Namibia finally achieved independence on 21 March, 1990, after a long struggle and many false hopes and setbacks. In a nutshell: the territory was colonized by Germany. It was seized by South African forces during the First World War, and then made the subject of a League of Nations Mandate, administered by South Africa, after the war. Following the Second World War, South Africa tried to incorporate the territory, a move resisted by the United Nations. In 1966 the International Court of Justice denied standing to Ethiopia and Liberia to allege breaches of the mandate. However, shortly thereafter the UN voted to terminate the mandate. At about the same time the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) launched its armed struggle. South Africa's response to these developments was to implement plans for the closer integration of the territory into the South African state, and into the system of apartheid. As a result, a system of native authorities, based on ethnicity, was introduced.
In 1975 the “Turnhalle” talks were started which, although rejected by most of the black groups, led to the establishment of a constituent Assembly. During the same period, a “Contract Group” of Western Nations began to negotiate with South Africa over a settlement for Namibia. The ultimate proposals were accepted by the UN, SWAPO and South Africa, and the plans were recognized by UN Resolution 435. But immediately thereafter problems began to arise, and talks about implementation stopped and started for a number of years.