Lüderitz

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This article is about the town in Namibia. For its founder and namesake, see Adolf Lüderitz. For the former town in Germany, see Lüderitz, Germany.
Lüderitz
Lüderitzbucht
Town
View of Lüderitz
View of Lüderitz
Coat of arms of Lüderitz
Coat of arms
Motto: Challenge, Innovation, Prosperity
Lüderitz is located in Namibia
Lüderitz
Lüderitz
Location in Namibia
Coordinates: 26°38′45″S 15°9′14″E / 26.64583°S 15.15389°E / -26.64583; 15.15389Coordinates: 26°38′45″S 15°9′14″E / 26.64583°S 15.15389°E / -26.64583; 15.15389
Country  Namibia
Region ǁKaras Region
Constituency ǃNamiǂNûs Constituency
Established 1883
Government
 • Mayor Hambelela Suzan Ndjaleka[1]
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 12,537

Lüderitz is a harbour town[3] in south-west Namibia, lying on one of the least hospitable coasts in Africa. It is a port developed around Robert Harbour and Shark Island.

The town is known for its colonial architecture, including some Art Nouveau work, and for wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos and ostriches. It is also home to a museum, and lies at the end of a currently decommissioned railway line to Keetmanshoop.

In 2013, it was reported that Lüderitz was renamed into ǃNamiǂNûs. This pertains only to the constituency, though.[4]

History[edit]

The bay on which Lüderitz is situated was discovered by Bartolomeu Dias in 1487. He named the bay Angra Pequena (Portuguese: Small Bay) and erected a padrao (stone cross) on the southern peninsula. In the 18th century Dutch adventurers and scientists explored the area in search of minerals but did not have much success. Further exploration expeditions followed in the early 19th century during which the vast wildlife in the ocean was discovered. Profitable enterprises were set up, including whaling, seal hunting, fishing, and guano-harvesting. Lüderitz thus began its life as a trading post.[5]

The town was founded in 1883 when Heinrich Vogelsang purchased Angra Pequena and some of the surrounding land on behalf of Adolf Lüderitz, a Hanseat from Bremen in Germany, from the local Nama chief Joseph Fredericks II in Bethanie. When Adolf Lüderitz did not return from an expedition to the Orange River in 1886, Angra Pequena was named Lüderitzbucht in his honour.[5] In 1905, the German authorities established a concentration camp located on the Shark Island.Camp worked between 1905 1907 As a result of a deliberate policy of the German authorities, ie the tragic conditions of forced labor, has been the systematic extermination of three and a half thousand Africans from Hererów and Nama tribes. The aim of the camp was extermination by forced labor of indigenous peoples, which is used for expansion of the city, railway, port and on the farms of white settlers.

In 1909, after the discovery of diamonds nearby, Lüderitz enjoyed a sudden surge of prosperity due to the development of a diamond rush to the area. In 1912 Lüderitz already had 1,100 inhabitants, not counting the indigenous population. Although situated in harsh environment between desert and Ocean, trade in the harbour town surged, and the adjacent diamond mining settlement of Kolmanskop was built.[6]

After the German World War I capitulation South Africa took over the administration of German South-West Africa in 1915. Many Germans were deported from Lüderitz, contributing to its shrinking in population numbers. From 1920 onwards, diamond mining was only conducted further south of town in places like Pomona and Elizabeth Bay. This development consequently led to the loss of Lüderitz' importance as trade place. Only small fishing enterprises, minimal dock activity, and a few carpet weavers remained.[6]

In an effort to remove colonial names from the maps of Namibia, the Namibian government in 2013 renamed the constituency into ǃNamiǂNûs, the native speakers name before in 1884 the Germans called the place Lüderitz was Chanugaub.[7][8]

Geography[edit]

The harbour has a very shallow rock bottom, making it unusable for modern ships; this led to Walvis Bay becoming the centre of the Namibian shipping industry. Recently, however, the addition of a new quay has allowed larger fishing vessels to dock at Lüderitz. The town has also re-styled itself in an attempt to lure tourists to the area, which includes a new waterfront area for shops and offices.

In the bay lies Shark island, site of the concentration camp that was used in the Herero and Namaqua Genocide between 1904 and 1907.

Just outside of Lüderitz lies the ghost town of Kolmanskop, a prominent tourist destination. This previously bustling diamond town is now abandoned, and fights a constant struggle against being buried under the shifting sand dunes of the Namib desert.

Conservation[edit]

The coastline in the area is recognised by Bird Life and other global conservation groups as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) for important coastal seabird breeding.

Mercury Island, Ichaboe Island, Halifax Island and the Possession Islands support the entire Namibian breeding population of Cape Gannets Morus Capensis, 96% of the Namibian population of the endangered African Penguin Spheniscus Demersus, and nearly one quarter of the global breeding population of Crowned Cormorants Phalacrocorax coronatus.[9]

Approximately 80% of the global population of the endangered Bank Cormorant Phalacrocorax neglectus breeds on Mercury Island and in the Ichaboe Islands.

In April 2009, an oil spill from an oil tanker risked hundreds of African Penguins and other flora and fauna.

Several species of cetaceans, most notably Haviside's dolphins can be seen close to the shore.

Climate[edit]

Lüderitz has a mild desert climate (BWn, according to the Köppen climate classification), with pleasant temperatures throughout the year. The average annual precipitation is 23 mm (1 in).


Climate data for Lüderitz
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 23
(73)
22
(72)
22
(72)
21
(70)
20
(68)
19
(66)
19
(66)
18
(64)
18
(64)
19
(66)
20
(68)
22
(72)
20.3
(68.4)
Average low °C (°F) 14
(57)
14
(57)
14
(57)
13
(55)
11
(52)
11
(52)
10
(50)
10
(50)
10
(50)
11
(52)
12
(54)
13
(55)
11.9
(53.4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 2
(0.08)
2
(0.08)
4
(0.16)
3
(0.12)
2
(0.08)
3
(0.12)
2
(0.08)
2
(0.08)
1
(0.04)
1
(0.04)
0
(0)
1
(0.04)
23
(0.92)
Source: World Climate Guide.[10]

Sport[edit]

Lüderitz is home to the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, the only international sporting event held in the town. This is an annual month-long speed sailing event held in the last quarter of the year under the auspices of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).[11]

In 1984 Lüderitz was the starting point for explorer and sailor Amyr Klink's successful solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, rowing for 101 days all the way to the Brazilian coast with no other form of propulsion.[12]

In October of 2011, Turkish adventurer Erden Eruç left Lüderitz for the final ocean crossing of his solo human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth. Eruç rowed to South America in a 7.1 m (23.3 ft) by 1.9 m (6.2 ft) oceangoing plywood rowboat, taking five months for the crossing to the town of Güiria, Venezuela.[13][14]

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

Construction of a new port at Shearwater Bay, 30 km south of Lüderitz, has been proposed for the export of coal from Botswana with a 1600 km railway connecting the two.[15]

Lüderitz is the terminus of the 318 kilometres (198 mi) railway line to Seeheim where the railway connects to the rest of the country's network. This line was completed in 1908[16] but is currently not operational. Rebuilding of a remaining 47 kilometres (29 mi) track gap to Aus has been delayed since 2009.

Media[edit]

Lüderitz has a local monthly newspaper, Buchter News. The paper, which was started as a source of free English-language reading material, is run by volunteers from the British gap year charity Project Trust.

Landmarks[edit]

View of Felsenkirche and Lüderitz
  • Felsenkirche (English: Rock Church) on Diamond Hill, a church in vertical gothic style consecrated in 1912. After the diamond rush of 1908 and the completion of the railway line to Keetmanshoop Lüderitz became permanently home to a significant white population. As a result a number of churches were built. Felsenkirche, one of the oldest Lutheran churches in Namibia, is a national monument since 1978.[17]
  • Kreplinhaus, the residence of the first mayor, Emil Kreplin, built in 1909[5]
  • Krabbenhöft & Lampe building, contained the first formally registered business in South-West Africa, erected 1909[5]
  • Deutsche Afrika Bank building, erected 1907[5]
  • Lüderitz Railway Station, erected 1904[5]
  • Goerkehaus, the residence of Hans Goerke, manager and co-owner of the early diamond umbrella company, erected 1909-1911[5]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Respect the elderly: Lüderitz mayor The Namibian, 7 January 2011
  2. ^ "Table 4.2.2 Urban population by Census years (2001 and 2011)". Namibia 2011 - Population and Housing Census Main Report. Namibia Statistics Agency. p. 39. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  3. ^ City of Windhoek Cooperations and Partnerships
  4. ^ "Lüderitz renaming misunderstood – Shangala." Namibian Sun.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g von Schmettau, Konny (28 February 2013). "Lüderitzbucht: Gründer- und Diamantenstadt" [Lüderitzbucht: Town of Pioneers and Diamonds]. Allgemeine Zeitung (in German) (Tourismus Namibia monthly supplement). p. 6. 
  6. ^ a b "Unverwüstliche Felsenkirche zwischen Wüste und Meer" [Indestructible Rock Church between Desert and Ocean]. Gondwana History (in German) (supplement to various Namibian newspapers) (92). 
  7. ^ http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Namibia-renames-Caprivi-Strip-20130808
  8. ^ Nakale, Albertina (9 August 2013). "President divides Kavango into two". New Era. 
  9. ^ "Walk on our coastline". Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Project (NACOMA). Retrieved October 21, 2008. 
  10. ^ World Climate Guide
  11. ^ "World's best at Luderitz Speed Challenge | Sailing News". Seabreeze.com.au. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  12. ^ "O herói do Atlântico" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2008-10-11. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Media Kit -> Project Summary Document". Around-n-Over (PDF file linked from "http://www.around-n-over.org/media/mediakit.htm"). 22 Aug 2012. Retrieved 3 Mar 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Ocean Rowing Society - Erden Eruç, Atlantic South-East to North-West, Namibia to Venezuela". The Ocean Rowing Society. Retrieved 3 Mar 2014. 
  15. ^ http://railwaysafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2484
  16. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "The Development of the Namibian Railway Network. The Rail History Until the 1990s". www.klausdierks.com. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Bause, Tanja (21 May 2012). "Lüderitz church celebrates centenary". The Namibian.