The Takustraße was named in 1906 and is dedicated to the Taku Forts (today’s transcription Dagu Forts) of the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The Taku Forts were shelled on June 17, 1900, during the Yihetuan rebellion (the so-called Boxer Rebellion) in China. Taku Street, along with Polecat and Lans Streets, commemorate this event.
The Taku Forts are located at the mouth of the Pei Ho River (today Hai He River) off the port city of Tianjin. With the aim of gradually colonizing China and facilitating the handling of trade, the German Government had leased ports in China. Since 1897, the port city of Tianjin was the most important naval base of the German Empire. In the following years, Christian proselytizing and attempts to industrialize China increasingly led to conflicts between China and other major European powers (England, France, Russia, Austria, Italy, German Empire) as well as the USA and Japan. In order to defend themselves against the colonial powers, the Chinese secret society by the name of “Boxer” was formed, which sought the autonomy of China.
In the early summer of 1900, unrest spread from northwestern China to other parts of the country. The international envoy quarter in Beijing was also besieged and shelled. As a result, naval units of the great powers attempted to capture the Taku Forts outright on June 17, 1990. When the German envoy Clemens Freiherr von Kettler (1853 – 1900) was assassinated on June 20, 1900, the colonial powers decided to take joint action against the “Boxers” at the instigation of Kaiser Wilhelm II. (1859 – 1941) and requested additional military troops as reinforcements be sent from Europe. After a few weeks the war was decided. The colonial powers were able to conquer the Taku forts, thus controlling the sea and land routes to Beijing, ending the so-called Boxer Rebellion. Since the military clashes were over, the troops belonging to the colonial powers that followed carried out “punitive expeditions” in the interior of the country, during which numerous “Boxers” were executed, civilians killed, and villages looted and burned. Although the “Boxer Protocol” signed on September 7, 1901, secured peace between China and the colonial powers, China’s ability to act was restricted in the long term by the high cost of reparations agreed to in the protocol.
The Taku Forts commemorate the so-called Boxer Rebellion and are to be seen in connection with the imperialist expansion of Europe’s great powers, especially with German colonial policy in China.
Status of the Renaming
In 2011, the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf installed an information board at the intersection of Iltisstrasse and Lansstrasse, providing information about the historical events of the so-called Boxer Uprising and asking critical questions about the role of the German Empire in relation to it. The Free University of Berlin, which is located there, and parliamentary groups in the district assembly have been demanding the renaming of the streets for decades. The association “Eine Welt Stadt Berlin” (Berlin: City of the World) also demands the renaming of the streets: “This means that persons of the Chinese resistance against the great powers and against racist and colonial structures should be honored”.