Botswana History and Politics

Botswana History

The early days in Botswana

People settled in what is now Botswana as early as 200,000 years ago. We know that based on findings. These include, for example, rock paintings in the Tsodilo Hills.

As in many other countries in southern Africa, the San tribe lived in Botswana. They were Bushmen who roamed the country as hunters. Other ethnic groups like the Khoikhoi were already partly settled.

Botswana translates as “Land of the Tswana”. These Tswana (also called Batswana) belong to the Bantu peoples. The name “Botswana” is derived from them. These Bantu peoples migrated around 3000 BC. From West Africa to the south of the continent, probably because the desert was spreading in their homeland. Around 190 they reached what is now Botswana.

In the period that followed, several kings ruled over small empires in Botswana. Around 650, the Toutswe Empire came into being, which ruled the area until 1300. Then the Mapungubwe Empire became powerful. Other ethnic groups such as the Basotho immigrated.

The conflict between Boers and British in Botswana

In the middle of the 19th century, the conflict between the Dutch Boers and the British in southern Africa made itself felt. The Boers moved further north from South Africa in search of new settlement areas. So they came to Botswana to claim land there. So the Botswana rulers asked the British for help against the Boers’ advance. Therefore, Great Britain concluded protection treaties with the various rulers of Botswana.

A little later, Botswana became the crown colony of British Bechuanaland. In 1895 parts of the country, namely the area south of the Molopo River, came to the British Cape Colony, while the area in the north remained under British protectorate.

Botswana on the way to self-employment

In the first half of the last century, a movement developed that wanted to break away from the British and plan an independent nation. In 1960 two parties were founded: the Bechuanaland People’s Party (BPP) and shortly afterwards the Bechuanaland Democratic Party (BDP).

Since 1961, Bechuanaland was allowed to administer itself internally and in 1965 there were the first free elections to a national assembly. Here the BDP won with the most votes. The first president also became the party leader of the BDP named Seretse Khama. A parliamentary republic came into being.

The economy in Botswana is growing

In the 70s of the last century, the country was able to grow economically due to the diamond and coal discoveries. The dependency on South Africa continued, although the pula had been introduced in 1976, its own currency. In 1980 the old president died and Quett Ketumile Joni Masire (BDP) became the new head of state of Botswana.

As a country located in Africa according to topb2bwebsites, Botswana is one of the founders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), together with Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Tanzania. These states planned to work together more closely, especially in the economic field, and to forego customs duties. Despite its independence, the British system of government was largely taken over and Botswana has developed further as a democracy, very different from many African states that are not democracies.

House of the Chiefs

But old traditions live on in Botswana too. There is a house of chiefs, called the House of Chiefs, in which 27 representatives of different peoples meet. They also advise the national parliament. The chiefs have an important function, especially in rural areas, and are also active here as judges.

Despite the diamond discoveries, the country fared poorly in the 1990s as a severe drought caused livestock in particular to shrink. And Botswana previously exported a lot of meat. This threatened the economy, but the country remained politically stable and was able to recover.

Mokgweetsi Masisi has been President of Botswana since April 1, 2018. Previously he was Minister and Vice President.

Botswana History