History of Namibia

Rock engraving

Palaeolithic History:
Rock engravings and paintings give report of first human settlement in Namibia of to day. The oldest of them were formed about 25.000 years before Christ. The famous rock paintings of Twyfelfontein are younger proofs of paleolitical settlements. In the Otavib-Mountains jawbone fragments of a Hominoid were found, whose age is estimated at approx. 13 million years. The first population groups to live here were the Bushmen (San) and the Damara. In the south, the cattle breeding Nama settled here later. They moved from areas below the Oranje-River to  the north.

Rock engraving


Major Leutwein
Stone cross at Cape Cross

Discover through the Europeans:
In the year
1486 the first Europeans landed at the coast of Namibia. The Portuguese Diego Cao set up a stone cross at his landing-point, the present-day Cape Cross as a sign of taking possession of the new discovered land through Portugal. Different hiking movements of African people led to the settlement of the Ovambo in the north, of the Himba in the Kaokoveld and the Herero in the middle of the country. Between Nama and Herero it resulted thereby in embittered tribal wars. In the  19th century numerous missionaries began their  activity in different areas of the country. Walvis Bay was used by European mariners and in particular by whale catchers as a port and taken in possession through Great Britain in 1878. At the Skeleton Coast numerous ships smashed; who had the luck to escape for the wet element, died of thirst in the desert of Namib, reaching onto the coast.

      Ship wreck at the
        Skeleton Coast



German time of colonisation in Namibia:
1883 the German businessman Adolf von Lüderitz gained from the Nama the area "Angra Pequena" - the later Lüderitz Bay and established there a commercial station. A year later this area is declared as the protectorate through the German Empire and put with that under protection officially. In1890 a Crown Colony becomes from the German protection area. In the same year the Helgoland-Zanzibar-Contract between Germany and Great Britain defines also the boundaries of Deutsch-Südwestafrika, which is enlarged by the Caprivi-Region in order to receive entrance to the Zambezi. Windhoek became the seat of the German administration  under Curt von Francois. The protection troop was increased now continuously. In April 1893 the first revolt of the Nama against the German protection troops began under Hendrik Witbooi.  In spite of heavy German losses Major Leutwein conquered the Nama in September 1894.Witbooi acknowledged the protective contracts and he committed itself in future to achieving with his arm-capable husbands for the German protection power. After that time followed peacful coexistence.
More and more German traders and farmers force their way into the country, the development of  Deutsch-Südwest strode ahead. The natives had to fear more and more around willows and water.
In January 1904 the revolt of the Herero began under Samuel Maherero in Okahandja. In the battle at the Waterberg under leadership of General von Trotha in August 1904 the Herero were conquered; three quarters of all  Hereros lost their life in this annihilation fight. Also the Nama revolted at the same time against the German troops unsuccessfully.  In 1907 the tribes of the Hereros and Namas were as good as destroyed. There was a calm time up to the beginning of the First World War. In 1907 first animal reservations were set up by the German administration, one of them the Etosha-Nationalpark. In 1908 first diamonds were found near Lüderitz; until today a great source of revenue for the country.

Samuel Maharero
Hendrik Witbooi
General von Trotha


 Reiter Denkmal

Namibia under South African Government:
In the First World War South African troops occupied the German colony. The area is subordinated from now on to the League of Nations and South Africa receives the mandate to the administration. 6.700 Germans can remain in the country in spite of numerous expulsions. Also under the South African mandate there were some bloodily suppressed revolts of the suppressed black population. The number of the white population had nearly doubled itself till 1926, since also many colonizers came into the country from South Africa.
After the Second World War South Africa refused to acknowledge the responsibility of the UN (United Nations) and transfers the apartheid politics later to South West Africa. International pressure leads to an independence plan for Namibia, but the elections of 1978 occur without the leading liberation organization SWAPO and are not acknowledged from that. The SWAPO leads a liberation war from the northern neighbour country Angola against the South African occupation.





  National Arms
of  Namibia

Namibia since its independence in 1990:
In 1989 elections to the constituent assembly take place. The clear winner is the  SWAPO. On 21.03.1990 Namibia receives his independence as the last African country and SWAPO-leader Sam Nujomi becomes first president of the country. In 1994 and (after a change of the constitution, which makes this possible) a further time in 1999, Nujoma is the winner for the presidency by elections. At the parliament and premiership elections in November 2004  the  SWAPO-candidat H. Pohamba is elected as the next President of Namibia with more than 75 percent of the voices.

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