Namibia is a Southern African country. Located on the southwest coast of Africa, Namibia has an area of 825 418 km2. It is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and borders Angola to the north, Zambia to the northeast, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the southeast and south. The main cities are Windhoek, the capital, with 228,500 residents (2004), Swakopmund (27,100 residents), Rundu (31,700 residents), Rehoboth (37,500 residents) and Keetmanshoop (21,000 residents).
Namibia is divided into three areas, if we take into account criteria related to climate and relief. Thus, we can individualize the coastal desert of Namibia, the central highlands and the Kalahari region, with a warm desert climate.
Some large rivers run through the territory of Namibia, serving as a border with neighboring countries. This is the case, for example, of the Cunene and Orange rivers.
Most of the territory has a desert or semi-desert climate. The great dryness, the small number of rainy days and the high number of hours of the sun contribute to the occurrence of enormous diurnal thermal amplitudes, which tend to increase in the regions furthest from the sea. Namibia has irregular rainfall, in the Otavi Mountains, in the north of the central plateau, the region with the highest rainfall.
The mining industry is the most important activity in the economy, based on its exploitation in ores such as diamond and uranium oxide, although the potential in the exploration of gold, natural gas and oil is recognized. The different agricultural holdings find livestock the mainstay of their projects, since the industry that is dedicated to food processing is a good outlet for products. In fact, this industry is also fundamental for the fishing sector, which is in a state of rapid development. After independence (1990), Namibia closed its territorial waters, limiting access to foreign fishing vessels. Namibia’s main trading partners are South Africa, the United Kingdom, Japan and Spain.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 0.1.
The population was, in 2006, 1 797 677 residents, which corresponded to a very low population density, since most of the country consists of a desert. However, it is estimated that the population will exceed 3 million residents in 2025, doubling the current population in 2019, if the current demographic characteristics are maintained. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.627 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.922 (2001).
The main ethnic groups in Namibia are Ovambos (51%), Namas (13%), Kavangos (10%), Hereros (8%) and Bushmen (2%). The main religions are Lutheranism (51%), Catholicism (20%), the Dutch Reformed Church (5%) and Anglicanism (5%). The official language is English.
The ethnic background reflects the country’s history, characterized, until the 19th century, by the existence of the Nama-Damara kingdom in the south and center of Namibia, and the Herero kingdom (where the Ovambo people belonged), established in the north of the country. Although the first contacts with Europeans date back to the years 1486 and 1488, dates when Diogo Cão and Bartolomeu Dias approached the Namibian coast, it was only in the 19th century that the European presence was noticed, when, in 1870, the annexation of Namibia became imminent England, which saw that territory as a potential extension of the Cape colony. However, and as Namibia did not represent any economic value, England took a step backwards in its pretensions, leaving the free way for Germany to annex that territory, which happened in the early 1880s under the name Southwest Africa. Yet, Germany encountered enormous armed resistance. Herero’s kingdom was the first to open hostilities in 1885, forcing the Germans to retreat to the coastal city of Walvis Bay. But it was between 1904 and 1907 that the great resistance war was fought, first through the forces of the Herero kingdom , later by the forces of the Nama kingdom. When the conflict ended, those native peoples had lost, respectively, 90% and 67% of their population. Only the areas of Ovambo and Kavango, which managed to keep the northern region of the country under control, escaped the death toll imposed by the Germans, either on the battlefield or through summary executions and concentration camps where prisoners died of hunger or disease. For Namibia democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.
In 1914-15, South African troops invaded South-West Africa in the aftermath of the First World War, with the British crown granting the British crown a mandate over that country and which would be exercised by the Union of South Africa, which deduced the right to transform that territory into their fifth province. The South African presence in the territory can be divided into two phases. The first took place between the First World War and the year 1945, when the armed resistance went hand in hand with the economic, political and commercial boycotts. The second one is delimited by the years 1945 and 1989. In this phase, in addition to an economic development that favored, almost exclusively, the colonists (as it is verified today by the situation of the Namibians), in 1947, the pro-independence movement emerged of Namibia. But this movement took a long time to organize itself, despite the creation of two independent party forces (SWAPO – People’s Organization of South-West Africa – in 1960, and SWANU – National Union of South-West Africa – in 1959). Only with the strikes of 1971-72 did those organizations manage to gather support at national level; and this fact so worried South Africa that, in response, repressive measures were taken immediately, such as arbitrary arrests, summary trials and torture. Even so, it was only after the independence of Angola (which supported the Namibian independence ideals) that a properly organized armed guerrilla came into existence, which severely affected the colonial economy. However, the turning point occurred in 1988, when the attempted invasion of Angola by South Africa was annihilated by the Angolan forces that, immediately, organized the Popular Army for the Liberation of Namibia (PLAN), of SWAPO, managing to push the South African troops to the border between Namibia and South Africa. Consequently, UNTAG (United Nations Transition Assistance Group) has established itself in the territory to oversee the future elections, the new Constitution and the independence of Namibia. The elections, which took place in 1989, gave SWAPO victory, although this party adopted a national reconciliation policy in order to ensure the adoption of the new democratic and humanist Constitution. managing to push South African troops to the border between Namibia and South Africa. Consequently, UNTAG (United Nations Transition Assistance Group) established itself in the territory to oversee future elections, the new Constitution and independence of Namibia. The elections, which took place in 1989, gave SWAPO victory, although this party adopted a policy of national reconciliation in order to ensure the adoption of the new democratic and humanist Constitution.
The success of the new historical cycle in Namibia has proved difficult to achieve, such is the catastrophic situation inherited from colonial times. Still, peace remains in that country, allowing economic policy measures to be taken with the aim of developing Namibia as soon as possible, at the same time that some foreign aid is given to it, as occurred during Nelson Mandela’s visit in August 1994, who, in addition to confirming the transfer of Walvis Bay to Namibia, forgave the enormous debt that this country owed to South Africa. In December of the same year, new national elections were held, being Sam Nujoma, leader of SWAPO, re-elected to the presidency of the Republic.
Internationally, Namibia is part of the Commonwealth.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Namibia, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Namibia. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Namibia
View the political and shaded relief maps of this Southern African country, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa. See a map of Walvis Bay.
Namibia – Graphic Maps
View a map of the southwestern African country that borders the Atlantic Ocean. Includes an overview of the economy and political system.
Namibia – National Geographic Map Machine
Satellite imaging and political map-making create a zoomable map of this African country, with cities, rivers and topography.
Namibia Regional Map and Information
Unique map offers visitors a regional perspective of the country. Click on a region to get an overview of that area and travel facts.