Cameroon and the German Lake Chad Railway


In 1884 the explorer Gustav Nachtigal signed a treaty with the chiefs of Duala on behalf of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in which, in return for trade advantages, the chiefs accepted the establishment of a German protectorate. In 1885, the new German colony of Kamerun came into being. A number of influential Germans determined that the colony’s economic potential could be realized only through the construction of a railroad. They established a Cameroon railroad syndicate in 1900, which in 1902 obtained a concession from the German government to build a line that would open the colony’s interior to trade. The syndicate sponsored expeditions in 1902–3 and 1904 to survey the projected route. This 1905 book, by the director of the syndicate, includes an overview of the railroad project and its history, as well as chapters on the land, people, climate, vegetation and animals, and different geographic regions of Cameroon, and illustrations of the subjects covered. Also included is a comparative analysis of railroad construction in Africa in the German, British, French, Belgian, and Portuguese colonies. Three fold-out maps contain information based on the expeditions of 1902–3 and 1904, including the projected route of the railroad from the Atlantic coast at Rio del Rey to Lake Chad in the country’s extreme north.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

E.S. Mittler und Sohn, Berlin


Title in Original Language

Kamerun und die Deutsche Tsâdsee-eisenbahn

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

ix, 251, [1] pages. frontispiece, illustrations, 17 plates, 5 portraits, 3 maps. 24 centimeters


  1. “Gustav Nachtigal,” Explorers & Discoverers of the World (Gale: 1993).

Last updated: May 24, 2017