Sub-Saharan Africa 1914: Maritz Rebellion

Political map of Sub-Saharan Africa on 25 Oct 1914 (World War I in Africa: Maritz Rebellion), showing the following events: Invasion of South West Africa; Battle of Zanzibar; Maritz Rebellion.

Just twelve years after the Second Boer War, many Afrikaners were still hostile to Britain and saw Germany as a natural ally when World War I broke out. In October 1914, Boer officer Manie Maritz and his troops went over to the Germans. Encouraged by this move, a number of Boer generals also revolted against the British but were quickly defeated by their loyalist compatriots.

Main Events

14–26 Sep 1914 Invasion of South West Africa

On 14 September 1914 British South African forces began their invasion of German South West Africa, crossing the border to capture Raman’s Drift and advancing on Sandfontein. Meanwhile another British force landed at Lüderitz Bay, securing a coastline which had already been largely abandoned by the Germans. However, the German destruction of a British column at Sandfontein, and internal dissent from pro-German Afrikaners in South Africa, prompted the South African government to halt the invasion less than two weeks after it wikipedia

20 Sep 1914 Battle of Zanzibar

Learning that a British cruiser-HMS Pegasus-had arrived in Zanzibar for repairs, the German cruiser SMS Königsberg sailed from the Rufiji Delta into Zanzibar harbor. When Pegasus came within range, Königsberg opened fire; surprised, immobile, and outranged, the British ship was unable to mount an effective response and had to be abandoned after 40 minutes. With the destruction of Pegasus, Königsberg returned to the Rufiji Delta, bombarding the picket ship HMS Helmuth as it left Zanzibar wikipedia

9 Oct 1914–3 Feb 1915 Maritz Rebellion

Pro-German and anti-British sentiment was still strong in the Afrikaner population of South Africa at the outbreak of World War I, leading a number of Boer War veterans to resign their posts. In October 1914 Lieutenant Colonel Manie Maritz mutinied and crossed into German South West Africa with his troops, encouraging the former Boer generals Christiaan de Wet and Christian Frederik Beyers to revolt and declare a provisional government. However the rebellion was swiftly suppressed by the government of Prime Minister Louis Botha, a Boer War hero who still retained the loyalty of most wikipedia