To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


The germans in Samoa 119




Kurt Hufnagel was caught up in two political events during his life in Samoa. The first, in December 1888, found him on the fringe of a skirmish between Samoan activists and a number of German sailors who landed at Fagali’i Beach, near Vailele. For his courage in this incident the Kaiser awarded Hufnagel the ‘Kronenorden mit Schwertern’ (Crown Order with Swords).

In 1899, Hufnagel was accused of setting up a proposed ambush of English and American troops on the Vailele Plantation during events surrounding the second Samoan civil war. Newspapers in Germany raged at the injustice of these accusations and the cruelty at the Captain’s brief internment by the British. For his services to Germany and Samoa, Kurt was also awarded the Order of the Red Eagle, by the Kingdom of Prussia.

This sketch of Captain Hufnagel was apparently done in 1900 by visiting German artist C.W.Allers. It captures the subject’s keen-eye and vitality.

Credit: Hufnagel-Betham Family Collection, artist C.W.Allers.

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