View previous topic | View next topic

Why did the Brits demand the Germans give them head in 1919?

Page 1 of 1

973514.  Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:18 pm Reply with quote

It all started with the German colonisation of East Africa, and a small area in what is now the south central area of Tanzania. The Hehe tribe were led by their leader, Chief Mkwavinyika Munyigumba Mwamuyinga, better known as Chief Mkwawa, and by 1891 he led them on a successful rebellion against the German occupiers, even managing to kill the Commissioner, Emil von Zelewski, in one battle.

The Germans replied with force and were able to conquer Hehe fortresses and villages, though they couldn't capture Mkwawa. He continued to harrass the Germans through guerrilla warfare, and was eventually cornered in 1898, deciding to shoot himself in the head rather than be captured. His head was removed by the solidiers who found him, and sent back to Berlin as a trophy.

Fast forward to WWI, and during the campaign in East Africa the Hehe tribe helped the British defeat the Germans. As a show of gratitude, and a sign of the end of German power, the British Administrator to the area proposed that at the end of the war the skull of Mkwawa be returned to his people.

Therefore, in the Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, there is article 246, which reads thus:


Within six months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, Germany will restore to His Majesty the King of the Hedjaz the original Koran of the Caliph Othman, which was removed from Medina by the Turkish authorities and is stated to have been presented to the ex-Emperor William II.

Within the same period Germany will hand over to His Britannic Majesty's Government the skull of the Sultan Mkwawa which was removed from the Protectorate of German East Africa and taken to Germany.

The delivery of the articles above referred to will be effected in such place and in such conditions as may be laid down by the Governments to which they are to be restored.

Unfortunately, soon after the skull was found to be lost, and was soon forgotten.

After WWII the Governor of Tanganyika, Sir Edward Twining, decided to take up the search, and eventually found himself in the Bremen Museum in 1953, where he found a collection of 2000 skulls, 84 of which originated from the former German East Africa. Of those, only one had a bullet hole in the skull and this was deemed to be the skull of Chief Mkwawa.

It was finally returned to his homseland in 1954, and is now resting in the Mkwawa Memorial Museum in Kalenga.

973587.  Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:00 pm Reply with quote

Bremen, being a city of a generous half a million, has more than one museum... The one from this story would have been the ‹berseemuseum.



973589.  Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:17 pm Reply with quote

I've got one here, on a shelf. Pre-1600. Would that fool them?

973594.  Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:55 pm Reply with quote

It looks like that's the right one AFB:)

yorz, you sure yours isn't Richard III or one of the other ones everyone is looking for? :)

973597.  Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:00 pm Reply with quote

If so, they must have taken a hell of a wrong turn-off at some point :-D


Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group