Canteen for an Askari uniform


German Historical Museum

German Historical Museum
Berlin, Germany

From 1884 onwards, German colonialists recruited African men as soldiers on the coast of East Africa, in Sudan and in Egypt. Initially they did not have a regular uniform. It was introduced with the development of the ‘protection force’ (Schutztruppe) from 1889 to 1891 and was based on the uniform of the Anglo-Egyptian askaris in Sudan.

The askaris were African colonial mercenary soldiers who belonged to the colonial order in terms of training and dress. But they retained their Islamic faith, and beyond their military service they were integrated into local social life.

Their uniforms showed their rank in the colonial hierarchy and they were seen in their own society as a sign of social advancement and a symbol of power. The wearers of these uniforms were officials who were at once respected and feared as representatives of colonial power and authority.


  • Title: Canteen for an Askari uniform
  • Date Created: 1887-1918
  • Location: German East-Africa (present-day Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda)
  • Physical Dimensions: 22 x 12,4 x 6 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Colonialism
  • Type: Canteen
  • Rights: Deutsches Historisches Museum
  • External Link: DHM collection database
  • Medium: Iron, leather
  • Inventory no.: U 2015/23

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