Carl Hahn was a pioneer German missionary in Namibia. Born in Riga, Latvia, Hahn was converted as a young man and in 1842 was sent to South-West Africa (Namibia) by the Rhenish Mission. As a pioneer missionary, strongly supported by his English wife, Emma (Hone), he studied the language and compiled the first Herero grammar. After almost 20 years of fruitless missionary effort, he developed a small missionary community of laypeople and African Christians, a so-called mission colony at Otjimbingue, where he also opened a theological seminary in 1868. He invited the Finnish Missionary Society to take up mission work among the Ambo tribes in northern Namibia. During his missionary career Hahn developed a more decidedly Lutheran orientation and laid the foundations for the establishment of a Lutheran church in Namibia. In 1873 he left the mission and became the pastor of a German Lutheran Congregation in Cape Town, where he died.
C. H. Hahn, Tagebücher, 1837-1860 (1895). Theo Sundermeier, Mission, Bekenntnis und Kirche. Missionstheologische Probleme des 19. Jh. Bei C. H. Hahn (1962).
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.