South West Africa

South West Africa (Afrikaans: Suidwes-Afrika; German: Südwestafrika; Dutch: Zuidwest-Afrika) was the name for modern-day Namibia when it was under South African administration, from 1915 to 1990. It borders with Angola (Portuguese colony before 1975), Botswana (Bechuanaland before 1966), South Africa, and Zambia (Northern Rhodesia before 1964).

Territory of South West Africa
Motto: Viribus Unitis
(Latin for "With United Forces")
Location of South West Africa (light green) within South Africa
StatusMandate of South Africa
and largest city
Official languages
Common languages
Demonym(s)South West African
Sir Edmond Howard Lacam Gorges
Louis Pienaar
9 July 1915
28 June 1919
21 March 1990
CurrencySouth West African pound (1920–1961)
South African rand (1961–1990)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
German South West Africa
Today part ofNamibia

Previously the German colony of South West Africa from 1884–1915, it was made a League of Nations mandate of the Union of South Africa following Germany's defeat in the First World War. Although the mandate was abolished by the United Nations in 1966, South African control over the territory continued despite its illegality under international law.[1] The territory was administered directly by the South African government from 1915 to 1978, when the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference laid the groundwork for semi-autonomous rule. During an interim period between 1978 and 1985, South Africa gradually granted South West Africa a limited form of home rule, culminating in the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity.

In 1990, South West Africa was granted independence as the Republic of Namibia with the exception of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands, which continued to remain under South African rule until 1994.

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