Sub-Saharan Africa 1905: Maji Maji Rebellion

Political map of Sub-Saharan Africa on 19 Sep 1905 (The Scramble for Africa: Maji Maji Rebellion), showing the following events: Zaidi Revolt in Yemen; Namaqua Revolt; Tangier Crisis begins; Algerian-AOF line; Maji Maji Rebellion.

In 1905 revolt broke out in German East Africa as numerous tribes rejected forced labor on German cotton plantations, united by the belief that holy water (maji) would protect them from German bullets. Despite their faith, and their success in capturing a number of towns, the so-called Maji Maji were completely outmatched by European technology and brutally suppressed by the Germans.

Main Events

Sep 1904 Zaidi Revolt in Yemen

The Zaidi imam, Yahya ibn Mohammed, led a revolt against the Ottoman Empire in Yemen. To restore their authority, the Ottomans were forced to grant important concessions to the Zaidis, agreeing to withdraw the civil code and restore sharia in wikipedia

3 Oct 1904–25 Dec 1906 Namaqua Revolt

While the Germans were busy suppressing the Herero revolt in German South West Africa, Nama chief Hendrik Witbooi started his own rebellion in October 1904. The notorious German General Lothar von Trotha told the Nama that if they did not surrender they would be exterminated like the Herero. After the death of Witbooi from a wound suffered in October 1905, the Nama began surrendering, only to be rounded up into concentration camps where thousands would die of wikipedia

31 Mar 1905 Tangier Crisis begins

In March 1905 Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany arrived in Tangier, Morocco, and proclaimed German support for the Sultan of Morocco as ruler of a free and independent kingdom—a statement which directly and deliberately challenged French influence in Morocco. The Sultan subsequently rejected a set of French-proposed governmental reforms and issued invitations to major world powers to a conference, precipitating a crisis among the European powers. The crisis peaked in June, when Germany threatened an alliance with Morocco, but was resolved by the Algeciras Conference of wikipedia

7 Jun 1905 Algerian-AOF line

The French Colonial Office defined the boundary between the Southern Territories of Algeria and French West Africa, drawing a line from Cape Draa in Morocco to the south of the Hoggar Mountains. The delimitation eased the rivalry between the two French colonies, but by specifying Cape Draa, it assumed that this part of Morocco would inevitably fall under French control. Further adjustments would be made during the Niamey Conventions of June and August wikipedia

20 Jul 1905–? Aug 1908 Maji Maji Rebellion

Rejecting forced labor on German cotton plantations, spiritual leader Kinjikitile “Bokero” Ngwale incited an indigenous uprising across southern German East Africa. According to Bokero’s teachings, holy water (“maji”) would grant his followers—armed only with spears and traditional weapons—immunity to German bullets. Although Bokero was quickly arrested and executed, the rebellion he started was only fully suppressed in wikipedia