South West Africa

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South-West Africa (Afrikaans: Suidwes-Afrika; German: Südwestafrika) 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.


German colony

As a German colony from 1884 it was known as German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika). Germany had a difficult time administering the territory, which, owing to the Germans' native policy, experienced many insurrections, especially those led by guerilla leader Jacob Morenga. The main port, Walvis Bay, and the Penguin islands had been annexed by Britain as part of the Cape Colony in 1878, and became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

As part of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty in 1890, a corridor of land taken from the northern border of Bechuanaland, extending as far as the Zambezi river, was added to the colony. It was named the Caprivi Strip (Caprivizipfel) after the German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi.[1]

During 1915 the region was taken from German control in the South-West Africa Campaign of World War I. After the war it was declared a League of Nations Mandate territory under the Treaty of Versailles, with the Union of South Africa responsible for the administration of South-West Africa, including Walvis Bay.

UN trust territory

The Mandate was supposed to become a United Nations Trust Territory when League of Nations Mandates were transferred to the United Nations following World War II. The Union of South Africa objected to South-West Africa coming under UN control and refused to allow the territory's transition to independence, regarding it as a fifth province (even though it was never actually incorporated into South Africa).[2]

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