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Obverse of 1890 German East Africa 1 Pesa
Obverse of 1890 German East Africa 1 Pesa

Reverse of 1890 German East Africa 1 Pesa
Reverse of 1890 German East Africa 1 Pesa

A Brief History of German East Africa
German East Africa (GEA) was an area of Africa colonised by Germany between 1884 and 1919. It comprised parts of the modern day nations of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania (which merged with Tanganyika in 1963). Germany acquired control of the area by treaties with coastal chiefs in 1884. Its capitals were Bagamoyo (until 1890) and Dar-es-Salaam (until 1918).

German East Africa The Beginning
As part of Germany's attempt to become one of the world's leading Imperial powers, it looked to explore and expand overseas. Africa was of interest due to the wealth it could produce for Germany. Africa's natural resources and its products that were considerable importance for Germany were of particular significance. It has also been suggested that during that era the native people were Africa's most important resource. The dates as to when events occurred vary between sources of information; however the colony known as German East Africa was established between 1885 and 1887, and was almost 3 times the size of present day Germany.

The German East Africa Company
In 1887, The German East Africa Company was established to take charge of activities such as setting up leadership, future explorations and overall development of the new colony. However, in 1890 The Company sold out to the German Government as it became apparent it could not handle the responsibility. So, whilst the German Government ruled the colony directly, the company was reduced to running the plantations and trade businesses.

The Downfall of German East Africa
Although there were local native revolts under German rule, they were all brutally put down. However, German rule in the colony came to an end following the defeat of Imperial Germany's defeat in World War I, in spite of the highly successful German campaign against the Allies under the leadership of German general Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. The colony was subsequently divided between Britain, Belgium and Portugal. Britain took Tanganyika, whilst Belgium and Portugal annexed territory to add to their existing colonies of Ruanda-Urundi and Mozambique respectively.

Coinage of German East Africa
Due to the dominance of the Indian Rupee in the region, the German East Africans introduced the German East African Rupie in 1890, initially divided into 64 pesa, it was decimalised in 1904 and subdivided into 100 heller (heller being the name of an old German coin of small value). Coins of , 1, 5, 10, 20 Heller, , , 1, 2 Rupien were struck for use in the colony. During World War I, when GEA was cut off from Germany by the Royal Navy, relatively crudely produced 15 Rupie coins were struck in gold mined from the Sekenke Gold Mine in order to pay for upkeep costs of German forces and administration throughout the war there.

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