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Curt (Karl Bruno) von François
Curt (Karl Bruno) von François (October 2, 1852 - December 28, 1931) was a military and political figure in the early days of German colonialism in Africa. He is remembered as one of the pioneers of German Southwest Africa (present-day Namibiamarker).

François was of French Huguenot ancestry, and was born in Luxembourgmarker on October 2, 1852. He was a soldier in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and in 1883 worked as a geographer on an exploratory expedition of the Congo region under the leadership of Hermann von Wissmann (1853-1905). Later he became a member of the German Imperial General Staff, and in 1887 was stationed in Togoland.

In 1883, the German merchant Adolf Lüderitz purchased Angra Pequenamarker following negotiations with a local African chief. He called this coastal region of southwestern African "Lüderitzmarker". Fearing that Great Britain was soon to declare the area a protectorate, Lüderitz advised the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck to claim it, which he did at the Berlin Conference of 1884.

In order to provide security to the territory, in 1889 Germany sent Hauptmann von François to the British-held enclave of Walvis Baymarker. From there François and a handful of men trekked to the completely destroyed village of Windhoekmarker in the interior of the territory, which was earlier founded by Jonker Afrikaner. At Windhoek, François set up headquarters of the German occupation (which he called Alte Festemarker (Old Fortress). This location was chosen because the Germans felt it would serve as a buffer zone between the Nama and Herero tribes.

From March 1891 until March 1894, François was commissioner of German Southwest Africa. During this time (1892) he established the coastal town of Swakopmundmarker as the main harbour of the colony. In 1893-94 he was involved in a series of battles with the Nama tribe led by Hendrik Witbooi. François was replaced by Theodor Leutwein as commissioner of German Southwest Africa in 1894. He died in Zernsdorfmarker, Germany on December 28, 1931.

The original Schutztruppe headquarters built by François in 1890 at Windhoek was expanded in 1912, and has been a museum since 1962.

His brother, Hermann von François, also served in the German army and was one of the key contributors to the German victory at the Battle of Tannenbergmarker.

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