German–Spanish Treaty (1899)

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German–Spanish Treaty
German new guinea 1888 1899.png
German New Guinea before and after the German-Spanish treaty of 1899
Type bilateral treaty
Signed 12 February 1899 (1899-02-12)
Handover of the Western Carolines on 3 November 1899

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

Throughout the 19th Century, the Spanish Empire lost most of its colonies to independence movements. Then came the Spanish–American War in 1898, in which Spain lost most of its remaining colonies. Cuba became independent while the United States took possession of Puerto Rico along with the Philippines and Guam from the Spanish East Indies; Spain's Pacific Ocean colonies. This left Spain with only its African possessions and with about 6,000 tiny, sparsely populated, and not very productive Pacific islands. These latter were both ungovernable, after the loss of the administrative center of Manila, and indefensible, after the destruction of two Spanish fleets in the Spanish–American War. The Spanish government therefore decided to sell the remaining islands. Germany 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 the jurisdiction of German New Guinea. Palau, at the time considered part of the Carolines, was also occupied and during the following years the Germans started up mining there.[1]

During World War I, Japan invaded and conquered many of these German possessions. After the war, they became the South Pacific Mandate of the League of Nations, under the control of the Japanese Empire. During and after World War II, United States took control.


  1. ^ "Palau profile - timeline". BBC. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 

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