Namibia was a German colony from 1884 to 1915. After the First World War, the area came under British control for a number of years. In 1921, the Union of South Africa received a mandate from the League of Nations to temporarily govern South-West Africa. This mandate was lifted by the United Nations in 1966. South Africa, however, refused to withdraw and continued to occupy the area.
As early as 1958, a resistance movement against South Africa's apartheid regime was founded, the Ovamboland People's Organization, which two years later became the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), with Sam Nujoma as its leader. In 1967, the UN established a Council for South West Africa to formally govern the region. In 1971 the International Court of Justice declared the South African presence in Namibia illegal. Two years later SWAPO was recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Namibian people and was granted observer status at the UN.
After years of deadlock, the success of negotiations between South Africa, Angola, Cuba and the United States in 1988 paved the way for Namibian independence. More than 41,000 exiles, including Sam Nujoma, returned home. The first free elections, from 7-11 November 1989, resulted in a major victory for SWAPO. Sam Nujoma became president. On 21 March 1990 Namibia gained its independence. On 28 February 1994, the Walvis Bay enclave was the last of South Africa's territories to be ceded to Namibia.
In March 2005, Hifikepunye Pohamba, a protégé of Nujoma, was appointed president. In July 2007, human rights activists demanded an investigation into the deaths of thousands of Namibians during Sam Nujoma's rule. SWAPO President Pohamba was re-elected in November 2009. In July 2011, a large oil field was discovered off the coast of Namibia. On 4 December 2012, Hage Geingob became prime minister and was elected president in 2015. Outgoing President Pohamba was awarded the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership in March 2015. In the 2019 elections, Geingob was re-elected, but with a significantly smaller majority.
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