German South-West Africa
Overview
 
German South West Africa was a colony
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 of Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 from 1884 until 1915, when it was taken over by South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 (as part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

) and administered as South West Africa
South West Africa
South-West Africa was the name that was used for the modern day Republic of Namibia during the earlier eras when the territory was controlled by the German Empire and later by South Africa....

, finally becoming 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...

 in 1990. With an area of 835,100 km², it was easily one and a half times the size of the mainland German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in Europe (without its colonies) at the time.
Initial European contact with the areas which would become German South-West Africa came from traders and sailors, starting in January 1486 when Diogo Cão
Diogo Cão
Diogo Cão was a Portuguese explorer and one of the most remarkable navigators of the Age of Discovery, who made two voyages sailing along the west coast of Africa to Namibia in the 1480s.-Early life and family:...

, possibly accompanied by Martin Behaim
Martin Behaim
Martin Behaim , was a German mariner, artist, cosmographer, astronomer, philosopher, geographer and explorer in service to the King of Portugal.-Biography:The Behaim family had immigrated to Nuremberg because of religious persecution around...

, landed in what would become 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...

.
Encyclopedia
German South West Africa was a colony
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 of Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 from 1884 until 1915, when it was taken over by South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 (as part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

) and administered as South West Africa
South West Africa
South-West Africa was the name that was used for the modern day Republic of Namibia during the earlier eras when the territory was controlled by the German Empire and later by South Africa....

, finally becoming 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...

 in 1990. With an area of 835,100 km², it was easily one and a half times the size of the mainland German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in Europe (without its colonies) at the time.

Early settlements

Initial European contact with the areas which would become German South-West Africa came from traders and sailors, starting in January 1486 when Diogo Cão
Diogo Cão
Diogo Cão was a Portuguese explorer and one of the most remarkable navigators of the Age of Discovery, who made two voyages sailing along the west coast of Africa to Namibia in the 1480s.-Early life and family:...

, possibly accompanied by Martin Behaim
Martin Behaim
Martin Behaim , was a German mariner, artist, cosmographer, astronomer, philosopher, geographer and explorer in service to the King of Portugal.-Biography:The Behaim family had immigrated to Nuremberg because of religious persecution around...

, landed in what would become 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...

. However, for several centuries, European settlement would remain small and temporary. In February 1805 the London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

 established a small mission in Blydeverwacht. The efforts of this group met with little success. In 1840 the London Missionary Society transferred all of its activities to the Rhenish Missionary Society
Rhenish Missionary Society
The Rhenish Missionary Society was one of the largest missionary societies in Germany. Formed from smaller missions founded as far back as 1799, the Society was amalgamated on 23 September 1828, and its first missionaries were ordained and sent off to South Africa by the end of the year.The...

. Some of the first representatives of this organization were Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt
Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt
Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt was a German missionary and linguist who worked in South-West Africa, today Namibia. He founded the missionary station and town of Rehoboth and together with Carl Hugo Hahn set up the first Rhenish mission station to the Herero people in Gross Barmen...

 who arrived in October 1842 and Carl Hugo Hahn
Carl Hugo Hahn
Carl Hugo Hahn was a German missionary and linguist who worked in South Africa and South-West Africa for most of his life. Together with Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt he set up the first Rhenish mission station to the Herero people in Gross Barmen...

, arrived in December 1842. They began founding churches throughout what would become 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...

. The Rhenish missionaries had a significant impact initially on culture and dress, and then later on politics. During the same time that the Rhenish missionaries were active, merchants and farmers were establishing outposts.

Early history

On 16 November 1882 a merchant from Bremen
Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

, German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, Adolf Lüderitz
Adolf Lüderitz
Franz Adolf Eduard Lüderitz was a German merchant and founder of the first German colony in Southwest Africa....

, requested protection for a station that he planned to build in South-West Africa, from Chancellor Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

. Once this was granted, his employee Heinrich Vogelsang purchased land from a native chief and established a city at Angra Pequena
Angra Pequena
Angra Pequena was a small coastal area in what is now known as Lüderitz, Namibia.First discovered by Europeans in 1487 by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias. On April 10, 1883 Heinrich Vogelsang first landed at Angra Pequena...

 which was renamed Lüderitz
Lüderitz
Lüderitz is a harbour town in south-west Namibia, lying on one of the least hospitable coasts in Africa. It is a port developed around Robert Harbour and Shark Island.- Overview :...

. On 24 April 1884, he placed the area under the protection of Imperial Germany to deter British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 encroachment. In early 1884, the Kaiserliche Marine
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

 ship Nautilus
SMS Nautilus
SMS Nautilus"SMS" stands for "Seiner Majestät Schiff", or "His Majesty's Ship" in German. was a German minelaying cruiser built before World War I. The ship was built by AG Weser, Bremen. The ship served during the war, and was scrapped in 1928...

visited to review the situation. A favourable report from the government, and acquiescence
Acquiescence
Acquiescence is a legal term used to describe an act where a person knowingly stands by without raising any objection to the infringement of their rights, while someone else unknowingly and without malice aforethought makes a claim on their rights...

 from the British, resulted in a visit from the Leipzig
SMS Leipzig
SMS Leipzig was a Bremen class light cruiser, of the German Imperial Navy. It was named after the German city of Leipzig.The ship was stationed off the west coast of Mexico at the outbreak of war in 1914...

and Elisabeth. The German flag was finally raised in South West Africa on 7 August 1884. The German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 claims on this land were confirmed during the Conference of Berlin. In fact, the indigenous peoples never held the idea of individually held land as "private property": land could never be alienated by any individual, no matter what his rank. All German land claims were fraudulent. In October, the newly-appointed Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner is in principle the title given to a member of a commission or to an individual who has been given a commission ....

 for West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, Gustav Nachtigal
Gustav Nachtigal
Gustav Nachtigal was a German explorer of Central and West Africa. He is further known as the German Empire's consul-general for Tunisia and Commissioner for West Africa. His mission as commissioner resulted in Togoland and Kamerun becoming the first colonies of a German colonial empire...

, arrived on the Möwe
SMS Möwe
SMS Möwe was an merchant raider of the Imperial German Navy which operated against Allied shipping during World War I....

.


In April 1885, the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft für Südwest-Afrika (German Colonial Society for Southwest Africa, known as DKGSWA) was founded with the support of German bankers (Gerson von Bleichröder
Gerson von Bleichröder
Gerson von Bleichröder was a Jewish German banker.Bleichröder was born in Berlin. He was the eldest son of Samuel Bleichröder, who founded the banking firm of S. Bleichröder in 1803 in Berlin...

, Adolph von Hansemann
Adolph von Hansemann
Adolph von Hansemann was an Imperial German businessman and banker.- Life :Born in Aachen in 1826 to German banker and railroad entrepreneur David Hansemann, Adolph Hansemann developed an early interest in business administration. He left home for Hamburg in 1841...

), industrialists (Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck
Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck
Guido Georg Friedrich Erdmann Heinrich Adalbert Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck, from 1901 Fürst Henckel von Donnersmarck was a German nobleman, industrial magnate, and one of the richest men of his time...

) and politicians (Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 Johannes von Miquel). DKGSWA was granted monopoly rights to expolit mineral deposits. The new Society soon bought the assets of Lüderitz's failing enterprises. Later, in 1908, diamonds were discovered. Thus along with gold, copper, platinum, and other minerals, diamonds became a major investment. Earlier, the colonial aim was to dispossess the indigenous peoples of their land, for use of German settlers, as well as be a source of raw materials and a market of German industrial products.

Lüderitz drowned in 1886 while on an expedition to the Orange River
Orange River
The Orange River , Gariep River, Groote River or Senqu River is the longest river in South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean...

. The company bought all of Lüderitz’ land and mining rights, following Bismarck's policy that private rather than public money should be used to develop the colonies. In May, Heinrich Ernst Göring
Heinrich Ernst Göring
Heinrich Ernst Göring was a German jurist and diplomat who served as colonial governor of German South-West Africa. He was the father of five children including Hermann Göring, the Nazi leader and commander of the Luftwaffe....

 was appointed Commissioner and established his administration at Otjimbingwe
Otjimbingwe
Otjimbingwe is a settlement in the Erongo Region of central Namibia. It has approximately 8000 inhabitants.The Rhenish Mission Society used Otjimbingwe as a central location for their Namibian mission in 1849. Johannes Rath and his family settled in the area on 11 July that year, and the settlement...

. Then, on April 17, 1886, a law creating the legal system of the colony was passed, creating a dual system with laws for Europeans and different laws for natives.

Over the next several years relations between the Germans and indigenous peoples continued to worsen. Additionally, the British settlement at Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay , is a city in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies...

 as well as numerous small farmers and missionaries were all involved in the area. A complex web of treaties, agreements and vendettas increased the unrest in the area. In 1888 the first group of Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe was the African colonial armed force of Imperial Germany from the late 19th century to 1918, when Germany lost its colonies. Similar to other colonial forces, the Schutztruppe consisted of volunteer European commissioned and non-commissioned officers, medical and veterinary officers. ...

n
—colonial protectorate troops—arrived (they were sent secretly) to protect the base at Otjimbingwe
Otjimbingwe
Otjimbingwe is a settlement in the Erongo Region of central Namibia. It has approximately 8000 inhabitants.The Rhenish Mission Society used Otjimbingwe as a central location for their Namibian mission in 1849. Johannes Rath and his family settled in the area on 11 July that year, and the settlement...

. The Schutztruppe detachment consisted of two officers, five non-commissioned officers, and 20 black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 soldiers.

By the end of the year, the German commissioner Heinrich Ernst Göring
Heinrich Ernst Göring
Heinrich Ernst Göring was a German jurist and diplomat who served as colonial governor of German South-West Africa. He was the father of five children including Hermann Göring, the Nazi leader and commander of the Luftwaffe....

 was forced to flee to Walvis Bay after negotiations failed with a local tribe. Also, by the late 1880s, the South West Africa Company was nearly bankrupt and had to ask Bismarck for help and additional troops. By 1890 the colony was declared a Crown Colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 and additional troops were sent to the area. At the same time the colony grew through the acquisition of the Caprivi Strip
Caprivi Strip
Caprivi, sometimes called the Caprivi Strip , Caprivi Panhandle or the Okavango Strip and formally known as Itenge, is a narrow protrusion of Namibia eastwards about , between Botswana to the south, Angola and Zambia to the north, and Okavango Region to the west. Caprivi is bordered by the...

 in the northeast, which promised new trade routes. This territory was acquired through 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:...

 between Britain and Germany.

Almost simultaneously, in August through September, 1892, the South West Africa Company, Ltd (SWAC) was established by the German, British, and Cape Colony governments, aided by financiers to raise the capital required in order to enlarge mineral exploitation (specifically, the Damaraland concession's copper deposit interests).

German South-West Africa was the only German colony where Germans settled in large numbers. German settlers were drawn to the colony by economic possibilities in diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

 and copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 mining, and especially farming. In 1902 the colony had 200,000 inhabitants, though only 2,595 were German, 1,354 were Afrikaner
Afrikaner
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages.-Related ethno-linguistic groups:The...

, and 452 were British. By 1914, 9,000 more German settlers had arrived. There were probably around 80,000 Herero, 60,000 Ovambo, and 10,000 Nama
Namaqua
Nama are an African ethnic group of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. They traditionally speak the Nama language of the Khoe-Kwadi language family, although many Nama now speak Afrikaans. The Nama are the largest group of the Khoikhoi people, most of whom have largely disappeared as a group,...

, who were disparagingly referred to as Hottentots.

Rebellion against German rule

Through 1893 and 1894, the first "Hottentot Uprising" of the Nama and their legendary leader Hendrik Witbooi
Hendrik Witbooi (Namaqua chief)
Hendrik Witbooi was a king of the Namaqua people, a sub-tribe of the Khoikhoi. He lived in present day Namibia. His face is portrayed on the obverse of all Namibian dollar banknotes.-Names:...

 occurred. The following years saw many further local uprisings against German rule. Before the Herero and Namaqua Genocide
Herero and Namaqua Genocide
The Herero and Namaqua Genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 in German South-West Africa , during the scramble for Africa...

 of 1904-1907, the Herero and Nama had good reasons to distrust the Germans. This is discussed in Khaua-Mbandjeru Rebellion
Khaua-Mbandjeru Rebellion
The aboriginal African natives of the area originally referred to by the Portuguese as Angra Pequena did not share the European attitude of private property ownership. Indeed, the entire "purchase" or "lease" by Heinrich Vogelsang, representative of Lüderitz, was fraudulent for several reasons...

. This rebellion, in which the Germans tried to control the Khaua by seizing their property by artificially imposing European legal views of property ownership, led to the largest of the rebellions, known as the Herero Wars (or Herero Genocide) of 1904.

Remote farms were attacked, and approximately 150 German settlers were killed. The Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe was the African colonial armed force of Imperial Germany from the late 19th century to 1918, when Germany lost its colonies. Similar to other colonial forces, the Schutztruppe consisted of volunteer European commissioned and non-commissioned officers, medical and veterinary officers. ...

of only 766 troops and native auxiliary forces was, at first, no match for the Herero. The Herero went on the offensive, sometimes surrounding Okahandja
Okahandja
Okahandja is a town of 14,000 inhabitants in Otjozondjupa Region, central Namibia, and the district capital of the Okahandja electoral constituency. It is known as the Garden Town of Namibia. It is located 70km north of Windhoek on the B1 road...

 and Windhoek
Windhoek
Windhoek is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau area, at around above sea level. The 2001 census determined Windhoek's population was 233,529...

, and destroying the railway bridge to Osona
Osona
County of Osona was one of the Catalan counties of the Marca Hispanica in the Early and High Middle Ages. It was based around the capital city of Vic and the corresponding diocese, whose territory was roughly the current comarca of Osona....

. Additional 14,000 troops, hastened from Germany under Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Lothar von Trotha
Lothar von Trotha
Adrian Dietrich Lothar von Trotha was a German military commander widely condemned for his conduct of the Herero Wars in South-West Africa, especially for the events that led to the near-extermination of the Herero....

, crushed the rebellion in the Battle of Waterberg
Battle of Waterberg
The Battle of Waterberg took place on August 11, 1904 in Waterberg, German South-West Africa , and was the decisive battle in the German campaign against the Herero.-The armies:...

.

Earlier von Trotha issued an ultimatum to the Herero people, denying them the right of being German subjects and ordering them to leave the country, or be killed. In order to escape, the Herero retreated into the waterless Omaheke
Omaheke
Omaheke is one of the thirteen regions of Namibia. Omaheke lies on the eastern border of Namibia and is the Western extension of the Kalahari desert. The name Omaheke is the Herero word for Sandveld. A large part of this region is known as the Sandveld...

 region, a western arm of the Kalahari Desert
Kalahari Desert
The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending , covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa, as semi-desert, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains. The Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert...

, where many of them died of thirst. The German forces guarded every water source and were given orders to shoot any adult male Herero on sight. Only a few Herero managed to escape into neighbouring British territories.

The German official military report on the campaign lauded the tactics:
In late 1904, the Nama
Namaqua
Nama are an African ethnic group of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. They traditionally speak the Nama language of the Khoe-Kwadi language family, although many Nama now speak Afrikaans. The Nama are the largest group of the Khoikhoi people, most of whom have largely disappeared as a group,...

 entered the struggles against the colonial power under their leaders Hendrik Witbooi
Hendrik Witbooi (Namaqua chief)
Hendrik Witbooi was a king of the Namaqua people, a sub-tribe of the Khoikhoi. He lived in present day Namibia. His face is portrayed on the obverse of all Namibian dollar banknotes.-Names:...

 and Jakobus Morenga
Jakobus Morenga
Jakobus Marenga, also "Jacobus," known as the "black Napoleon," born c. 1875, died September 20, 1907, was an important figure in Namibia, then the German colony of German South-West Africa...

, the latter often referred to as "the black Napoleon". This uprising was finally quashed during 1907 – 1908
In total, between 25,000 and 100,000 Herero, more than 10,000 Nama and 1,749 Germans died in the conflict.

After the official end of the conflict, the remaining natives, when finally released from detention, were subject to a policy of dispossession, deportation, forced labor, and racial segregation and discrimination in a system that in many ways anticipated apartheid and even perhaps foreshadowed the industrial-scale killing in Nazi Germany. The genocide remains relevant to ethnic identity in independent Namibia and to relations with Germany.

Concentration camps

The Germans maintained a number of concentration camps in the colony during their war against the Herero and Nama peoples.

In the table below, Extermination camps are highlighted in light red; Concentration camps
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

are highlighted in blue, Collection or Work camps are unmarked.
Name Est. deaths
Notes
Bondelslokation
Karibib
Keetmanshoop
Lüdertiz
Okahandja
Okahandja Concentration Camp
After the battle of Waterburg, in which the Schutztruppers of German South West Africa used machine guns and cannons to force the indigenous Herero into the Omaheke desert, then used Maxim machine guns to prevent the Herero from gaining access to water , the Herero who did not die in the desert...

 
Four subcamps or kraals:
#1: Young children;
#2: Prisoners of War;
#3: Sick and dying;
#4: Police camp (mostly Damara)
Okomitombe
Omaruru
Omburo
Otjihaenena
Otjozongombe
Shark Island 3,000 (In Lüderitzbucht, 121.2% for Nama, 30% for Herero)
Swakopmund
Swakopmund Concentration Camp
After the battle of Waterburg, in which the Schutztruppers of German South West Africa used machine guns and cannons to force the indigenous Herero into the Omaheke desert, then used Maxim machine guns to prevent the Herero from gaining access to water , the Herero who did not die in the desert...

 
74%
Windhoek
Windhoek Concentration Camp
After the battle of Waterberg, in which the Schutztruppers of German South West Africa used machine guns and cannons to force the indigenous Herero into the Omaheke Desert, then used Maxim machine guns to prevent the Herero from gaining access to water , the Herero who did not die in the desert...

 
50.4% There were two lager (camps) at Windhoek.


One should bear in mind that the above table of concentration camps, extermination camps and collection or work camps did not exhaust all the other places where indigenous people were interned.


"There were numerous smaller and lesser concentration camps in the colony. Some pertained to private businesses such as the Woermann company and others to government related projects such as railway construction, which saw several thousands of Herero 'accommodated' in 'Railway Concentration Labour Camps'."



"Hereros working in Swakopmund had been rounded up and interned on two Woermann line ‘steamers’ anchored off the coastal town’s shores."



Firma Lenz used slave labor to build railway embankments.



The Arthur Koppel Company constructed the Otavi railroad.



Etappenkommando in charge of supplies of prisoners to companies, private persons, etc., as well as any other materials. Concentration camps implies poor sanitation and a population density that would imply disease.



Prisoners were used as slave laborers in mines and railways, for use by the military or settlers.



The Herero and Namaqua genocide
Herero and Namaqua Genocide
The Herero and Namaqua Genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 in German South-West Africa , during the scramble for Africa...

 has been recognised by the United Nations and by the German Federal Republic
German Federal Republic
"German Federal Republic" was one of the derogatory terms used by the communist German Democratic Republic to refer to the Federal Republic of Germany from the 1950s until 1968, when they started using the propaganda term "BRD"....

. At the 100th anniversary of the camp's foundation, German Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul is a German politician and a member of the Social Democratic Party since 1965.-Career:...

 commemorated the dead on-site and apologised for the camp on behalf of Germany.

World War I

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n troops opened hostilities with an assault on the Ramansdrift police station on 13 September 1914. German settlers were transported to prison camps near Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

 and later in Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg is the capital and second largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was founded in 1838, and is currently governed by the Msunduzi Local Municipality. Its "purist" Zulu name is umGungundlovu, and this is the name used for the district municipality...

. Because of the overwhelming superiority of the South African troops, the German Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe was the African colonial armed force of Imperial Germany from the late 19th century to 1918, when Germany lost its colonies. Similar to other colonial forces, the Schutztruppe consisted of volunteer European commissioned and non-commissioned officers, medical and veterinary officers. ...

, along with groups of Afrikaner
Afrikaner
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages.-Related ethno-linguistic groups:The...

 volunteers fighting in the Maritz Rebellion
Maritz Rebellion
The Maritz Rebellion or the Boer Revolt or the Five Shilling Rebellion, occurred in South Africa in 1914 at the start of World War I, in which men who supported the recreation of the old Boer republics rose up against the government of the Union of South Africa...

 on the German side, offered opposition only as a delaying tactic. On 9 July 1915, Victor Franke
Victor Franke
Erich Victor Carl August Franke was a German military officer and last commander of the Schutztruppe in German Southwest Africa....

, the last commander of the Schutztruppe, capitulated near Khorab.

After the war, the territory came under the control of Britain, and then was made a South African League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 mandate. In 1990, the former colony became independent as 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...

, governed by the former liberation movement SWAPO.

German legacy

Many German names, buildings, and businesses still exist in the country, and about 30,000 people of German descent still live there. German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 is still widely used in Namibia, with the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation
Namibian Broadcasting Corporation
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation is the public broadcaster of Namibia.It was established in 1990, replacing the South West African Broadcasting Corporation.-History:...

 operating a German language radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 station, while the daily newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung
Allgemeine Zeitung (Namibia)
The Allgemeine Zeitung is the oldest newspaper in Namibia, founded in 1916.All editorial content in the newspaper is written in German, a recognized language in Namibia....

, founded in 1916, remains in publication.

See also

  • Shark Island, German South West Africa
  • List of colonial heads of Namibia (South-West Africa)
  • List of former German colonies
  • Postage stamps and postal history of German South-West Africa
    Postage stamps and postal history of German South-West Africa
    German South-West Africa was a German colony in Africa, established in 1884 with the protection of the area around Lüderitz and abandoned during World War I, when the area was taken over by the British....

  • Germans of Namibia
  • Research Materials: Max Planck Society Archive
    Research Materials: Max Planck Society Archive
    At the end of World War II, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society was renamed the Max Planck Society, and the institutes associated with the Kaiser Wilhelm Society were renamed "Max Planck" institutes. The records that were archived under the former Kaiser Wilhelm Society and its institutes were placed in the...

  • Otavi Mining and Railway Company
    Otavi Mining and Railway Company
    The Otavi Mining and Railway Company was a railway and mining company in German South-West Africa...

  • German Kamerun
    Kamerun
    German Cameroon was a West African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916 in the region of today's Republic of Cameroon.-History:-1800s:...

  • Togoland
    Togoland
    Togoland was a German protectorate in West Africa from 1884 to 1914, encompassing what is now the nation of Togo and most of what is now the Volta Region of Ghana. The colony was established during the period generally known as the "Scramble for Africa"...

  • German East Africa
    German East Africa
    German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....


Literature

  • Schnee, Dr.Heinrich, (former Governor of German East Africa
    German East Africa
    German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

    ), German Colonization, Past and Future - The Truth about the German Colonies, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1926.

  • Bullock, A.L.C., Germany's Colonial Demands, Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1939.

External links

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