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The first European descendant to take up permanent residence in Namibia is believed to have been Guilliam Visagie, who, with his wife, had settled at a place called Modderfontein, today known as Keetmanshoop.

A number of explorers, ivory and big game hunters, traveled up from the Cape in South Africa and the first missionaries, Abraham and Christian Albrecht, arrived at Warmbad in 1806. As more and more information about the country reached the outside world, the numbers of adventurers, prospectors, traders and explorers increased. When conflict broke out between the Herero and the Nama, soldiers and administrative personnel were brought into the country.

Boers from South Africa, some getting away from the Anglo-Boer war in 1899-1902, came into the country. At the end of the Herero wars many of the German soldiers decided to stay in South West Africa. Diamonds were discovered and more Europeans arrived. After the first World War, new settlers bought farms and various other properties and the number of European residents grew steadily.

The granting to South Africa of a mandate over South West Africa brought in administrative personnel, policemen, railway-men and entrepreneurs who set up businesses. Mining, fishing, farming and light to medium industrial activities mushroomed, bringing in engineers, scientists, teachers, architects, agronomists, surveyors, doctors, nurses and many others, the majority of whom were of European descent.

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