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Geschichte 02 Geschichte 03 Geschichte 04 Geschichte 05 Geschichte 06 Geschichte 07 Geschichte 08 Geschichte 01
Namibia
as a German Colony


After the purchase of Lüderitz's possessions in the year 1885, the German Colonial Society, by order of the German Empire, put a lot of effort into land acquisition. Emperor William II. wanted the land from the Kunene in the north and the Orange in the south to become a German colony. "Protection agreements" with some groups of Nama and Herero were negotiated. Military protection through the "Deutsche Schutztruppe" was assured and, in return, the  Africans had to tolerate German settlements.

In the beginning of the German colonial era it was very difficult to find settlers in Germany. The main obstacle was the ongoing war between Herero and Nama. The "Schutztruppe", which had landed in 1889 in Walvis Bay under the command of colonel Kurt von François, initially only counted 23 men. Its main task was to mediate between the hostile groups. But the Nama - under their leader Hendrik Witbooi - resisted the new colonial power. Only François' successor Major Theodor Leutwein could negotiate a peace treaty with the Nama in 1894, which lasted till 1904.

Although the German Empire generously gave farmland away, the land acquisition and settling process only took place very slowly. In 1897, a cattle disease broke out in the whole country and almost half of the cattle stock perished. The transportation sector, which then relied heavily on ox waggons, was devastated. Nevertheless, about 1000 whites settled in the country up to January of 1904.


witbooi

Left
: Hendrik Witbooi, the Nama leader.
Painting by Cobus van Bosch

Top
: Camel riders of the German Schutztruppe.

schutztruppe

On the 12th of January, 1904, the Herero revolt against the Germans broke out. The Herero chief Samuel Maharero launched his revolt from Okahandja with 6.000 warriors and initially caused the German Schutztruppe heavy losses. Only after reinforcements and cannons were brought in and the blade General Lothar von Trotha had taken over command were the tides turned against the Herero people.

The Hereros were eventually completely defeated in the battle at the Waterberg in August 1904. The survivors - including women and children - were forced to flee into the arid Omaheke plains in the Kalahari, where most of them perished from thirst.

Just two months later, in October 1904, the Nama in the south rose against the German oppressors again, after having forfeited the historical chance to ally and combine forces with the Herero against the Germans. However, the fighting still lasted until March 1907 and ended with the signing of the so-called "Schutzverträge" (= "protection contracts").

As a consequence, the colony "Deutsch Südwestafrika" began to flourish in the following years. Within a few years the number of settlers increased tenfold. And in 1908, rich diamond deposits were discovered in the vicinity of Luederitz. Mining also developed in other places, like Tsumeb and Otavi.

But the beginning of the First World War put an end to the young German colony. In 1915, the German Schutztruppe was forced to surrender near Tsumeb to the South African troups who fought for the British. Deutsch-Südwestafrika became a protectorate of the Union of South Africa.

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