Caprivi, Count Leo von


Caprivi, Count Leo von
(1831–1899)
   Otto von Bismarck ’s successor as German chancellor, serving from 1890 to 1894. Born to a family of Slovenian origin in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Caprivi served as an army officer in the wars of 1866 and 1870–1871 and as Chief of the Admiralty, 1882–1886. His basically sound policies of rapprochement and colonial agreements with Britain, replacing protectionism with bilateral commercial treaties, and cautious domestic reform earned him severe criticism from contemporaries, especially for his decision not to renew the 1887 Reassurance Treaty with Russia, regarded as one of Bismarck’s most important achievements. In the Zanzibar Treaty of 1890, he secured from Britain German control of Heligoland in the North Sea in exchange for British control of Zanzibar off the coast of German East Africa, which prompted howls of protest from colonial pressure groups.
   FURTHER READING:
    Berghahn, Volker Rolf. Imperial Gremany, 1871-1914: Economy, Society, Culture and Politics. Providence: Berghahn Books, 1994.
   NIELS P. PETERSSON

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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