German East Africa

German East Africa was a colony in the African Great Lakes region that encompassed Burundi, Rwanda, mainland Tanzania, and the Kionga Triangle, now part of Mozambique. It covered an area of 994,996 km², which was nearly three times the size of Germany and twice the size of metropolitan Germany at the time. The colony was established after the German military was called in to quell a revolt against the German East Africa Company. Following Germany's defeat in World War I, the territory was divided among Britain, Belgium, and Portugal, and became a League of Nations mandate. Germany aimed to expand its empire in the region to combat slavery and the slave trade but did not formally abolish either and instead regulated the existing practice. 

During the German colonization of East Africa, the Germans prioritized economic growth and commerce. They cultivated over 100,000 acres of sisal, which was their most important cash crop, planted two million coffee trees, grew rubber trees on 200,000 acres, and established large cotton plantations. To bring these agricultural products to market, they built the Usambara Railway and the Central Railroad which linked Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Tabora, and Kigoma. The German colonial administration also attempted to improve caravan routes into all-weather highways, although many of these projects failed. Dar es Salaam became a showcase city of tropical Africa, with a population of 166,000 by 1914, and gold mining also began during this period. 

During the late 19th century, the Indian rupee became the primary currency on the East African coast, replacing the American gold dollar and the Maria Theresa thaler. The German East Africa Company began minting coins in 1890, issuing rupies equivalent to the Indian and Zanzibar rupee. The government took over currency matters in 1904, establishing the Ostafrikanische Bank and decimalizing the currency. Emergency paper money was issued during World War I, and in 1920 the Rupie was replaced by the East African florin, while in Burundi and Rwanda, it was replaced by the Belgian Congolese franc in 1916.

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