History of Botswana


History of Botswana

The Batswana (plural of "Motswana"), a term also used to denote all citizens of Botswana, refers to the country's major ethnic group (called the "Tswana" in South Africa). Prior to European contact, the Batswana lived as herders and farmers under tribal rule.

pre-European contact

Sometime between 200-500 , Bantu speaking peoples, who originated in the Katanga area (today part of the DRC and Zambia), and had been expanding across sub-Saharan Africa, crossed the Limpopo River, entering the area today known as South Africa.

There were two broad waves of immigration to South Africa; Nguni and Sotho-Tswana. The former settled in the eastern coastal regions, while the latter settled primarily in the area known today as the Highveld — the large, relatively high central plateau of southern Africa.

By 1000 the Bantu colonization of most of South Africa had been completed, with the possible exception of what is now the Western Cape and the Northern Cape, which are believed to have been inhabited by Khoisan people until Dutch colonisation. The Bantu-speaking society was highly decentralized, organized on a basis of kraals (an enlarged clan), headed by a chief, who owed a very hazy allegiance to the nation's head chief.

19th century

In the late 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Shona inhabitants of Botswana and Ndebele tribes who were migrating into the territory from the Kalahari Desert. Tensions also escalated with the Boer settlers from the Transvaal. After appeals by the Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele for assistance, the British Government on March 31, 1885 put "Bechuanaland" under its protection. The northern territory remained under direct administration as the Bechuanaland Protectorate and is today's Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa; the majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South Africa. The Tati Concessions Land, formerly part of the Matabele kingdom, was administered from the Bechuanaland Protectorate after 1893, to which it was formally annexed in 1911.

20th century

When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 out of the main British colonies in the region, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Basutoland (now Lesotho), and Swaziland (the "High Commission Territories") were not included, but provision was made fortheir later incorporation. However, a vague undertaking was given to consult their inhabitants, and although successive South African governments sought to have the territories transferred, Britain kept delaying, and it never occurred. The election of theNational Party government in 1948, which instituted apartheid, and South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1961, ended any prospect of incorporation of the territories into South Africa.

An expansion of British central authority and the evolution of tribal government resulted in the 1920 establishment of two advisory councils representing Africans and Europeans. Proclamations in 1934 regularized tribal rule and powers. A European-African advisory council was formed in 1951, and the 1961 constitution established a consultative legislative council.

In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafikeng in South Africa, to newly established Gaborone in 1965. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence on September 30, 1966. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to the Ngwato chiefship, was elected as the first president, re-elected twice, and died in office in 1980. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Ketumile Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999and re-elected in 2004. In April 2008, Vice President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama (Ian Khama), son of Seretse Khama the first president, succeeded to the presidency when Festus Mogae retired.

ee also

*Postage stamps and postal history of Bechuanaland Protectorate

References

* Thomas Tlou & Alec Campbell, "History of Botswana" (Gaborone: Macmillan, 2nd edn. 1997) ISBN 0-333-36531-3

External links

* [http://www.thuto.org/ubh/bw/bhp1.htm Brief History of Botswana]
* [http://www.thuto.org/ubh/bw/botbib.htm Bibliography of Botswana History]
* [http://www.thuto.org/ubh University of Botswana History Department - various resources]
* [http://www.historyofnations.net/africa/botswana.html History of Botswana]


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