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Fire When Ready» Forums » General

Subject: Caroline Islands incident rss

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Jim Duncan
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This is a little piece I wrote as background to the Spanish-German War scenarios.

In the mid 1880’s Germany began to seek a worldwide colonial empire. In the Pacific, in late 1884 and early 1885, they acquired German New Guinea (Kaiser Wilhelmsland, Bismarck Archipelago and the northern Solomon Islands). They then cast their eyes on the Caroline Islands. Although these Islands had been claimed by Spain centuries previously, they had done nothing to actively promote their interest in them. In August of 1885, aware of German designs in the Pacific, the Spanish armed transports St. Quintin and Manila arrived at the main island of Yap to officially claim the Caroline’s for Spain. As the Spanish pontificated in the harbour, making grand plans for flag raising ceremonies, the German gunboat Iltis slipped in under their noses and promptly planted the German flag. The public outrage in Spain was vociferous, with protestors damaging the German embassy in Madrid. The German press demanded recompense and war appeared to be a distinct possibility. Neither navy was of a first class nature, although the Germans certainly had a clear advantage, and could have pressed their claim aggressively. Bismarck realised that war with Spain could cause the downfall of their monarchy and so he advised that the dispute should be arbitrated by the Vatican. The Pope awarded the islands to Spain, but with trading, farming and coaling concessions for Germany. The Germans soon balanced this diplomatic setback by occupying the Marshall Islands. The Spanish, flush with their triumph, soon discovered that actually administering the islands was a huge waste of money and they ultimately sold the Islands to Germany in 1899.
 
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Jonathan Townsend
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Nice one, thanks for that.
 
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