1898: The German Hong Kong, or German Territory in China

1898: The German Hong Kong, or German Territory in China

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  • 6. March 1898

On this day the German Empire received a part of China in 99-year lease. It was an agreement similar to the one which the British made concerning Hong Kong. Namely, the United Kingdom received in that same 1898 a part of the Chinese territory around Hong Kong, also in 99-year lease. When the British lease expired in 1997, they returned Hong Kong back to China.

How big was the German newly acquired property in China? Its surface was about 55,200 hectares, and about 83,000 people lived in that area. The property was located on China’s coast, approximately midway between Beijing and Shanghai. The Germans called this territory “Deutsch – Kiautschou – Gebiet”. Today this territory is the home to the large Chinese city of Qingdao with nearly 9 million inhabitants.

The Germans appointed Captain (Kapitän zur See) Carl Rosendahl as the first governor there. The Germans invested heavily in the development of that area. A railway connection with Germany was ensured by linking to the Trans-Siberian railway, so it was supposedly possible to arrive from Germany to Kiautschoua in 13 days. The Germans created the electric, telegraph and the sewerage system, and the famous Tsingtao Brewery was founded, which became the largest in China (today it holds about 15% of China’s total production of beer). The area had the highest number of schools per capita in the whole of China, and the highest percentage of residents enrolled at the university.

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