Hauptmann Glauning

Glauning's description of Bum in October, 1905, Deutsches Kolonialblatt, Bd. 17, 235-241, 1906.

[Glauning had started out on 25 August, 1905, from Bamenda and, avoiding Nso' proper, made for Berabe via Banten and Bissa, and then turned to Kentu where the factory of the German trader Falk and the camp of the RNC agent Taylor were found - and explored northward to Galea. Returning to Kentu he then stopped at Dumbo and determined to explore "the countries of the Bafum".]

"On the 11th October I left Dumbo and camped at Mungong, and on the following day I crossed, on solidly made rope bridges, the two affluents, deep and some 40m wide, of the Kumbi river; these meet about an hour away from the big farming village of Fofuka to become the Katsena river which crosses the Muntschi country in the direction of the Benue. Hard by the river a small settlement of Hausa is to be found. From here the route leads first of all to the fine gorge of the Ngume river, then leads up a steep mountain-side to the village of the Chief of the big country of Bafum-Bum, to which belongs Fofuka, Mungong, the big settlement of Kumbi on the route to Banso and numerous farming villages. The old chief Tam passes his days in patriarchal peace here, in his small village in rocky mountains at 1311m above sea-level. He is a loyal ally of the whites, and the respect in which he is held has contributed to the extension of the Post's influence, by peaceful means almost everywhere. Bum is the principal centre for the trade in kolas coming from Nko [Nkor], Oku [or Bamuku], Banso and Bekom. The next day I passed the small farm-village of Su, and the mountain villages of Fang and Koshin....

[In a later section of his report, Hauptmann Glauning comments on the effect of Fulani raids on commercial prospects.]....

"The tribes of the intermediate and lower-lying areas are all divided into numerous independent territories, sometimes hostile to one another. This disunity is notably present in the areas of Bafum and Tukum [Tugum, Tigong]. Almost all the villages in these areas make war on one another. So this disunity explains why the Fulani, who have been invading the Tukum from 20 years ago to very recent times, met with so little resistance. The most recent invasions of the Fulani at Gashaka took place in October 1904 on Adiri, in November 1904 on Kodja [? Akoja] and Tukum and in January 1905 on Bogu. The Fulani retreated from this area because they had heard reports of the war of our Post in Bekom. According to the reports of the Englishman Taylor, the most recent invasion of the Gashaka Fulani was conducted against Gallea [Galea in Ndoro territory] immediately after my departure from this area, at the beginning of November of this year.


Some twelve years ago the territories of Dumbo and Kentu, formerly heavily populated, sustained a defeat in their fight against the united armies of Bakundi and Gashaka, and even today they are enfeebled tribes under chiefs with no authority. The fear implanted by the Fulani invasion has led the natives to transplant themselves to the mountains and to isolated high villages. When they were informed that the Fulani invasions would cease from now on many of them were ready, with joy, to resettle their village in the fertile plains.

Amongst commercial products one must first mention wild rubber, both that derived from a tree (Castilloa according to Taylor) as well as the Landolphia liana. It is found especially in the forest between Abu [Bu?] and Bafut and in the territories of Bafum, Ndum [i.e. Esu and northern Funggom], Munka [Munkap, Bunaki], and Kotschin [Koshin]; in the regions north of the Katsena river (Bafung, Matsche [Mashi], Dodschi), in Kambo [the plateau north of Nso'], Mambila, in the Tukum country, Ko [? Ako]. Kodja [Akoja], Berabe and also in the forests between Kentu and Tosso, as well as terr itories on the banks of the Donga - Sama, Gallea, Nama, Atschoku.

Kola grows in all the high mountain territory, in particular in Banso, Bekom, Kambo and further on in Bogu. The natives plant kola trees in other areas too.

Ivory comes chiefly from Dumbo, Kodja, Ko, Kentu, Kontscha, Galea, Sama. Much ivory originates from Gashaka. According to Taylor the elephants there have particularly strong tusks. In more recent times the elephants, pursued by Hausa hunters, have left the above-named territories and have gone towards the Tukum territories, surrounded by the Hausa, to Abong and Fonschi [? Nshi or Shi], as well as to Mambila, Kambo and Banso.

There are plenty of oil-palms in the Tukum range."

['Bafum', as we saw, was the term employed by the Hausa traders of the Benue districts to describe the areas to the south of Kentu.

"Tukum" [Tugum] is a broad term which covers Mbembe and its northward extensions. Like many reports in the DKB, set up from handwritten reports, this is full of misprints, and variant spellings, making it difficult in some cases to identify places. Thus the "areas north of the Katsena river" may include a misprinted Bejong (Missong) and Badji.

Glauning passed through Bum again in February 1907 (DKB Vol. 19, 69) to deal with accusations of banditry against 'Baf Me'. 'Bafum' is optimistically reported as 'opened up' in April 1908, following the so-called Muntschi expedition under Major Puder, in which Glauning was killed.

While Bum itself remained quiet - frequent German parties must have gone through to the German Customs Post at Kentu - surrounding areas gave trouble. In a Station report for April-end December 1909 (Buea Archives) it is stated that "a number of chiefs in Banso and Bafu Bum (sic) must be visited because they have refused obedience to their high chiefs". Funggom was then visited by a German patrol. Inter-village raiding appears to have continued in some areas and in another report (Lt Fechtner, 7.ix.1910) there is talk of the 'final subjection' of the western Bafum area. A detached post at Wum had been established by early 1913. It was given up in the autumn of 1914 in the face of British forces crossing into Kamerun from Takum.]

Glossary Contents Working Notes
Sally Chilver's Field Diary Phyllis Kaberry Fieldnotes Published Account

For further information contact Ian Fowler