Tuesday, October 31, 2006

History of Namibia

History of Namibia. This is a short essay on the African nation of Namibia. The emphasis is on 20th century political history.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Country located on the southwestern coast of Africa. It has an area of 318,580 square miles (825,118 square kilometres), nearly all of it empty land. It is bordered by Angola to the north, Zambia to the northeast, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the southeast and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It ranges from arid in the north to desert on the coast and in the east. The landscape is spectacular, but the desert, mountains, canyons, and savannas are perhaps better to see than to occupy."

From the site:

The San are generally assumed to have been the earliest inhabitants of the region. Later inhabitants include the Nama and the Damara or Berg Dama. The Bantu-speaking Ovambo and Herero migrated from the north in about the 14th century A.D.

The inhospitable Namib Desert constituted a formidable barrier to European exploration until the late 18th century, when successions of travelers, traders, hunters, and missionaries explored the area. In 1878, the United Kingdom annexed Walvis Bay on behalf of Cape Colony, and the area was incorporated into the Cape of Good Hope in 1884. In 1883, a German trader, Adolf Luderitz, claimed the rest of the coastal region after negotiations with a local chief. Negotiations between the United Kingdom and Germany resulted in Germany's annexation of the coastal region, excluding Walvis Bay. The following year, the United Kingdom recognized the hinterland up to 20 degrees east longitude as a German sphere of influence. A region later known as the Caprivi Strip became a part of South West Africa after an agreement on July 1, 1890, between the United Kingdom and Germany. The British recognized that the strip would fall under German administration to provide access to the Zambezi River and German colonies in East Africa. In exchange, the British received the islands of Zanzibar and Heligoland.

German colonial power was consolidated, and prime grazing land passed to white control as a result of the Herero and Nama wars of 1904-08. German administration ended during World War I following South African occupation in 1915.

1 comment:

GreenmanTim said...

it feels like this should be titled "History of Namibia up to the point where it exchanged one colonial master for another." There was a great deal more that happened between The Union of South Africa assuming control of the country and its eventual independence in 1990, including a League of Nation's mandate, annexation in defiance of the UN by South Africa, a proxy war in the cold war, liberation and free and fair elections. Will there be a Part II?