Camel Rider Troops (1907)
German colonial possessions were referred to as “protection zones” or Schutzgebiete by the imperial government. Such possessions were presented in many cases as having been legitimately purchased by German entrepreneurs and in need of state “protection” from encroachments by native peoples or rival western colonial powers. The German soldiers sent out to patrol German Southwest Africa and other German colonies were therefore called Schutztruppen (“protection troops”). One contingent rode on camels, which were deemed superior to horses in desert combat conditions. The Camel Rider Troops pictured here were trained and organized by Captain Friedrich von Erckert in 1907. Among other things, they were deployed in the pursuit and capture of the Nama leader Simon Kopper in 1908. The animals originally came from the Canary Islands and the Sudan.