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Africa 2006,

The San and Nama or Khoikhoi peoples were already in the region 500 years ago when Ovambo and Kavango groups migrated south from present-day Angola. In the 19th Century German merchants settled in the territory around the British possession of Walvis Bay. German forces moved inland to claim what became known as German West Africa, almost annihilating the Herero and the Nama in the process. During the First World War South Africa defeated the Germans in the territory and in 1919 the League of Nations confirmed its control over the mandate of South West Africa (SWA). South African attempts after the Second World War to incorporate the territory instead of submitting it to the control of the newly formed UN Trusteeship Council led to a lengthy political struggle in the UN. The South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO), under leadership of Sam Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma, resorted to arms in 1966 after the International Court of Justice gave a ruling favorable to the South African government. In 1988, a US-inspired peace agreement ended hostilities on the northern border where South Africa was engaged in a protracted battle with Cuban and Angolan MPLA troops, assisted by SWAPO commandos. SWAPO emerged as the victor in an election held in 1989 under supervision of a UN Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG) and on 21 March 1990, Nujoma was sworn in as president of independent Namibia and reelected several times until he stepped down in 2005. He was succeeded by Hifikepunye Pohamba as leader of SWAPO and president after the November 2004 election.