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Heinrich Ernst Göring (October 31, 1839 – December 7, 1913) was a German jurist and diplomat who served as colonial governor of German South-West Africa. He was also the father of Hermann Göring, the Nazi leader and commander of the Luftwaffe.

Göring was born in Emmerich in the Rhine Province. He was the son of Wilhelm Göring (1791-1874), and his wife Caroline Maria de Neree (1815-1886), daughter of Everhard de Neree (1772-1820) and his wife Clementine Freiin von Locquenghien (1775-1861) who was descended from, among others, the Grafen von Metternich and the then Freiherren von Schönborn.

German South-West Africa

During his life, Göring demonstrated considerable abilities in academia, the military, the colonial administration, and diplomacy. After graduating with a law degree from Bonn University, he became a professional soldier and, as a cavalry officer, served in the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Göring made a prominent contribution to the creation of the German colonial empire in Africa. A personal friend of Otto von Bismarck, in October 1885 Göring was sent to South West Africa as Reichskommissar. His mission was to negotiate treaties of protection with local rulers. African rulers accepting German protection through treaties fulfilled a condition that the European Great Powers had agreed was a necessary prerequisite for the establishment of a protectorate over African territories.

He made an agreement with Maharero, the Herero leader, and established his headquarters at Okahandja, Maharero's capital. Some Nama tribes also made protection treaties, but those led by Hendrik Witbooi refused to do so.

Göring then returned to Germany to report on his progress. On his return to South-West Africa in 1888, accompanied by the nucleus of a military force in the form of seven officers, he found that Maharero had repudiated the treaty he had signed. Maharero ordered Göring to leave Damaraland immediately and Göring was forced to retreat to the British enclave of Walvis Bay. He left Africa in 1890 and later served as German consul to Haiti.


  • Gewald, Jan-Bart (1999). Herero heroes: a socio-political history of the Herero of Namibia 1890-1923. Oxford: James Currey. ISBN 0-85255-749-3.  


Wellington, John H. (1967). South West Africa and its human issues. London: Oxford University Press.  



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