Namibia; key historical events

Page last modified 8/7/2020

 

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2005, Government expropriation of White-owned farms began.

2004, Hifikepunye became President.

1999, Sam Nujoma won a third term.

1994, South Africa ceded control of the enclave of Walvis Bay to Namibia.

30/11/1992, SWAPO won a landslide victory in elections in Namibia.

1/1/1989. Namibia was granted independence from South Africa.

13/12/1988, In Brazzaville, South Africa signed an accord granting independence to Namibia.

11/1989, After a protracted war in Namibia between SWAPO and South African forces, that cost the lives of over 2,500 South African soldiers and was costing South Africa over US$ 1 billion annually, elections were held under UN supervision. SWAPO won these elections, led by Sam Nujoma.

1972, The United Nations recognised SWAPO.

1968, The UN called on South Africa to withdraw from Namibia, following a war of independence waged by the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) from 1966. In 1971 the International Court of Justice ruled that South African occupation of Namibia was illegal.

1968, South West Africa was renamed Namibia.

1966, Apartheid laws were imposed in Namibia.

1958, SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation) was founded to organise the guerrilla war against the South African administration of the country.

13/12/1950. South Africa again refused to place South West Africa under UN Trusteeship.

21/1/1947, South African President J C Smuts refused to place South West Africa under UN Trusteeship.

1946, The United Nations refused to recognise South Africa’s right to incorporate South West Africa in its territory.

17/12/1920, The League of Nations ratified South African rule over Namibia (South West Africa), a territory taken by South Africa from German rule in 1915.

30/5/1919, At the Paris Peace Conference, Britain agreed to the transfer of part of German South West Africa to Belgium.

12/5/1915, South Africa occupied Windhoek, capital of German South West Africa.

7/1908, Diamonds were discovered near Ludritz, Namibia, increasing European interest in the area.

21/9/1907, Morenga was killed in a brief battle with British forces. He had escaped back into Namibia in 8/1907, causing alarm on both sides of the frontier, but then returned to British-controlled territory. A British task force was sent to arrest him and he died in an exchange of fire in the Kalahari Desert.

3/1907, The ongoing Hottentot  rebellion was now largely overcome by German forces, whose numbers could now be reduced from a peak of 19,000 to just 5,000. The Hottentots had intermarried with some Dutch colonisers, and acquired knowledge of European tactics. From their stronghold in the Karas Mountains, they raided European stores of cattle and small arms, but gradually they were worn down by German forces.

16/5/1906, Morenga was interned by the British. He had been pursued by Germans across the frontier into British-colonised territory and wounded, but he escaped from the Germans. The British classerd him as a political refugee and refused German calls for his extradition.

3/11/1905, Hendrik Witboi, Chief of the Hottentots, who had actually helped Germany suppress the Bondelzwart rebellion (10/1903) but who subsequently fell out with the German administrators, died aged 75. His son and successor, Samuel Isaac, now surrendered to the Germans. However a rebel Hottentot faction then emerged under Morenga, who continued guerrilla warfare against the colonisers.

28/11/1904, Rebels in South West Africa were defeated by the Germans, see 3/10/1904.

2/10/1904, Von Trotha, exasperated by his lack of success at containing the Herero guerrilla warfare, issued a general order to shoot all Herero, armed or not, men women and children. He later modified this and ordered his soldiers to fire ‘over the heads of’ women and children. Many Herero fled across the border to British-colonised territory.

11/8/1904, The Herero of Namibia were defeated by the Germans at Hamakari. Survivors were driven into the Kalahari Desert where waterholes had been poisoned. The Herero were reduced from a population of 80,000 to around 15,000. Survivors were interned in slave labour camps. However many escaped to the countryside, from where they maintained guerrilla warfare against the colonisers. The Germans, hampered by lack of water and transport, could not quell them.

12/1/1904, Uprising by the Herero  in the Namibian town of Okahandja against German rule, taking advantage of the Bondelzwart rebellion against German rule. White farmers were attacked in Damaraland. Kaiser Wilhelm II sent 14,000 troops under Lieutenant-General  Lothar vn Trotha (who had previously suppressed the Boxer Rebellion in China) to quell the revolt.

10/1903, Rebellion by the Bondelzwarts, in the area north of the Orange River.

24/4/1884. Bismarck cabled Cape Town to state that South West Africa was a German colony.

1883, FAE Luderitz (1834-86), a merchant from Bremen, established a trading station at Angra Pequena (Luderitz), with the approval of Prince Bismarck.

1878, Britain claimed Walvis (whale-fish) Bay as a colony.

1867, Britain began to exploit the guano deposits (fertiliser) from the islands off Namibia.

1486, Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao landed on the coast of Namibia. However European colonisation of the area did not begin until the 1840s, with Germany claiming the region in 1884.

 

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