German Empire (
German: Deutsches Kaiserreich, officially
Deutsches Reich), was the
nation state that existed from the
Unification of Germany in 1871 until
the abdication of
Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.
The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by noble families. They included four
grand duchies, five
duchies (six before 1876), seven
cities, and one
imperial territory. Although
Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
After 1850, the states of Germany had rapidly become
industrialized, with particular strengths in
iron (and later
steel), chemicals, and
railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people; by 1913, this had increased to 68 million. A heavily rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial, technological, and scientific giant, gaining more
Nobel Prizes in science than any other country.
German language in Namibia: Namibia is a multilingual country wherein
German is recognized national language (a form of minority language). While English is the sole official language of the country, in many areas of the country German enjoys some official status at a community level.
During the period as a German colony from 1884 to 1915 German was the only official language in
German South-West Africa, as Namibia was then known.
Boers, i.e. South African whites who spoke Dutch (South African Dutch would later develop into Afrikaans) already lived in the country alongside
Orlam tribes and mixed-race Reheboth
South Africa took over administration of the country in 1915. However, German language privileges and education remained in place. In 1916 the
Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper was founded under its original name of Der Kriegsbote. After the end of the First World War the South African attitude to the German Namibians changes, and between 1919 and 1920 about half of the Germans were transferred out of the country. In 1920 Dutch (later to be superseded by Afrikaans) and English replaced German as the official languages of the country.
Hermann Detzner (16 October 1882 – 1 December 1970) was an officer in the German colonial security force (
Kamerun (Cameroon) and
German New Guinea, as well as a surveyor, an engineer, an adventurer, and a writer.
In early 1914, the German government sent Detzner to explore and chart the interior of
Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, the imperial protectorate on the island of New Guinea. When World War I broke out in Europe, he was well into the interior and without radio contact. He refused to surrender to
Australian troops when they occupied German New Guinea, concealing himself in the jungle with a band of approximately 20 soldiers. For four years, Detzner and his troops provocatively marched through the bush, singing "
Watch on the Rhine" and flying the German Imperial flag. He led at least one expedition from the
Huon Peninsula to the north coast, and a second by a mountain route, to attempt an escape to the neutral
Dutch colony to the west. He explored areas of the New Guinean interior formerly unseen by Europeans and surrendered in full dress uniform, flying the Imperial flag, to Australian forces in January 1919.