Primary Source
Imperialism | Colonial Policy


Atlas German Colonies, with Yearbook, edited by the German Colonial Society, 1908, Deutsch-Südwestafrika
Deutsch-Südwestafrika (p.12)

Size : 835 100 square km (= 1 ½ times Deutsches Reich).
The Guano Islands located off the coast (between 24 degrees 37 minutes and 28 degrees south), as well as Walvisch Bay, only half an hour distant from Swakopmund, are in British possession.

Population : On January 1st 1907 : 7110, under them 4929 Germans and 1079 women; in comparison 1903 number of white settlers 3815, of the Germans 2173, of the women 670.
About 200 000. (? for the time being more precise figures can not be given). Most numerous group among the indigenous are still the Herero, a Bantu tribe. The Bergdamara (according to missionary Viehe numbering 35 000), appear anywhere in Deutsch-Südwestafrika south of the Etosha depression and live in small groups between the Hereo and the Hottentots. The Hottentots 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 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 (a little over 2000 in number).

Geomorphology : In its entire extent Deutsch-Sudwestafrika is a terrasse landscape, first rising gently, then steep, up to 1200 m., which c. 300 km inland begins to descend toward the interior. The width of the coastal desert girdle is several day's rides; the valleys of the larger rivers form oases. 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 Karrasgebirge, 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, but which should not be imagined as deserted and infertile.

Irrigation : 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 Ocean 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. The question of the opening-up of water resources, of hydroelectric dams etc., is the most important problem in the protectorate. Opening of fountains by drilling columns.

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. The average annual temperature in Windhuk is 20o, in the coolest month, July, 19o, in the warmest, January, 25o.

Flora : in the coastal Namib desert girdle vegetation lacks almost totally. Ovamboland : tropical vegetation (baobab, palm tree etc.), Damaraland : steppe and thornbush with oasis-like groves of Ana- and Acacia trees. Namaland : grass steppe, almost treeless. With irrigation, the cultivation of grain, maize, potatoes, figs, dates, wine, tobacco etc. possible.

Fauna : sea off the coast a rich fishing ground, water fowl on the offshore islands (Guano reservoirs). In the northern parts of the colony a purely tropical fauna (big game such as elephants, giraffes, predators, apes). Damaraland is better suited for breeding large size livestock, Namaland for small size livestock. Results of livestock count 1907 : cattle 52,189 (1903 : 90,385). meat sheep : 98,069 (1903 : 182,541); wool sheep 3,526 (1903 : 
4,301); Angora goats (p.13) 3,656 (1903 : 3,391); ordinary goats 99,563 (1903 : 156,000); horses 2,141 (1903 : 5,265); all numbers without the livestock owned by the Schutztruppe.

Minerals : near Karibib obviously good quality marble. In the region Otavi, near Gorob and at a number of other places copper deposits which make exploitation profitable. Diamond finds are probable; Macco says "The many, valuable hints ressearch studies give for our protectotrate, so little studied under the aspect of geology and mining, deserve the greatest care."

Trade : imported are almost all objects of the European market, especially drinks, tobacco, coffee, canned food, flour, rice, clothing.
Exported are skins, cattle, small domestic animals, copper, skins, horns, ostrich feathers, resins, tannins, guano (Cape Cross), raw fur. For value of export and import see table on page 4.

Transportation : Navigation : Swakopmund roadsted has been frequented in 1906 by 322 steamers wity a total of more than 1,000,000 reg. tons, the port of Lüderitzbucht by 225 steamers with c. 680,000 reg. tons. The overwhelming majority were German, while still last year almost a third sailed under the English flag. Transit price : Woermann Line Hamburg-Swakopmund I. class 602.50 M., II. class 402.50 M., intermediate deck 252,50 M.
Land transportation : medium of transportation in the interior is the oxcart; 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 60 cm-gauge field railway since Juli 1902 (382 km). The railway Swakopmud-Otawi until Tsumeb (570 km), completed in September 1906; a daily train between Swakopmund and Karibib, three times a week between Usakos and Tsumeb. Line Lüderitzbucht-Kubub (Aus) 167 km, completed since October 1906, shall be continued, for the time being, until Keetmanshoop. A branch line from Seeheim not far from Keetmanshoop southward until Kalkfontein (c. 185 km) has been approved. Lately transportation experiments with camels and with motor cars.
Post and Telegraphs : at the end of 1907 : 58 offices, of them 26 with telegraph service and 11 with local telephone service; 2,417 km land telegraph lines and 246 km sea cables. Traffic 1906 : 17,063,800 letters, 164,465 postal money orders over 33,805,000 M., 103,285 parcels, 657,134 newspaper issues, 341,964 telegrams, 623,898 telephone calls. Postal connections : five times a month, time for delivery 20-26 days. Telegram fee 
per word 2,75 M.

Administration : At the top the Governor (at present v. Schuckmann), seat Windhuk. The protectorate is divided in twelve districts : Keetmanshoop, Lüderitzbucht, Gibeon, Rehoboth, Gobabis, Windhuk, Swakopmund, Karibib, Okahandja, Omaruru, Grootfontein and Outjo. (A new mining ordinance is in force since January 1st 1906.)


Source: Deutscher Kolonial-Atlas mit Jahrbuch (Atlas German Colonies with Yearbook), edited by the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). Berlin 1908, p.12f

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