Von François, Curt Carl Bruno
* 02.10.1852 in Luxembourg
+ 28.12.1931 at Zernsdorf near Berlin, Germany
First entry to Namibia: 24.06.1889
Curt Carl Bruno von François was born on 02.10.1852 in Luxembourg. He was trained as an officer in the Prussian Army, also as geographer and cartographer.

He was the second son of a Prussian officer, Bruno von François and a descendant of a French Huguenot family which fled to Prussia during the oppression of the Huguenots in France during the 17th and 18th century. He fought in the German-French war 1870/71.

e joined the Belgian Kassai expedition led by Hermann von Wissmann in 1883 as a geographer and travelled extensively in the Congo area. He returned to Germany in 1886. He was made Captain and became a member of the German Imperial General Staff in 1887. He was sent by the German Foreign Office to Togo in 1887.

e arrived in Walvis Bay on 24.06.1889 with 21 troops, the nucleus of the Schutztruppe in German SWA. Here he found Heinrich Göring, the territorial commissioner, who had been driven from Okahandja by the Ovaherero Chief Maharero. Against von Göring's advice he immediately established himself in Otjimbingwe to deal with the opponents of German authority in the interior.

Von François occupied first Tsaobis, then Heusis and then Windhoek, and started to construct a fort there in October 1890. This earned him the title "Founder of Windhoek" in colonial historiography (although Windhoek as a permanent settlement was established some 50 years earlier by Jonker Afrikaner). He travelled extensively in Namibia and also into Botswana. When Göring left, Von François was appointed Acting Imperial Commissioner. The administration moved from Otjimbingwe to Windhoek on 07.12.1891.

In 1893 he was promoted to Major and given the title of "Landeshauptmann" of German South West Africa. In 1893, he started the first German War on Namibians by his unprovoked attack on Hendrik Witbooi's headquarters at Hoornkrans. Henrik Witbooi had refused three times to conclude a protection treaty with the Germans and he became subsequently Von François' main enemy.

Von François proved unable to counter Witbooi's tactic skills, so that Berlin sent Theodor Leutwein to replace him in 1894, after which he left Namibia and retired from military service in 1895. He lived at Zernsdorf near Berlin, writing extensively for the rest of his life. He died on 28.12.1931 at Zernsdorf. He was married to Margret Francois, née Meyer in 1897.

Gender: m
Field of activity: MIL
Profession: Military officer

Married to: Margret Francois, née Meyer, married 1897-

1). Bundesarchiv Koblenz: Kleine Erhebungen 532 (Diary)
RAW DATA: Lau 1995:250; Hintrager 1955:32; Deutsche Kolonialpolitik in Dokumenten / hrsg. E.G. Jacob, Leipzig 1938: 320; Hubatsch gives his death date as 30.12.1931 Königswusterhausen; Deutsches Koloniallexikon; SA military who's who; Deutsches Koloniallexikon; Bülow 1896:52; Drechsler 1966: passim; DSAB I:853-855