Kionga Triangle

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Kionga Triangle

Tricolour flag of the German Empire with horizontal bands of black, white and red. Superimposed over it is the grand coat of arms of the Empire: an Imperial German black eagle with the crown of the Holy Roman Empire and the black-and-white chequerboard Hohenzollern escutcheon, surrounded by the chain and cross of the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle.
Tricolour flag of the German Empire with horizontal bands of black, white and red. Superimposed over it is an escutcheon of a silver lions head on a red background.
Kionga-Triangle in an old German map (lower right side)
Kionga-Triangle in an old German map (lower right side)
StatusGerman colony
Common languagesPortuguese
Kaiser (German Emperor) 
• 1894–1916
Wilhelm II (r. 1888–1918)
Governor of German East Africa 
• 1894–1895 (first)
Friedrich von Schele [de] (from 1893)
• 1912–1916 (last)
Heinrich Schnee (to 1918)
Historical eraNew Imperialism
• Berlin Conference established
Ruvuma River as border between
German and Portuguese influence

26 February 1885
• Germany established outpost
south of the river after 1890
Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty

16 June 1894
• Germany entered World War I
1 August 1914
• Portuguese troops sent to Mozambique,
partly tasked to recapture Kionga

November 1915
• German and Austro-Hungarian
ships confiscated from
Portuguese ports

23 February 1916
• German Empire declared war on
First Portuguese Republic

9 March 1916
• German forces evacuate Kionga
9 April 1916
• Portuguese troops recapture Kionga
10 April 1916
• Treaty of Versailles confirms river border
between Portuguese Mozambique
and British Tanganyika

25 September 1919
19101,000 km2 (390 sq mi)
• 1910
CurrencyGerman East African rupie
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sultanate of Zanzibar
Portuguese East Africa
Today part of Mozambique

Coordinates: 10°35′46″S 40°30′32″E / 10.596°S 40.509°E / -10.596; 40.509

The Kionga Triangle (German: Kionga-Dreieck, Portuguese: Triângulo de Quionga) was a small area of land on the south-east coast of Africa. It lay between the colonies of German East Africa, the major part of present-day Tanzania, and Portuguese Mozambique, the present-day country of Mozambique. The area covered just 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi), and the settlement of Kionga — now spelled Quionga — had a population of 4,000 people in 1910. The triangle was a German possession from 1894 to 1916, after which it became a possession of Portugal.


An 1886 provisional agreement between Germany and Portugal designated the Ruvuma River as the border between the colonies. The Germans, however, established an outpost south of the Ruvuma River in 1894, and had thus encroached upon Portuguese territory. On 9 March 1916 during World War I, Germany declared war on Portugal. The Portuguese military seized the disputed area in April 1916.[1] The post-war Treaty of Versailles reaffirmed that the river was the border between Tanganyika, now under British control, and Portuguese Mozambique. The triangle was the only territory that the treaty awarded to Portugal.

Since Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975, the Kionga Triangle has been a part of Cabo Delgado Province.

Postage stamps[edit]

Postage stamps were issued for Kionga during the occupation by Portuguese forces in 1916.


  1. ^ Hew Strachan (2004). The First World War in Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 161. ISBN 9780199257287. Retrieved 21 September 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Thomas, H. B., "The Kionga Triangle", Tanganyika Notes and Records Volume 31 1951, pages 47-50.

External links[edit]