The Causes and Consequences of the Herero War (1904-1907)

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  • Topic: German South-West Africa, History of Namibia, German Empire
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The Herero Wars:
By Denise R. & Vidhi S.
Causes and consequences

Table of contents:

3. Introduction

4 – 6. Examples and analysis of primary & secondary sources

7 – 8. The causes & consequences of the Herero wars

9. Conclusion

10. Sources

Introduction
The Hereros were people living in what is now the independent nation of Namibia. Herero chiefs were independent, presiding over a decentralized tribal government, with extended families and their cattle herds spread over hundreds of miles. Germany first arrived in Africa in 1884, using the private land claims of a businessman, Adolf Luderitz, as the legal basis for establishing a protectorate over a vast desert hinterland, making South West Africa its first African colony. The first German treaties did not concern the Herero because they lived well-inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Chief Kamaherero negotiated a worthless agreement of protection with the British, who were unwilling to live up to its terms. However, the Herero negotiated Schutzverträge (treaties of protection) in Okahandja and Omaruru in October 1885. In 1904, however, Namibia had been transformed into a German colony: Deutsch-Südwestafrika, i.e., German Southwest Africa. The German colonialism was brutal, and so it came to the rebellion in 1904, in which the Herero tribe, led by Samuel Maharero, rebelled against their German colonial ruler because of the dissatisfaction with the expansion of the German folk and their colonialism. Samuel Maharero was an important Herero warrior and cattle raider to the Herero tribe, as he planned a revolt with the other chiefs against the German colonial authorities and white German settlers in the country. As a result, on January 12, 1904 the uprising in Okhandja began and the Herero people successfully killed several German farmer families. Maharero succeeded in leading some of his people to the British Bechuanaland Protectorate (today Botswana). He remained leader of the exiled Herero, and became an important vassal of Sekgathôlê a Letsholathêbê, a chief in northern Bechuanaland. Samuel Maharero died there in 1923, but is still remembered as one of nine national heroes of Namibia which were identified at the inauguration of the country's Heroes' Acre near Windhoek. The Herero Genocide took place between 1904 and 1907 in German South-West Africa (modern day Namibia), during the scramble for Africa. What distinguishes the Herero War, and makes it an act of genocide, was a clearly announced military policy to destroy the Herero nation by killing all its members. The rebellion quickly spread throughout the whole Herero region and Damaraland. They managed to kill 123 white men, destroy rail tracks, telephone connections, and German buildings and farmer facilities. When in August the German protection troops engaged, German general Lothar von Trotha gave out the order of eradication, and they defeated the Herero in the Battle of Waterberg with their advanced armory. As a punishment, the Herero were droven into the desert of Omaheke, with barely any water sources that were made unreachable and according to some sources systematically poisoned by the German colonial army. Most of the Herero died there of thirst. In October, the Nama people also rebelled against the Germans, only to suffer a similar fate. In total, at least 60,000 of the 80,000 Herero people, which was about 80% of the entire population, had died, mostly of starvation or thirst, because the Herero who fled the violence were prevented from returning from the Namib Desert, as any Herero returning to 'German' territory would be shot on sight even if unarmed.

Analysis of primary and secondary sources
Primary Sources:
"If we rebel, we will be annihilated in battle since our people are practically unarmed and without ammunition, but the cruelty and injustice of the Germans have driven us to despair and our leaders and our people both feel that death has lost its terrors because...
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