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German South-West Africa

German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika) was a colony of Germany from 1884 to 1915, when it was taken over by South Africa and administered as South-West Africa, later becoming Namibia.

In 1883, Adolf Lüderitz bought land from a native chief in the area of Angra Peqena, and in early 1884 the German Navy ship Nautilus visited to review the situation. A favorable report from the government, and acquiescence from the British, resulted in a visit from the Leipzig and Elisabeth, and the raising of the German flag, on 7 August 1884.

In October the newly-appointed Commissioner for West Africa Gustav Nachtigal arrived on the Möwe.

In April 1885 the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft für Südwest-Afrika was founded, and soon bought the assets of Lüderitz's failing enterprises. In May, Heinrich Ernst Göring was appointed Commissioner and established his administration at Otjimbingwe.

Postage stamps

Regular postal service began 7 July 1888 at Otjimbingwe, using postmarks reading "OTYIMBINGUE" on postage stamps of Germany, and continued in this fashion for a number of years, eventually expanding to additional post offices.

The first issue for the colony consisted of overprints applied in May 1897 to German stamps, reading "Deutsch- / Südwest-Afrika" at an angle. On 15 November 1898 the overprint was changed to "Deutsch- / Südwestafrika", dropping the hyphen.

In 1900, the omnibus Yacht issue included stamps for South-West Africa, printed on watermarked paper after 1906. The last of these was a 3-mark value printed in 1919, but which was never put on sale in the colony.

Some values, such as the 3pf and 5pf "Yachts", are readily available today, with prices of around one US$. The others range up to several hundred dollars. The high values of the watermarked Yachts saw very little usage before the colony was captured, and genuinely used stamps are up to 10 times more valuable; but many of the used stamps are known to have forged cancellations.

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