This volume reproduces, with minor changes, a set of previously published papers on the history of the origins, formation and evolution of the contract labour system in Namibia from first commercial contact with industrial capitalism in the 1840s through to the onset of final collapse in the early 1970s. The main aim of republication under one cover is to make this work undertaken during 1974-76 and appearing first in the late 1970s, more easily accesible, especially to Namibian readers. The content and referencing of the papers has not been updated but the presentation has been improved and parts of the text integrated where appropriate.