The native peoples of German East Africa (Tanzania) resented being forced to work for andpay taxes to their new masters from Europe. Native unrest increased when the German government started an ill-advised cotton-growing experiment at the expense of growing food crops. An African religious cult developed whose members believed that if they received special water, called maji, they would be immune to gunfire. Reinforced by this belief, the Africans revolted against the Germans. The uprising spread rapdily through the territory because the Germans were unprepared at first. In two years the rebellious Africans were fiercely crushed through hard military actions and scorched-earth tactics. An estimated 200,000 natives reportedly perished by hangin, shooting, starvation, and disease.