Germany’s colonial “fantasy” was inspired by the overseas exploration undertaken by Britain, France, Spain and Holland from the fifteenth century onwards; it grew throughout the seventeenth and eighteen centuries, encouraged by travel accounts and popular literature (Zantop 1997, 17). While the absence of a unified political structure prevented any German national colonial ambitions, there were some calls from individuals for Germans to follow the example of other European nations and acquire colonies in the New World, such as that issued in Johann Joachim Becher’s Politischer Discurs of 1669:

Wohlan dann, dapffere Teutschen, machet, dass man in der Mapp neben neu Spanien, neu Frankreich, neu Engelland, auch ins künfftige neu Teutschland finde. Es fehlet euch so wenig an Verstand und Resolution solche Sachen zu thun als anderen Nationen, ja ihr habet alles dieses, was darzu vonnöthen ist, ihr seyd Soldaten und Bauren, wachtsam und arbeit-sam, fleissig und unverdrossen, ihr könt auff einmahl viele gute Sachen thun, durch ein exemplarisches Leben und gute Ordnung die Indianer zu Freunden und civilen Menschen, ja vielleicht gar zu Christen machen. [Bestir yourselves, then, doughty Germans, take care that henceforth there be found on the map, besides New Spain, New France, New England, also New Germany. You are no more deficient in understanding or resolve to do such things than other nations; in truth, you have everything that is needful for this: you are soldiers and peasants, watchful and hard-working, industrious and unflagging: you are able to do many good things at once, through exemplary life and good order, towards turning the Indians into friends and civilized folk, and maybe even into Christians.]

(Quoted from Zantop 1997, 216, translation adapted from Zantop 17)

Germany was forced to stand on the sidelines and watch others conquer the world for two more centuries.