Primary Source
Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1905 - Deutsch-Südwestafrika

Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German Southwest Africa,p. 11) 

Size : 835 100 square km (= 1 ½ times Deutsches Reich).

Population : about 200 000. Most numerous group among the indigenous are the Herero, a Bantu tribe, according to Schinz 86 000 souls. They inhabit the inner highland to the north of the Swakop, to the north up beyond Waterberg, to the east until the 18th degree longitude east of Greenwich, 80 000 - 90 000 square km. The Bergdamara (according to missionary Viehe numbering 35 000), rather distinct from the Hottentots, appear anywhere in Deutsch-Südwestafrika south of the Etosha depression and live in small groups between the Hereo and the Hottentots.

(640 x 597)    (1256 x 1173)

The Hottentots (about 10 000) or Nama (of yellow skin) are to be found in Gross-Namaland and in a part of the Kaokofeld. The Owambo (about 60 000), a Bantu tribe in Amboland, between the (p. 12) 18th degree southern latitude and the Kunene. The Bushmen, numbering a few thousand, live unrestrained in the Kalahari and in the area between Etosha depression and Damaraland. The Bastards, most populous settlement near Rehoboth (all of them Christians), are of mixed European and Hottentot descent (according to Wagner 2000 in number). The white population amounted, on January 1st 1903, to 4682 persons, of them 2998 Germans. Because of the uprising it is impossible to establish statistical data for 1905.

Geomorphology : In its entire extent Deutsch-Südwestafrika is a terrasse landscape, first rising gently, then steep, up to 1200 m., which c. 300 km inland begins to descenf toward the interior. The width of the coastal desert girdle is several day's rides; the valleys of the larger rivers form oases. As ports are used Luderitzbucht (Angra Pequena), Sandwichhafen, the british Walfischbai at the mouth of the Kuisseb, and Swakopmund at the mouth of the Swakop, where since 1900 a pier has been constructed. In the interior various singular, irregularly distributed mountain ranges, tops and mountain chains are located, which rise several 100 m over the average surrounding landscape (gneiss und granite). In the south the 2000 m high Karasgebirge, between Rehoboth and Windhuk the Auasgebirge (2481 m high), further north Mt. Omatako (2680 m). To the east the plateau descends to the Kalahari steppe, which in its interior is located 500 m lower.

Irrigation : all existing rivers are not navigable. Only the Orange and Kunene, as well as the Okawango, feeding into Lake Ngami, have water year round, but are not navigable. The other rivers feeding into the Atlantic are dry for most of the year and rarely form continuous bodies of water even during the rainy season (Swakop, Kuiseb). There are a considerable number of sources in Hereroland; here precipitation is higher than in Gross-Namaland.

Climate : The climate is hot in the summer, but dry and healthy. The winter is moderate. Night frosts are not rare in the interior. The coastal stretch is continuously cool; up to 50 km inland the only form of precipitation is fog. Dominating winds from southern direction, in the warmer half of the year (October-March) also winds from northern direction, which cause the main rainy season, between January and March.

Trade and Transportation : transportation in the interior is the ox-cart; pulled by 10 to 20 oxen, it covers, loaden with 1500 to 2500 kg, 18 to 35 km per day. Between Swakopmund and Windhuk operates a narrow-gauge field railway since Juli 1902 (382 km). Passenger trains leave twice per week in each direction, freight trains on demand. The railway Swakopmud-Otawi is under construction.
Import products are all kind of goods offered by the European market, especially drinks, tobacco, coffee, canned food, flour, rice, clothing and jewelry. Imports
1902: 8 567 550 M., 1903: 8 330 000 M. (partially estimated). 
Exported are cattle, small animals, copper, animal skins, horns, ostrich feathers, resins, tannins, Guano (Cape Cross), raw furs. Export 1902: 2 212 973 M., 1903 3 540 000 M. (partially estimated).
The Guano islands situated off the coast (between 24 degrees 37 min. and 28 degrees southern latitude), as well as the Walfischbai area, are British possession.

Administration : At the top the Governor, seat Windhuk. The protectorate is divided in six districts : Keetmanshoop, Gibeon, Windhuk, Swakopmund, Gobabis and Outjo. To these have to be added the autonomous districts Karibib and Grootfontein. A number of local police officess are placed their authority. The mines inspectorate is seated at Windhuk.

Officers stations : Windhuk, Rehoboth, Gobabis, Keetmanshoop, Bethanien, Warmbad, Swakopmund, Omaruru, Outjo, Zesfontein, Grootfontein, Maltahohe and Nauchas.

European Schutztruppe : in 1903 it consisted of a vice commander, 50 officers, medical doctors and administrators, 772 N.C.O.s and troops. The garrisons are : field companies : 1. Windhuk, 2. Omaruru, 3. Keetmanshoop, 4. Outjo; field battery : Windhuk; reserve company : Windhuk. To support local police authorities, a police troop been established, consisting of German men transferred from the Schutztruppe, and of 300 native policemen. In the year of the uprising, 11,068 men reinforcement have been dispatched to Südwestafrika; dead or wounded 1041 men.


Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies with Yearbook), edited by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). Berlin 1905, p.11f

GM (digitalisation) and AG (translation) 
posted on the web for psm-data; many thanks to

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz 

Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz


Dokument in deutscher Sprache