In 1488, Portuguese explorer Bartholomeus Diaz discovered a sheltered harbour; he called it Angra Pequeña “Little Bay”, known today as Lüderitz or by its German name, Lüderitzbucht. In 1883, Heinrich Vogelsang, an agent of the German trader Adolf Lüderitz, bought the bay of Angra Pequeña together with the land within a radius of 8km around it from Chief Joseph Fredericks, the leader of the Bethanie Nama people.
The local economy boomed after the discovery of diamonds, 10 km southeast of Lüderitz in 1907. Today, over a hundred (100) years later, the town is a fair sized settlement characterised by its distinctive German colonial buildings. The Port of Lüderitz was taken over by Namport from Trans Namib Harbours on 1 April 1995. Namport has since invested in major developments of the harbour to handle larger vessels and more traffic.
Anglo American’s investment in the town has additionally expanded the business environment through the development of the Skorpion Zinc Mine in nearby Rosh Pinah. Another major development is the Lüderitz Waterfront, which contributes to tourism in the area.
Traditionally, Lüderitz has been a fishing Port, serving the needs of the Namibian fishing industry at a national level. More recently, the Port started catering for the needs of the offshore diamond industry. Today, thanks to a range of modern industries that have sprung up in southern Namibia, Lüderitz has the potential to serve as an important gateway and logistics base for various mineral operations as well as the petroleum industry.