MISSION THROUGH TRADE?

At the Trading Company of F. K. Vietor in Little Popo on the 10th of November, 1901.

Trading company Vietor: participates in mission task

Internationally operating merchants, religiousness of pietists, social responsibility and missionary engagement were closely tied up in Bremen in the 19th century. This becomes particularly apparent when studying the participation of the Vietor family in building up mission work in Bremen and in West Africa.

Pastor Cornelius Rudolph Vietor as well as the merchants Johann Karl and Friedrich Martin Vietor had important voting rights in the executive board of the mission. They offered favourable passage terms, being owners of a merchant company with its own ships. Owning commercial outposts and founding new companies in Africa, their trading activities were closely connected to the tasks of the mission. This connection was promoted by some people and considered „mission as trade“, but at the same time, it was criticised and rejected by others. On one hand, the educational work of the mission was considered to pave the way for able working force and of customers that were able to pay, on the other hand profit oriented trade was considered to be immoral and therefore rejected.

The mission and the trading company of Bremen were in agreement to condemn „immoral trade“ because brandy is harmful to good manners and to working capability. Large land ownership of capital investors for the purpose of plantations destroy the existence of small farmers and rob the village communities of their collectively organised ownership of land and soil.