The political geography of an exclave: Walvis Bay

Barnard W.S. (1987)

In contrast to the insignificance of most European exclaves, the present South African exclave of Walvis Bay has an area of 1124 km2, supports a population of 16 652 people (1985 census) and is economically and strategically important for both the power in possession and the host country, Namibia. Annexed in 1878 as an outlier of the British Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, Walvis Bay became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910 but was transferred to Namibia (then South West Africa) in 1922 as "a matter of administrative expediency'. A return to the status quo ante in 1977 stirred controversy at the inter-national level and required painful readjustment at regional and local levels. The paper discusses the background for and mechanisms by which these changes were effected and looks into three possible outcomes as Namibia settles into independence. -Author

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