Namibia History  

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NAMIBIA

Though various tribes have always lived in the region of Zambia in southwest Africa, it was not until 1872 that Britain took the area surrounding Walvis Bay, annexing it to the Cape Colony 12 years later. The Germans, too wanted a piece of the action and took over much of south-west Africa for itself. The two powers agreed to recognize each others' claims but, Britain occupied the region during World War I, and in 1920 South Africa was given a mandate over the area by the League of Nations. When the United Nations came into being, it tried to have South Africa continue its administration under a UN trusteeship -- instead, South Africa annexed South-west Africa. Guerrilla forces began to attack South African troops in 1966. SWAPO (the South-West Africa's People's Organizations) operated from bases in Zambia and Namibia. By 1971, the International Court of Justice ruled that South Africa's continued 'occupation' of the region was illegal. The UN rejected South Africa's plan for a Namibian independence based on apartheid principles. Efforts for a peaceful resolution of the situation all but disappeared in the 1980s as fighting continued. Since SWAPO was operating out of Namibia, that country became embroiled in the fighting as well. Not until 1988 was an agreement worked out. In 1990, independence was declared after a new democratic constitution was adopted. SWAPO prevailed in the 1994 elections, the first held under the new constitution.

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