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Number: 3990
Continent: Africa
Region: South
Place Names: Namibia
Year of Origin: 1912
Title: Ubersicht der Triangulation in Deutch Sudwestafrika, Beilage I [S.W. No. 19]
Language: German
Publish Origin: Berlin
Height: 76.2
Width: 72.2
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Scale: 1 : 2,000,000
Color Type: Outline Color
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Ernst Vohsen
Dietrich Reimer
Other Contributors: Heinrich Kiepert
Paul Sprigade
Max Moisel
Northernmost Latitude: -16.0
Southernmost Latitude: -30.0
Westernmost Longitude: 12.0
Easternmost Longitude: 26.0
Measurement Notes: on map
Notes: [ACTUAL MAP is ID#03990 now on actual paper and sheeth filed; but wrong number is visible on photo-scan MIS-NUMBERED ERROR#3669]; Dasa Pahor and Alex Johnson source; pertains to Central Africa and South Africa; Colour print featuring the old handstamp of the ?Geographischen Institut der Universitat Berlin - Abteilung fur Kolonial-und Uberseegeographie? to upper right corner and various old manuscript inventory numbers in coloured crayon and red pen to blank margins, plus small handstamps to upper right corner (Very Good, slight wear along old horizontal centerfold), 86 x 77 cm., 33.8 x 30.3 inches. Extremely Rare, an intriguing map showcasing the system of trigonometrical surveys that had been conducted and were planned in German Southwest Africa (today Namibia) as of October 1912, which underpinned the systematic scientific mapping of the protectorate overseen by the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut, the mapping authority of the German Colonial Office that operated out of the prestigious Berlin map house of Dietrich Reimer; made in only few examples seemingly for internal sue, the map provides an ?insider?s view? into one of the greatest modern cartographic achievements in Africa. In the 1880s, following the ?Scramble for Africa?, Germany acquired a large colonial empire in Africa, which consisted of Deutsch-Sudwestafrika (Namibia), Kamerun (Cameroon), Togoland (modern Togo), and Deutsch-Ostafrika (modern mainland Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) Berlin formally laid claim to Deutsch-Sudwestafrika in 1884, a move that was internationally recognised by the Berlin Conference that same year. The colony was initially managed by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft fur Sudwest-Afrika (German Colonial Society for Southwest Africa), supported by German bankers, industrialists and the mayor of Frankfurt, who sought to exploit its considerable mineral wealth. Deutsch Sudwestafrika became a crown colony in 1890, as the Kolonialgesellschaft found the burden of administration too much to bear, although it retained some of its mineral rights. Germany then invited numerous foreign investors, including British interests, to help develop the colony, supported by as many as 10,000 European settlers. Within only a generation of establishing the colony, Germany succeeded in developing an impressive infrastructure, agricultural ventures and a series mines that made Deutsch Sudwestafrika an economically productive colony, even if every venture was hard-earned in what was an unforgiving desert environment. However, it must not be overlooked that in pursuing these endeavours, Germany brutally suppressed the indigenous peoples. Their treatment of the Herero and Nama nations during the Herero Wars (1904-8) is generally considered to be one of the great war crimes of African history. As for cartography, in the beginning none of Germany?s colonies, including Deutsch Sudwestafrika, were well mapped. New surveys needed to be commissioned, thematic maps needed to be developed, and the works edited and published. The German State Colonial Office, the Reichs-Kolonialamt, had to decide whether to set up its own mapmaking agency (expensive and technically difficult) or to find a more innovative approach. The firm of Dietrich Reimer (founded in 1845) in Berlin, was one of the world?s most esteemed cartographic publishing houses, long associated with Heinrich Kiepert, the foremost modern cartographer of Turkey and the Middle East. Since 1891, the firm was led by Ernst Vohsen, an old Africa hand. Under Vohsen?s influence the Reichs-Kolonialamt increasingly turned to the Reimer firm to fulfil its map drafting and publishing commissions. In 1899, the Reichs-Kolonialamt decided upon a permanent solution towards the matter of its cartographic needs. It agreed to create the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut, that would operate as part of the Reimer firm, working out of their premises and manned by their employees, but would be funded entirely be the Reichs-Kolonialamt. The Institut would be given a monopoly on official cartographic work relating the German colonies. Max Moisel assisted by his chief lieutenant, Paul Sprigade, was appointed as the first director of the Institut, and with this new support and funding it went on to achieve great things. At its height, the Institut employed over 60 mapmakers and support staff, and played a major role in supporting German endeavours in Africa. With specific reference to Deutsch-Sudwestafrika, shortly after the turn of the century, the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut embarked upon an epic endeavour to map the entire protectorate in the most advanced systematic manner, employing trigonometric surveys, with the aim of producing a map of almost perfect accuracy. Such a map would prove invaluable for military planning, infrastructure development, cadastral surveying and mining exploration, amongst other uses. The protectorate was progressively covered in trigonometric surveying sectors, and after about decade most of the most important parts of the country (the most populated areas and major travel corridors) have been surveyed to the highest scientific standards. This led to the publication of various large format regional surveys, which were eventually integrated into Max Moisel and Paul Sprigade?s magnificent Deutsch-Sudwestafrika 12 000 000 (Berlin, 1912), the first scientifically accurate general map of the protectorate. The surveys also served as the base for a variety of thematic maps, such as Paul Sprigade?s Karte des Sperrgebiets in Deutsch-Suudwestafrika in 10 Blattern (Berlin, 1913), an amazing map of areas that were ?restricted? to diamond mining, done to a scale of 1:100,000. Turing back to the larger picture, during World War I, conquering Germany?s African colonies was a priority for Britain and her allies. While Germany put up strong resistance in Kamerun and East Africa, South African forces (acting as proxy for Britain) had a relatively easy time taking Deutsch Sudwestafrika. They invaded the country in September 1914, whereupon the outnumbered German Schutztruppe (Protection Force) was relegated to delaying tactics as they sought to evacuate their people and valuables. Britain gained complete control of the colony by July 1915. The Treaty of Versailles (1919), which followed the war, saw Germany lose all her colonies, which were divided between British and French trusteeship. This, of course, spelled the end of the of the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut, which closed in 1920. Deutsch Sudwestafrika became the British protectorate of ?South West Africa?, governed by the Union of South Africa. From 1948 its people had the misfortune to be ruled by Apartheid South Africa. The country gained its independence as Namibia in 1991. The Present Map in Focus: The present map is a very rare official overview of the extent of the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut?s ongoing endeavour to survey all Deutsch-Sudwestafrika by integrated, systemic triangulated surveys, capturing it as the project stood as of October 1912. Overall, the map shows that most of the country?s populated areas, main travel corridors and mining areas had by this time been covered by triangulation, while many new corridors for future surveying are laid out. The black printed template of the map labels all towns and villages and major sites along the areas of triangulation, as well as delineating the railway system. The nature of the various triangulation surveying sectors, both completed and planned, called Dreiekskette in German, are explained by the ?Erklarungen? (Explanations), in the lower left corner. The first entry refers to Deutsch-Sudwestafrika?s eastern boundary with British Bechuanaland (today Botswana) and notes that while the surveying line runs directly along the border, it is on the map shown to run just beside the border, this intentional abstraction is done merely for the purpose of visual clarity. The dreiekskette variously coloured in blue, brown and green are noted has having been surveyed by professional field surveying troops, who would have been led by military engineers of the Schutztruppe, working under the direction of the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut. The dreiekskette coloured in yellow were surveyed by other entities, such as mining, land development or railway companies, which generally would have employed reliable professional surveyors. The annotation below the coloured bars reveals that the Deutsch-Suudwestafrika-Bechuanaland boundary was surveyed by a joint Anglo-German commission, while the dreiekskette covering the colonial capital region of Bethanien-Windhuk was surveyed by the German Imperial Land Surveying agency. Finally, dreiekskette formed by dashed lines are planned but not yet surveyed. A Note on Publication History and Rarity: The present map has no imprint, and the variable print quality suggests that it was hastily run off the press. The map is extremely rare; we can trace only 2 institutional examples, held by the Universitatsbibliothek Erlangen-Nurnberg and the Humboldt-Universitat (Berlin), but beyond that we can find no mention of it in sales records or in literature. These details lead us to speculate that the map may have been published in only a few examples by the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut for its own internal use. Fittingly, the present example of the map bears the old handstamp of the ?Geographischen Institut der Universitat Berlin - Abteilung fur Kolonial-und Uberseegeographie?, the special government-backed bureau at the University of Berlin that researched colonial affairs, and which was closely associated with the Kolonial-kartographischen Institut. References: Universitatsbibliothek Erlangen-Nurnberg, Haupbibliothek: H05/GGR.A-III 761; OCLC: 634972915.
Last updated: Apr 29, 2022