropriated African territory. The arrival of the cruiser Panther at the Moroccan seaport placed Europe face to face with the phantom of a great war. Then the money interests in Germany spoke, and the Kaiser contented himself with a sap of 100,000 miles in French equatorial Africa in exchange for his assent to the treaty that made France mistress of Morocco and assured the continuity of her territory, with the exception of a small Spanish section, from Tunis to Darkar. Germany has fared poorly in'the partition of Africa. And even in the parts they have acquired the Germans have displayed a conspicuous inability to develop their country. In comparison with the wonderful trade expansion which Germany has achieved in the last quarter-century her colonial enterprises have been a flat failure. You will find more soldiers than traders in the German possessions in Africa, and more barracks than schools. The natives ba-\-e been so reduced in numbers that it has been found necessary to import white labor to do a good part of the heavy work in railroad building. One weakness of the German colonial system in Africa has been its location in four scattered and

disconnected sections. There is German East Africa on the east coast, and German South-west Africa on the opposite coast; Kamernn, in the big bight of the continent, and Togoland, a little strip sandwiched in between French Dahomey and the British Gold Coast. What the Kaiser has longed to accomplish is to connect the German possessions below the Equator, and so make a belt of German dominion across the continent. The plans of railway construction adopted and partly carried out in German East Africa and German South-west Africa plainly indicate some such purpose of acquisition and consolidation. Only two or threeyears ago it was hinted in Berlin that Portugal had announced its willingness to sell Angola, which lies north of German South-west Africa, and that negotiations were being carried on by Germany to acquire it. Such an acquisition would have- brought the consolidation of the southern German possessions within measurable distance of accomplishment, as the territory would have been a corner of the only remaining obstacle to a union of the Congo Free State, under the dominion of Belgium, with which Germany is now at war. —Loyalty to France.— A glance at the military positions of Germany and Franc© in Africa will be interesting in view of the ominous uncertainties of the situation. On© thing must be borne clearly in mind in any attempt to understand the strengtn of France as a colonial power in Africa, and that is the loyalty of her subject races. France has accomplished in Africa what no other Power has ever approached in Africa or any other black man’s country. She has made Frenchmen of her subject peoples. The Egyptian fellah may respect his British master, but ue does not love him. The black man of the German possessions both fears and deteats the ruler who wears the spiked helmet. But the Kabyle, or Tunisian, or Algerian, be he Moslem or Jew, regards the Frenchman as a fellow-citizen, with whom he stands on an exactly equal footing in the Courts and in the Public Service. Algeria is as much a. part of France in loyalty and pride of country as is the Department of the Loire, In Tunisia the Gallic spirit is being cultivated in the same way. Even some of the nomad tribes are proud to enrol themselves under the tri-color.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141019.2.67

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THE MAP OF AFRICA, Issue 15627, 19 October 1914

Word Count
1,764

THE MAP OF AFRICA Issue 15627, 19 October 1914

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