German South West Africa

From 1884 to 1915, German South West Africa (now Namibia) was a German colony. The territory covered an area of 835,100 square kilometers and had a population of about 2,600 Germans. Native Africans rebelled against German rule, leading to the Herero and Namaqua genocide from 1904 to 1908.

In 1915, South African and British forces invaded German South West Africa during World War I. After the war, the Union of South Africa took over the administration of the territory under a League of Nations mandate.  

In 1885, the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft fur Sudwest-Afrika (DKGSWA) was formed. It was supported by German financiers, industrialists, and politicians. The society was granted exclusive rights to exploit mineral deposits in the region, in accordance with Bismarck's preference for private investment in colonial development. DKGSWA quickly acquired the land, mineral, and business assets of Lüderitz, who died the following year. The discovery of diamonds in 1908 added to the region's value, which already included gold, copper, and platinum. DKGSWA's monopoly was eventually challenged, but its activities had established a foundation for Germany's colonial rule in Southwest Africa. 

German South West Africa used the British Pound Sterling as its main currency from 1884 to 1901, until the German South West African Mark was introduced in 1885. A fixed exchange rate of 1 pound for every 20 marks was established in 1893. However, the gold content of the Mark was lower than that of the Pound Sterling, which led to the Mark replacing the Pound Sterling. In 1901, the German Mark became the official currency of German South West Africa, and the German South West African Mark was demonetized. During World War I, cash-coupon banknotes were produced until the pound replaced the Mark in 1915. The Windhoek Chamber of Commerce also issued vouchers denominated in Pfennig and Mark from 1916 to 1918.