Scarce map of the South Pacific, focused on the various territorial possessions of France, England and Germany at the end of the 19th Century.
The map's principal feature seems to be the color coding of territories in the South Pacific, including the short-lived German protectorates in the region, such as Papua New Guinea and the Marshall Islands.
The dates of the establishment of various protectorates are also given.
The Marshall Islands were formally claimed by Spain in 1874 through its capital in the East Indies, Manila. This marked the start of several strategic moves by the German Empire during the 1870s and 80s to annex them (claiming them to be "by chance unoccupied"). This policy culminated in a tense naval episode in 1885, which did not degenerate into a conflict due to the poor readiness of Spain's naval forces and the unwillingness for open military action from the German side.
Following papal mediation and German compensation of $4.5 million, Spain reached an agreement with Germany in 1885: the 1885 Hispano-German Protocol of Rome. This accord established a protectorate and set up trading stations on the islands of Jaluit (Joló) and Ebon to carry out the flourishing copra (dried coconut meat) trade. Marshallese Iroij (high chiefs) continued to rule under indirect colonial German administration, rendered tacitly effective by the wording in the 1885 Protocol, which demarcated an area subject to Spanish sovereignty omitting the Eastern Carolines, that is, the Marshall and Gilbert archipelagos, where most of the German trading posts were located. The disputes were rendered moot after the selling of the whole Caroline archipelago to Germany 13 years later.