German–Spanish Treaty (1899)

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The German–Spanish Treaty of 1899 was a treaty between the German Empire and the Kingdom of Spain, with the latter selling the remainder of its Pacific Ocean islands to Germany for 25 million pesetas (equivalent to 17 million Marks).

History[edit]

German New Guinea before and after the German-Spanish treaty of 1899

After the Spanish–American War in 1898, Spain lost many of its remaining colonies. Cuba became fully independent while the United States took possession of Puerto Rico and Spain's Pacific colonies of the Philippines and Guam. This left Spain with its African possessions and the remainder of the Spanish East Indies in the Pacific, about 6000 islands that were tiny, sparsely populated, and not very productive, and that were both ungovernable after the loss of the administrative center of Manila, and undefendable after the entire loss of two Spanish fleets in 1898. The Spanish government therefore decided to sell them. Germany then lobbied the Spanish government to facilitate the sale of the islands to Germany.

The treaty was signed on February 12, 1899 by Spanish Prime Minister Francisco Silvela. It transferred the Caroline Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands to Germany, which were then placed under German New Guinea.

During World War I, many of these German possessions were conquered by Japan and would remain under the control of the Japanese Empire as the South Pacific Mandate under the League of Nations until after World War II when the United States took control.

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