January in History: Namibia’s Herero rebellion and the hammer of a massacre

BY MATTHEW COLLINS - JANUARY 14, 2015

In January 1904, a revolt by the Herero people against their German colonists broke out in what many believe would become the first genocide of the 20th century.

After the Berlin Conference of 1884, Africa was formally divided amongst the European powers, with Germany receiving what would be known as South-West Africa.

Due to continued frustration by the indigenous tribe towards the perceived oppression by their colonists, a full-scale rebellion ensued resulting in the deaths of many Germans.

In response, the Germans crushed the rebellion and, according to the infamous orders of a General von Trotha, set out to exterminate the Herero people as a group, with many being placed in concentration camps, believed to be the precursors to those of World War II.  

By the time the revolt had ended in March 1907, as much as 80% of the Herero population had been wiped out.

 

Image courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org