The Basel Mission is a Christian missionary society active from 1815 to 2001, when it transferred the operative work to Mission 21, the successor organization of Kooperation Evangelischer Kirchen und Missione (KEM) founded in 2001.
From the outset the society set out to be Protestant but non-denominational. Arising from concerns about what would happen if Napoleon managed to seize the city of Basel. Both Calvinists from Basel and Lutherans from Württemberg made a holy vow to establish the seminary if the city was spared. The Basel mission was the result. The first president was Reverend Nikolaus von Brunn.
The mission was founded as the German Missionary Society in 1815. The mission later changed its name to the Basel Evangelical Missionary Society, and finally the Basel Mission. The society built a school to train Dutch and British missionaries in 1816. Since this time, the mission has worked in Russia and the Gold Coast (Ghana) from 1828, India from 1834, China from 1847, Cameroon from 1886, Borneo from 1921, Nigeria from 1951, and Latin America and the Sudan from 1972 and 1973. On 18 December 1828, the Basel Mission Society sent its first missionaries, Johannes Phillip Henke, Gottlieb Holzwarth, Carl Friedrich Salbach and Johannes Gottlieb Schmid, to take up work in the Danish Protectorate at Christiansborg, Gold Coast. On 21 March 1832, a second group of missionaries including Andreas Riis, Peter Peterson Jäger, and Christian Heinze, the first mission doctor, arrived on the Gold Coast only to discover that Henke had died four months earlier.
The Basel Mission training institution partnered for some time with the Anglican Church Mission Society. Important missionaries to Palestine like Bishop Samuel Gobat and John Zeller were trained at the institute.
Since World War II, the mission has operated abroad via local church congregations. As of November 2002, the major countries or regions of operation were Bolivia, Cameroon, Chile, Hong Kong, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Singapore, Sudan and Taiwan.
A major focus for the Basel Mission was to create employment opportunities for the people of the area where each mission is located. To this end the society taught printing, tile manufacturing, and weaving, and employed people in these fields. The Basel Mission tile factory in Mangalore, India, is such an endeavour.
- Johann Gottlieb Christaller
- Alexander Worthy Clerk
- Nicholas Timothy Clerk
- Theodore Hamberg
- Carl Christian Reindorf
- Protestant missionary societies in China during the 19th century
- Brick, Caroline (November 2002). "Basel Mission Records". Mundus: Gateway to missionary collections in the United Kingdom. Accessed 17 November 2006.
- Quartey, Seth. Missionary Practices on the Gold Coast, 1832-1895: Discourse, Gaze and Gender in the Basel Mission in Pre-Colonial West Africa. Youngstown, New York: Cambria Press, 2007.
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