Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


Cimbebasia was the name given for a long time to the western part of Southern Africa. Originally it was included in the immense vicariate made up of Senegambia and French and Portuguese Guinea which had been erected in 1842 and of which Bishop Barron was appointed first vicar Apostolic. The Congregation of Propaganda separated Cimbebasia (3 July, 1879) from this vicariate and made of it a prefecture Apostolic. The Congregation of the Holy Ghost was placed in charge of the new field, and Father Duparquet of the same congregation was appointed first prefect Apostolic. The new mission was, however, still very large, being made up of three distinct regions: the northern part, which included the territory of the Amboella and Gangela and was under the influence of Portugal ; the southern part, composed of Ovamboland and Damaraland, now under the control of Germany ; and Bechuanaland. After having tried to found stations in all these different territories, the missionaries decided to concentrate their efforts on the northern part of the prefecture. The superior general of the congregation, therefore, requested the Holy See to confide to other institutes the remaining sections of the vicariate. Consequently, Propaganda placed the northern part of the vicariate, under the name of the Prefecture of Upper Cimbebasia, in charge of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost (1 August, 1892), while the German territory was called the Prefecture of Lower Cimbebasia, and given to the Oblate Fathers of Mary. Bechuanaland was then united to the vicariate of the Orange Free State. The Prefecture of Upper Cimbebasia is bounded on the north by the Kassai River, on the east by the 22d degree of longitude east of Greenwich, on the west by the upper course of the Kunene, and on the south by the degree of latitude determined by the lower course of the Kunene. This degree of latitude also forms the boundary line between the Portuguese and German possessions in Southern Africa. Under the direction of the prefect Apostolic, 20 priests and 8 Brothers of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost labour for the evangelization of this territory. They are aided by 40 catechists and 5 Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph of Cluny. There are 7 stations: Kakonda, Bailundo, Bihe, Katoko, Kassengue, Massaka, and Kuniama; 28 flourishing schools contain 1600 boys and 1100 girls, of whom 374 boys and 123 girls have their home at the schools. The Catholic population numbers about 10,200, of whom 9000 are natives. During 1903 and 1904 there were 806 children and 491 adults baptized.


Bounded on the north by the degree of latitude determined by the lower course of the Kunene River; on the east by the 22d degree of longitude east of Greenwich; on the south by the 23d degree of south latitude, in such manner that the town of Rehoboth is included in the Vicariate Apostolic of the former Orange Free State, now the Orange River Colony; on the west by the Atlantic. The region is under the control of Germany. The prefecture was erected by a decree of Propaganda of 1 August, 1892, which divided the earlier prefecture of Cimbebasia. The Oblate Fathers of the Immaculate Mary have charge of the mission under the prefect Apostolic, who resides at Windhoek, the principal station. The other mission stations are: Little Windhoek, Nobra, Swakopmund, Usakos, Aminuis, Tpukiro, Omaruru, Okumbabe. The Catholics number about 1000, some 800 being Europeans. The labourers in the evangelization of this field are: 20 priests, 17 brothers, and 11 Missionary Sisters of St. Francis. There are 11 schools with 500 pupils, and 2 orphanages with 108 orphans.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2016 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his ... Read More