Sub-Saharan Africa 1920: Africa and the Peace Treaties
Fighting continued in East Africa for a few days after the end of World War I in Europe, until news of the Armistice finally reached German General Lettow-Vorbeck in Northern Rhodesia and he agreed to surrender. At the treaties of Versailles and Sèvres, the Germans and their Ottoman allies accepted the loss of their empires.
25 Nov 1918 Surrender of Lettow-Vorbeck▲
On 13 November 1918, two days after the Armistice with Germany, German East African forces under General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck entered the Northern Rhodesian town of Kasama and began marching south-west towards Katanga in the Belgian Congo. The following day, at the Chambeshi River, the British magistrate Hector Croad met the general under a white flag and informed him of the armistice. Under Croad’s instruction, Lettow-Vorbeck marched north to Abercorn (now Mbala), where he finally surrendered his undefeated army—now reduced to 155 Germans, 1,168 Askaris, and 3,500 porters—on 25 November.
8 Mar–16 Nov 1919 Egyptian Revolution of 1919▲
On 8 March 1919 the British arrested three Egyptian independence leaders, including the popular Saad Zaghlul Pasha, and deported them to Malta. In response, riots broke out in Cairo later that day, spreading across the country. The riots lasted until 20 March, with further outbreaks occurring until November, resulting in the deaths of some 60 Europeans and 800 Egyptians.
30 May 1919 Orts-Milner Convention▲
Belgium signed the Orts-Milner Convention with Britain, agreeing to the partition of German East Africa. By the terms of the convention, the Belgians would receive a mandate over the provinces of Ruanda and Urundi in return for leaving Tabora and other areas of German East Africa to the British.
28 Jun 1919 Treaty of Versailles▲
Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending its state of war with the Allied Powers. The treaty required Germany to accept War Guilt, disarm, cede 65,000 square km of territory containing 7 million people to its neighbors, and pay considerable reparations (assessed to be 132 billion Marks in 1921).
23 Sep 1919 Kionga Triangle▲
In April 1916 the Portuguese seized the Kionga Triangle—a 1,000 square km piece of land south of the Rovuma River disputed between Portuguese Mozambique and German East Africa. On 23 September 1919 the Allied Supreme Council recognized the Portuguese claim to the triangle, making it the only Portuguese territorial gain of World War I.
17 Jan–9 Feb 1920 Fifth Dervish Expedition▲
In January 1920 the British mounted their final expedition against the Dervish State of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (who they nickname the ‘Mad Mullah’) in the south of British Somaliland. The King’s African Rifles, the Somaliland Camel Corps, and 12 aircraft of the Royal Air Force defeated Hassan’s Dervishes and captured their capital of Taleh. Hassan fled into the Ogaden, where he would die of influenza in December.
10 Aug 1920 Treaty of Sèvres▲
The Treaty of Sèvres was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, and a number of minor Allied Powers including Greece and Armenia in Sèvres, France. The Treaty ceded large parts of the Ottoman Empire to Britain, France, Greece, and Armenia, and established European spheres of influence in the remaining territory.