The cartography, writing, and ramblings of one crazy winter lover who likes to blog about the fun and inconsequential.

Deutsch-Ostafrika


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Possibly my most ambitious project to date, this is a map of a German East Africa that managed to survive World War I (thanks to a German victory in the war) and prosper afterwards, eventually winning its independence years later. I hope you all enjoy.

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The year is 2004: 40 years after the full independence of the United Republic of East Africa, in which the colonies of Tanganyika, Rwanda, and Burundi united with the British breakaway Zanzibar colony to form a single nation; a commonwealth within Germany's overseas empire rather than a directly-ruled colony. As one of the largest economies in Africa, it is little wonder that East Africa remains an important asset of Germany's sphere of influence even after independence. After all, with so many ties to the fatherland, it is hard to imagine the two nations permanently separating, even all these years later.

To understand East Africa's rise to dominance, one would have to trace the history back to the First World War, in which German forces successfully defeated the Allied Powers and had, by 1917, ended the war effectively and decisively. Germany's African colonies were eventually spared due to problems in Europe for the Allied powers and German negotiations. The saving of her overseas colonies would soon prove to be a boon to Germany, as a series of mineral resource rushes would occur throughout German East Africa in the years following the war.

Former soldiers and displaced civilians, primarily from East Prussia and Posen, streamed into the colony in the 1920s and 1930s, brought by the prospect of steady work and plentiful land in East Africa's highlands. Unlike other African colonies, the cool, temperate, and relatively disease-free highlands of East Africa offered the Europeans a habitable area of their own in the country, not dissimilar to the cape and highlands of South Africa. Centered around the growing town of Bergen, German settlers would quickly expand mining and farming operations throughout the highlands, making the nation a place to call their home.

It was through this settlement, too, that whites would come to form a symbiosis with their black countrymen. In order to ship their extracted resources and refined materials to market, German settlers built an intricate and advanced series of railways and roads throughout East Africa's interior, and quickly helped transform Dar Es Salaam into one of the most prosperous ports of trade in Africa. The more white business in the highlands grew, the more black business in the coastal lowlands grew. It is a symbiosis that carries over to this day, though the goods sent to market are manufactured and crafted rather than extracted from the fertile Earth.

The Second World War would bring about more change to East Africa, as black and white men from the colony fought alongside the Germans who, after years of heavy fighting and help from the a united Europe, drove the Russians back out of Europe which they had so eagerly conquered. It was hard fighting that left millions dead and millions more homeless and distraught. A number of those without a home to return to would make the journey to East Africa for a new life. These Europeans would help form the basis of a new middle-class less made of miners and farmers, but of white collar workers in the office buildings springing up in Bergen, Dar Es Salaam, and Neu Langenburg.

East Africa's new middle class, mostly white but with many black Africans as well, would help shape the transformation of East Africa from resource colony to developed country throughout the 1950s. An East African scientist, Albert Hoffman, would contribute to the creation and detonation of Germany's first atomic bomb in the Namibian Desert in 1949. Manufacturing, crafting, and financial business began to take hold of the East African population, particularly the whites and the mixed "coloureds" (a term borrowed from South Africa), and with it came calls for independence from the German government who attempted to continue to rule East Africa from Berlin.

Germany had begun transitioning East Africa from colony to commonwealth in 1961, but events in 1963 sped up the process. Zanzibar, a British protectorate, declared independence and violently overthrew their government, installing a militant, extremist anti-Arab dictator who massacred hundreds of Arab and Asian citizens before German, East African, and British authorities stepped in and removed him from power. When a subsequent referendum established Zanzibar's desire to separate from the British but to not seek independence, Germany granted East Africa the power to draft itself a new constitution, which Zanzibar joined in making, creating the United Republic of East Africa.

Since independence, East Africa has become a bastion of democratic strength in eastern Africa, particularly during the rough years of the 1980s when it seemed half the continent was in an uproar. East Africa's economy has continued to grow, and is on par with the likes of South Africa and Nigeria, and even head of its longtime rival in the region, Ethiopia. However, many problems have plagued East Africa, and many are still yet to be faced by the government. Though not nearly as bad as the apartheid of South Africa, racism against the Black African majority in East Africa did not begin to fully erode until the mid-1980s, and even today in the government center of Dodoma and "white" province of the Southern Highlands, whites dominate. Despite this, the symbiotic relationship between highland whites and lowland blacks has managed to keep outright violence from erupting, and with each passing year the sides grow less extreme and more tolerant of each other.

Economically, East Africa has continued a long, sustained period of growth as more and more of the country moves from subsistence farming into the developed world. Even with a rapidly-growing population of over 55 million, East Africa has more than enough room for all at over twice the size of Germany and the resources to enrich them all. Ongoing tapping of East Africa's vast mineral and agricultural resources has swelled the nation's GDP since the early 1990s. Though the economic divide between provinces can be stark, ongoing efforts to close the gap have expanded the nation's roads and railways, given schools and hospitals to towns in need, and allowed for the growth of newer cities, particularly in the Lake, Rwanda, Burundi, and Southern provinces.

Overall, the United Republic of East Africa is a nation that has enjoyed a unique and rich history that propelled it from third-rate colony to first-rate power in Africa, allowing the many peoples of East Africa to unite together under one banner and look forward to a future that can only be bright. If the past 40 years of independence have brought so many good things to the country, it is hard to imagine what the next 40 will bring.

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