Caprivi Strip
Overview
 
Caprivi, sometimes called the Caprivi Strip (in German: Caprivizipfel), Caprivi Panhandle or the Okavango Strip and formally known as Itenge, is a narrow protrusion
Panhandle
A panhandle is an informal geographic term for an elongated arm-like protrusion of a geo-political entity, such as a subnational entity or a sovereign state.-Term:...

 of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 eastwards about 450 km (279.6 mi), between Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 to the south, Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 to the north, and Okavango Region
Okavango Region
Kavango is one of the thirteen regions of Namibia. Because of its rather higher rainfall than most other parts of Namibia, this region has definite agricultural potential for the cultivation of a variety of crops...

 to the west. Caprivi is bordered by the Okavango
Okavango River
The Okavango River is a river in southwest Africa. It is the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for . It begins in Angola, where it is known as the Cubango River...

, Kwando
Cuando River
The Cuando River is a river in south-central Africa flowing through Angola and Namibia's Caprivi Strip, into the Linyanti Swamp on the northern border of Botswana...

, Chobe and Zambezi
Zambezi
The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is , slightly less than half that of the Nile...

 rivers. Its largest settlement is the town of Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo is the capital of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia's far north–east extension into central Southern Africa. It comprises two electoral constituencies, Katima Mulilo Rural and Katima Mulilo Urban...

.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Caprivi, sometimes called the Caprivi Strip (in German: Caprivizipfel), Caprivi Panhandle or the Okavango Strip and formally known as Itenge, is a narrow protrusion
Panhandle
A panhandle is an informal geographic term for an elongated arm-like protrusion of a geo-political entity, such as a subnational entity or a sovereign state.-Term:...

 of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 eastwards about 450 km (279.6 mi), between Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 to the south, Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 to the north, and Okavango Region
Okavango Region
Kavango is one of the thirteen regions of Namibia. Because of its rather higher rainfall than most other parts of Namibia, this region has definite agricultural potential for the cultivation of a variety of crops...

 to the west. Caprivi is bordered by the Okavango
Okavango River
The Okavango River is a river in southwest Africa. It is the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for . It begins in Angola, where it is known as the Cubango River...

, Kwando
Cuando River
The Cuando River is a river in south-central Africa flowing through Angola and Namibia's Caprivi Strip, into the Linyanti Swamp on the northern border of Botswana...

, Chobe and Zambezi
Zambezi
The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is , slightly less than half that of the Nile...

 rivers. Its largest settlement is the town of Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo is the capital of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia's far north–east extension into central Southern Africa. It comprises two electoral constituencies, Katima Mulilo Rural and Katima Mulilo Urban...

. It went through a civil war from 1994–1999 and remains unstable today.

The strip is administratively
Political geography
Political geography is the field of human geography that is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures...

 divided between the eastern Caprivi Region
Caprivi Region
Caprivi is one of the 13 regions of Namibia. It takes its name from the Caprivi Strip which in turn was named after Leo von Caprivi.-Geography:...

 and the western Okavango Region
Okavango Region
Kavango is one of the thirteen regions of Namibia. Because of its rather higher rainfall than most other parts of Namibia, this region has definite agricultural potential for the cultivation of a variety of crops...

.

Languages

Inhabitants of the Caprivi Strip speak a number of African languages: most are in the Bantu
Bantu languages
The Bantu languages constitute a traditional sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 250 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages...

 family, although there is also at least one language in the northwest of the strip (on the Namibia/Angola border) which is a Khoisan
Khoisan languages
The Khoisan languages are the click languages of Africa which do not belong to other language families. They include languages indigenous to southern and eastern Africa, though some, such as the Khoi languages, appear to have moved to their current locations not long before the Bantu expansion...

 language: Hukwe. The Bantu languages include Yeyi
Yeyi language
Yeyi is an endangered Bantu language spoken by many of the approximately 50,000 Yeyi people along the Okavango River in Namibia and Botswana. Yeyi, influenced by Juu languages, is one of several Bantu languages along the Okavango with clicks...

 (or 'Yei' or 'Yeeyi'), Mbukushu
Mbukushu language
Mbukushu or Thimbukushu is a Bantu language spoken by 45,000 people along the Okavango River in Namibia, where it is a national language; in Botswana; in Angola; and in Zambia, where it is an official regional language. It appears to be an divergent lineage of Bantu.Mbukushu is one of several...

, Gciriku
Gciriku language
Gciriku or Dciriku , officially Rumanyo, is a Bantu language spoken by 305,000 people along the Okavango River in Namibia, where it is a national language, in Botswana, and in Angola. It was first known in the west via the Vagciriku, who had migrated from the main Vamanyo area and spoke Rugciriku,...

 (or 'Dciriku'), Fwe
Fwe language
Fwe, or Chifwe, is a Bantu language spoken by 10,000 people along the Okavango River in Namibia. It is closely related to Kuhane, and is one of several Bantu languages of the Okavango which have click consonants.-External links:*...

, Totela, and Subiya. Perhaps a majority in the Caprivi Strip, especially in the capital town of Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo is the capital of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia's far north–east extension into central Southern Africa. It comprises two electoral constituencies, Katima Mulilo Rural and Katima Mulilo Urban...

, speak Lozi
Lozi language
Lozi, also known as siLozi and Rozi, is a Bantu language of the Niger–Congo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S , that is spoken by the Lozi people, primarily in southwestern Zambia and in surrounding countries...

 as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

. Many also speak some English and Afrikaans.

Natural features

The area is rich in wildlife and has mineral resources. Of particular interest to the government of Namibia is that it gives access to the Zambezi
Zambezi
The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is , slightly less than half that of the Nile...

 River and thereby a potential trading route to Africa's East Coast. However, the vagaries of the river level, various rapids, the presence of Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.-Introduction:...

 downstream and continued political uncertainty in the region make this use of the Caprivi Strip unlikely, although it may be used for ecotourism
Ecotourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism...

 in the future. Within Namibia the Caprivi Strip provides significant habitat for the critically endangered Wild African Dog, Lycaon pictus.

History

Caprivi was named after German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi
Leo von Caprivi
Georg Leo Graf von Caprivi de Caprera de Montecuccoli was a German major general and statesman, who succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany...

 (in office 1890–1894), who negotiated the acquisition of the land in an 1890 exchange with the United Kingdom. Von Caprivi arranged for Caprivi to be annexed to German South-West Africa
German South-West Africa
German South West Africa was a colony of Germany from 1884 until 1915, when it was taken over by South Africa and administered as South West Africa, finally becoming Namibia in 1990...

 in order to give Germany access to the Zambezi River
Zambezi
The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is , slightly less than half that of the Nile...

 and a route to Africa's east coast, where the German colony Tanganyika
Tanganyika
Tanganyika , later formally the Republic of Tanganyika, was a sovereign state in East Africa from 1961 to 1964. It was situated between the Indian Ocean and the African Great Lakes of Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika...

 was situated. (The river later proved unnavigable.) The annexation was a part of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty
Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty
The Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty of 1 July 1890 was an agreement between the United Kingdom and the German Empire concerning mainly territorial interests in Africa.-Terms:...

, in which Germany gave up its interest in Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

 in return for the Caprivi Strip and the island of Heligoland
Heligoland
Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea.Formerly Danish and British possessions, the islands are located in the Heligoland Bight in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea...

 in the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

.

The Caprivi Strip also attracted attention as Namibia and Botswana took a long-standing dispute over its southern boundary to the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

. The core of the territorial dispute concerned which channel of the Chobe River was the thalweg
Thalweg
Thalweg in geography and fluvial geomorphology signifies the deepest continuous inline within a valley or watercourse system.-Hydrology:In hydrological and fluvial landforms, the thalweg is a line drawn to join the lowest points along the entire length of a stream bed or valley in its downward...

, the bona fide international boundary. This was important, as, depending on the decision, a large island, (known as Kasikili
Kasikili
Kasikili Island, or Sedudu Island , is an island in the Chobe River on the border between Namibia and Botswana, near the Botswanan town of Kasane. It was the subject of a territorial dispute between these countries, resolved by a 1999 decision of the International Court of Justice which ruled in...

 or Seddudu by Namibia and Botswana, respectively) would fall into national territory. The Botswana government considered the island as an integral part of the Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park, in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. By size, it is the third largest park of the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most diverse...

, whereas the Namibian government, and many inhabitants of the eastern Caprivi Strip, held that not only was the island part of the original German–British agreement, but that generations of inhabitants had used it for seasonal grazing, for reed-gathering, and as a burial site. In December 1999, the International Court of Justice ruled that the main channel, and hence the international boundary, lay to the north of the island, thus making the island part of Botswana. The Caprivi Strip remains unstable .

Politics and segregational attempts

The Caprivi Strip is of politico-strategic military importance. During the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

 (1970–1979), African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 operations against the South African government (1965–1994) and the Angolan Civil War
Angolan Civil War
The Angolan Civil War was a major civil conflict in the Southern African state of Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with some interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. Prior to this, a decolonisation conflict had taken...

 (1975–2002), the Strip saw continual military action and multiple incursions by various armed forces using the Strip as a corridor to access other territories.

South African administration of South-West Africa recommended self-governance for the Caprivi, a plan that was partly realised in 1976 when the "Caprivi government" was formed and received its own flag, national anthem, and coat of arms.

Caprivi conflict

The Caprivi conflict involved an armed conflict in Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 between the Caprivi Liberation Army
Caprivi Liberation Army
Caprivi Liberation Army is a Namibian rebel and separatist group which was established in 1994 to separate the Caprivi Strip, a region mainly inhabited by the Lozi people. It operates only in the Caprivi strip.-Background:...

 (CLA), a rebel
Rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 group aiming for the secession of the Caprivi Strip, and the Namibian government. Its main eruption occurred on 2 August 1999 when the CLA launched an attack in Katima Mulilo, occupying the state-run radio station and attacking a police station, the Wanella border post, and an army base. Namibian armed forces quashed the attempt at secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

within a few days.
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