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Geschichte 02 Geschichte 03 Geschichte 04 Geschichte 05 Geschichte 06 Geschichte 07 Geschichte 08 Geschichte 01
Precolonial History of
Namibia


The precolonial times until the beginning of the 19th century is characterised by the work of the missionaries. In particular the Rhenish Mission Society was very involved in southern Namibia.

In 1811, the missionary Heinrich Schmelen had a church erected in Bethanien. It was the first Namibian building made from stone. Many more mission stations and churches were founded, e.g. in Otjimbingwe, Okahandja and Gobabis. The missionaries were followed by merchants, scientists and adventurers.

In the year 1840 the Nama Chief Jan Jonker Afrikaner founded a settlement in Klein-Windhoek, an area with strong water, and so the foundations were laid for what later was to become the capital city, Windhoek. The missionaries of the Rhenish Mission under Carl Hugo Hahn also settled here a little later.

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Jan Jonker Afrikaner, Painting by Cobus van Bosch

The second half of the 19th century was rife with fierce battles between the Nama and the Herero, who fought over land for hunting and grazing that had become scarce due to long periods of drought. In 1880, the Herero under their chief Maharero, conquered Windhoek from the Nama. The last big war between Nama and Herero ensued for ten years.

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