German colonies

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German colonies throughout history:      German Empire      Colonies of the German Empire      Prussian-Brandenburg colonies      Klein-Venedig ("Little Venice")
Arrival of the Brandenburgers in West Africa, 1682; in the foreground Major von der Groeben

This is a list of former German colonies (German: Deutsche Kolonien) and protectorates (German: Schutzgebiete) established by Brandenburg-Prussia, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the German Empire.

Brandenburg–Prussian colonies

Africa expeditions, here a German one, relied on well-payed bearers (Träger), sometimes hundreds at a time.
Loyal and brave Askari march to battle for Imperial Germany, the Kaiser and General von Lettow-Vorbeck, the "Lion of Africa" (German: Löwe von Afrika), in German East Africa.

These were colonies unsuccessfully settled by Brandenburg-Prussia (part of the Holy Roman Empire), since 1701 Kingdom of Prussia, and before the foundation of the German Empire in 1871.


North America

These territories were held briefly under lease or occupation during the early European colonizations of the New World:

Habsburg Monarchy colonies

These were colonies of the Habsburg Monarchy (part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation), since 1804 Austrian Empire, since 1867 Austria-Hungary:

Imperial German colonies

German officers in drill formation with native colonial troops (Reichsneger) at the German Government Station, Ebolowa, German Kamerun, West Africa. Ca. 1915.

These are colonies settled by and controlled by the German Empire from 1884 to 1919 which constituted the German Colonial Empire and were taken from Germany under the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.


Colonie allemande 2.jpg

The following were German African protectorates:


These were German colonies in the Pacific:


German concessions in China, leased to it by the Imperial Qing Dynasty:

  • Kiautschou Territory and Tsingtau (1898–1919)
    • Occupied by Japan from Nov 1914. Returned to China by them in 1922.
  • Certain rights only in Chefoo (c1870–1917)
    • today called Yantai.

See also

Further reading