‘North Sea’ or ‘German Ocean’? Britain and Germany in the Wider World

  • Richard Scully
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


Although as late as the turn of the twentieth century, the chief producers of maps and atlases in Britain were more inclined to depict Germany politically as a federal nation made up of disparate elements, the sudden and unexpected expansion of the German Empire into the wider world created a new set of conventions to be adhered to. The expansion of German colonies coincided with, and was an integral part of, one of the most comprehensive redrawings of the world map in history. The lonely death of David Livingstone in 1873, deep in the African interior, has been seen by many commentators as the key event in initiating what is now called the ’Scramble for Africa’, but the event which is recognised to have prompted the ‘most feverish phase’ of expansion was the German annexation of Bell Town and of the whole of the adjoining Cameroons, in 1884. 1 The subsequent carving-up of the Dark Continent was an imperial process immediately visible to the British public via the maps and atlases of the time, just as the process of German Unification had been.


German State German Unification Imperial Process Disparate Element Federal Nation 
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Copyright information

© Richard Scully 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Scully
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandAustralia

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