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The Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a landlocked nation in Southern Africa. Citizens of Botswana are Batswana (singular: Motswana), regardless of ethnicity. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west, Zambia to the north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. The economy, closely tied to South Africa's, is dominated by mining (especially diamonds), tourism, and cattle.

History

  • Main article: History of Botswana
  • In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Tswana 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 31 March 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.
  • 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 for their 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 the National 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 30 September 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, Quett 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 1999 and re-elected in 2004. The next president is Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama from 2008 and ahead of the elections in 2009. He is the son of the first president of Botswana and he is also the former leader of the Botswana army (BDF).

    • Main article: Geography of Botswana
    • Summary

    Botswana is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland. The Kalahari Desert is located in the southwest of the country. The Limpopo River Basin is the major landform of all of southern Africa, including Botswana.

    More detail

    At 231,788 ²mi (600,370 km²), Botswana is the world's 45th-largest country (after Ukraine). It is comparable in size to Madagascar, and is slightly smaller than the state of Texas in the Southern United States.

    Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of the land surface of the country. The Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan lies in the north.

    Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat, including the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert, grasslands and savannas, the latter where Blue Wildebeest and many antelopes as well as other mammals and birds are found. Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African Wild Dog.

    Research from the University of Botswana has found that the common practice of overstocking cattle to cope with drought losses actually depletes scarce biomass, making ecosystems more vulnerable. The study of the Kgatleng district of Botswana predicts that by 2050 the cycle of mild drought is likely to become shorter for the region—18 months instead of two years—due to climate change.

    Politics and government

    • Main article: Politics of Botswana
  • The politics of Botswana takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. Since independence the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
  •  

    Defence

    • Main article: Botswana Defence Force
  • At the time of independence Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after attacks from the Rhodesian and South African armies that Botswana formed a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in self-defence in 1977. The president is commander in chief and a defence council is appointed by the president. The BDF now has approximately 12,000 members.
  • The BDF is a capable and well-disciplined military force. Following political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF's missions have increasingly focused on anti-poaching activities, disaster-preparedness, and foreign peacekeeping. The United States has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDF, and a large segment of its officer corps has received U.S. training. It is considered an apolitical and professional institution.

     

    Foreign relations

    • Main article: Foreign relations of Botswana
  • Botswana puts a premium on economic and political integration in Southern Africa. It seeks to make SADC a working vehicle for economic development, and promotes efforts to make the region self-policing in terms of preventative diplomacy, conflict resolution, and good governance. It has welcomed post-apartheid South Africa as a partner in these efforts. Botswana joins the African consensus on most major international matters and is a member of international organisations such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the African Union (AU). Botswana is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the U.S. military (as covered under Article 98).
  • The northern boundary between the Caprivi Strip of Namibia and Botswana was the subject of an International Court of Justice dispute over Kasikili or Sedudu island in the Chobe River, which arose over the imprecise description of the border as the thalweg of the Chobe River, defined by Germany and Britain in the Helgoland-Zanzibar Treaty.

    Districts and sub-districts

     

    Districts of Botswana

    • Main articles: Districts of Botswana and Sub-districts of Botswana
  • Botswana is divided into nine districts:
  •  

    1. Central
    2. Ghanzi
    3. Kgalagadi
    4. Kgatleng
    5. Kweneng

     

    6. North-East
    7. North-West
    8. South-East
    9. Southern

     

    These districts are subdivided into a total twenty-eight subdistricts.

    Main population centres (in descending order)

    Cities

    • · Gaborone
    • · Francistown
  • Towns and villages
  •  

    · Molepolole

    · Selebi-Phikwe

    · Maun

    · Gumare

     

    ·Serowe

    · Kanye

    · Mahalapye

     

    · Mochudi

    · Mogoditshane

    · Gabane

    · Lobatse

     

    · Palapye

    · Tlokweng

    · Ramotswa

     

    · Thamaga

    · Moshupa

    · Tonota

     

    · Bobonong

    · Orapa

    · Jwaneng

     

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