White-ruled South Africa claimed possession of the territory now known as Namibia in 1920, after occupying the land, beginning in 1915, during World War I. Before South Africa entered, Namibia was known as the German colony of South-West Africa. After several rounds of tense negotiations, South Africa agreed to give up Namibia in 1988.
In 1989, elections were held and Namibia elected its first president. On March 20, 1990, Namibia held its official independence ceremony and was recognized as a sovereign nation.