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15 Austl. L. Libr. 15 (2007)
Imperial German Legislation Regarding the Marshall Islands (1886-1914)

handle is hein.journals/auslwlib15 and id is 79 raw text is: Imperial German Legislation regarding the Marshall Islands
(1886-1914)
Dirk HR Spennemann, Associate Professor in Cultural Heritage Management,

Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia
Imperial Germany's rule in the Marshall Islands
(located in the Cental Pacific) was comparatively
brief: from November 1885, with the annexation
of the island chains under the terms of a protec-
torate, until the early days of World War I in
October 1914 when the islands were seized by a
Japanese naval squadron.
Following a settlement with Spain, Imperial
Germany bought the Marshall Islands in 1885
for the sum of (then) $4.5 million. Though the
Imperial German Government purchased the
Marshall Islands from Spain, it was not prepared
to invest large amounts of public monies into the
running of a protectorate. Thus the Marshall
Islands Protectorate was first administered by a
Concession company (the Jaluit Gesellschaft) on
behalf of the German Empire until 1905.
Following Spain's loss in the Spanish-American
War of 1898, Germany also bought the remainder
of Micronesia and established district administra-
tions in Pohnpei, Yap and Saipan, with the new
islands territory of Micronesia made administra-
tively subordinate to the Governor in Rabaul
(German New Guinea). The reason for this was
that administration by concession companies had
proven problematic. Following excesses of admin-
istrative power by the German administrator
Eugen Brandeis, the Marshall Islands lost their
status as Protectorate in their own right and were
made a district subordinate Governor in Rabaul.
Given the administrative arrangements, there is a
large body of legislative matter at various levels.
The following lists the German laws, regulations,
proclamations and directives which had been
issued by the colonial section of the Imperial
Foreign Office or, from 1905, by the Imperial
AUSTRALIAN LAw LIBRARIAN. Vol 15 No. 2 2007.

Colonial Office in Berlin, as well as those issued
by the Governor in New Guinea after 1906 with
relevance to the Marshall Islands and those
promulgated by the local administration in Jaluit
and Nauru. The items are listed in chronological
order with an English translation of the title.
The German terms used for these regulations
and ordinances (Verordnung, Verfuigung,
Anweisung, Vorschrift, Dienstanweisung,
Ausfiihrungsbestimmung, Bekanntmachung,
Ermkichtigung) have small nuances in meaning
which cannot always be readily translated. Hence
some of the English titles are only close approxi-
mations of the Imperial German texts.
While an attempt was made to be as compre-
hensive as possible, there are likely to be some
omissions, by nature of the recording of the regu-
lations in the reports sent to Berlin and/or
Rabaul. This is compounded to a large degree by
the lack of the local level files, which had been
taken by the Japanese in 1914 and which are
deemed lost as part of the Allied bombing of
Tokyo in World War II. These files would have
recorded all those minor local regulations that the
administrators did not deem worth sending up to
Rabaul or Berlin.
In 1906, the hitherto independent administration
of the Marshall Islands was demoted to a district,
subordinate to the German Governor resident in
New Guinea. As a result, all new regulations
passed for German New Guinea also applied to
the Islands Territory of the Carolines, Palau,
Marianas and the Marshall Islands, unless they
were specifically excluded. In addition, the inte-
gration of the former protectorate of the Marshall
Islands into the colony of German New Guinea
required a wide range of housekeeping regulations

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