The 1904 Herero (and Nama) uprising against colonial German rule is perhaps one of the most significant events of colonial history in Southern Africa.
On the 11th of August 1904, Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha ordered his troops to attack the Herero, who had previously fled to the remote Waterberg plateau on the edge of the Kalahai desert. Of the estimated 40,000 Herero caught on the plateau, only 5,000 or so had guns, and these were outdated rifles (the rest, at best, were armed with the traditional kirri, a local version of the knobkerrie). The Germans had modern weaponry (including artillery and machine guns), and the element of surprise. The fighting was fierce, and the Herero were lucky to escape to the Omaheke desert -- but this was just the start of their troubles. Von Trotha issued an 'extermination' order, to shoot any Herero found in German territory.
Only a few thousand Herero survived crossing the desert to Bechuanaland where they were offered asylum by the British.
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|Theodor Leutwein meets Samuel Maharero -- German South West Africa 1895||German Troops during the 1904 Herero Revolt||Starving Herero return from the Omaheke Desert -- 1907||Herero Executions in German South West Africa -- 1907|
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