A Concise History of Botswana

How well do you know Africa? How well do you know your country? How many countries do you know in Africa. Well you could start by going through the history of Botswana.

Official Language: English and Setswana.

Capital and largest city: Gaborone.

It was believed that Homosapiens were the first to inhabit the country over 200,000 years ago. Botswana means “Land of the Tswana” . It shares country border with south Africa to the South and Southeast, Namibia to the west and North, and Zimbabwe to the northeast.

Tswana which it was formerly called descended mainly from Bantu- speaking tribes who moved southward of Africa to new Botswana around 600AD living as farmers and herders. Botswana was colonized by the British government in the year 1885 under the name Bechuanaland. Bechuanaland became an independent common wealth republic on 30 September 1966.

In June 1964, The British government accepted proposals for a democratic self government in Botswana. The power was moved in 1965 from Mahikens in South Africa to the Gaborone which is located near Botswana border with south Africa. In 1890, areas north of 22 degrees were added to the new Bechuanaland protectorate. During the early 1890s, The British government decided to hand over the Bechuanaland protectorate to the British south Africa company, but was foiled by the failure of the Jameson Raid in January 1896.

Seretse Khama, A leader in the Independence movement and legitimate ruler to Ngwato chiefship, was elected as the first president and reelected twice.

With a total mass area of 581,730km²(224,610sq mi), Botswana faces two major environmental problems, Desertification and Drought. Three-quarters of the country’s human and animal populations depend on ground water due to Drought. 71% of the country’s land is used for communal grazing, which has been a major cause of the Desertification and the increasing soil erosion of the country.

There is an increase number of people living in Botswana. In the year 1971, The total population was at 574,000 but at 1995, It increased to 1.5 million in a space of 24 years and over the years, it has been on the rise. Botswana is the world’s 48th largest country. A flat country that is dominated by the Kalahari Desert which holds up to 70% of its land surface.

A major river called Limpopo lies in the southern Africa, it lies partly in Botswana with the basins of its tributaries, The Notwane, Mahalapye, Lotsane, Motloutse , Bonwapitse and The Shashe located in the Eastern part of the country. The Notwane gives water to the capital Through the Gaborone Dam.

When it comes to wildlife habitat, Botswana has a large mass and well diverse areas in addition to the desert areas, There are grasslands and savannas. The Chobe National Park, has the world’s largest concentration of African elephants. The park has about 11,000km²(4,247Sq mi) with about 350 species of birds. Also, Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African wild dog.

The Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve are major tourist destinations. The Chobe River meets with the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning a small sausage tree. A point where Sebitwane and his Makolo tribe crossed the Zambezi into Zambia).

The Lion Park Resort is Botswana’s first permanent amusement park. Botswana can boast of many museum. Some are Botswana National Museum in Gaborone, Kgosi Sechele I Museum in Molepolole and khama III memorial museum in Serowe.

The country had a 2018 forest Landscape integrity index mean score of 9.13/10, ranking it 8th globally out of 172 countries.

Khama III ( reigned 1875-1923) was the first of the Tswana chiefs to make Christianity a state religion and changed a great deal of Tswana customary law as a result. Christianity became the de facto official religion by world war I. Other practice are Protestantism 66%, No Religion 20% , 6% Traditional Faiths. Botswana is still considered as a religious country.

The economy is dominated by mining, cattle and tourism. Formerly one of the world’s poorest countries – with a GDP per capital of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s– Botswana has since transformed itself into an upper middle income country with one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

In 2014, Botswana has the third highest prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS, with roughly 20% of the population infected.

Botswana’s Orapa mine is the largest diamond mine in the world in terms of value and quantity of carats produced annually.

The country is a member of African Union, The Southern African Development Community, The Commonwealth of Nations and The United Nations.

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