Revisiting the Economics of German Overseas Imperialism, 1884-1918

In the early 1900s, Germans discovered the richest diamond fields in history in the Protectorate of German Southwest Africa. Namibian diamonds quickly proved more than baubles. These tiny stones made an overlooked impact on the German colonial economy and even on German domestic politics. In addition, Namibian diamonds intersected with what has become a major topic of study: Germany’s genocidal campaign against the Nama and Herero peoples.


Steven Press is an Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. He received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Recently, Steven has worked on two book projects: the first, ”Rogue Empires: Contracts and Conmen in Europe’s Scramble for Africa”, appeared with Harvard University Press in 2017. The second book, “Blood and Diamonds: Germany’s Imperial Illusions”, is forthcoming in early 2021 with Harvard University Press.


This event is sponsored by the Institute of European Studies, the Department of History, the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington, and the Center for German and European Studies.

For more information please email