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Lesotho's Information

Flag of Lesotho
Land Area 30,355 km2
Total Area 30,355km2 (#137)
Population 1,953,070 (#149)
Population Density 64.34/km2
Government Type Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
GDP (PPP) $6.02 Billion
GDP Per Capita $3,100
Currency Loti (LSL)
More Information Lesotho
Largest Cities

Lesotho, officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a mountainous, landlocked country completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, that was first settled by Bantu speaking people who called themselves the Basotho.

During the 19th century, the Basothos fought a series of wars, under the ruling of Moshoeshoe, against Boer settlers from the Netherlands, resulting in an extensive loss of land.

By 1868, the land (known as Basutoland) was placed under British protection, and the Boers were ordered to leave. In 1869 a treaty between the Boers and British was signed defining boundaries between the two.

Unrest soon followed for the Basotho peoples, and they began fighting amongst themselves over the new land divisions.

The Boers inability to control their territory resulted in the British regaining authority in 1884, and when the Union of South Africa was founded in 1910 Britain moved to transfer Basutoland into the new Union - much to the opposition of the people.

The annexation was suspended, and in 1959 the new constitution allowed Basutoland its first elected legislature. On October 4, 1966, Basutoland attained full independence, and was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The Basotho National Party ruled until 1970, then a "de facto" government ruled until 1986 when a military coup forced the leader, Dr. Leabua Jonathan, out of office.

Executive powers were then granted to the ceremonial monarch, King Moshoeshoe II. However, in 1987, the King was exiled after he prepared a document indicating how he wanted additional executive powers. His son, Letsie III, became King.

In 1993, democratic government returned and Moshoeshoe II returned from exile as a regular citizen.

In 1994, King Letsie III entered into negotiations to reinstate his father as the head of state. Letsie III abdicated the throne in favor of his father in 1995, but in January 1996, assumed the throne again after Moshoeshoe II died in an automobile accident.

In 1998 the electoral structure of the country was reviewed, and the result was a brand new electoral system, one that ensured that the opposition would be represented in the National Assembly.

Successful elections were held under this new system in May 2002.

Lesotho now has a parliamentary form of government, with the Prime Minister as head and with executive authority. The king no longer possesses any executive authority, and is prohibited from participating in political initiatives and serves primarily in a ceremonial capacity.

Lesotho's main economy is based on the exportation of diamonds along with water sold to South Africa. Regardless, nearly 40% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.

Lesotho Trivia

What Languages Are Spoken In Lesotho?

English and Sesotho are the official languages of Lesotho. Sesotho is also the country’s national language. It is a Southern Bantu language that is spoken as a first language by over 90% of Lesotho’s population. Zulu, Phuthi, and Xhosa are some of the other languages spoken by small sections of the country’s population. Afrikaans is spoken by a section of immigrants in Lesotho.

Languages Of Lesotho

What is the Currency of Lesotho?

The official currency of Lesotho is the Lesotho loti.

What is the Currency of Lesotho?

What is the biggest city in Lesotho?

Maseru is the largest city in Lesotho and the capital of the country. The city has more than 200,000 people.

Biggest Cities In Lesotho

What Kind of Government Does Lesotho Have?

Lesotho is a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy.

What Type Of Government Does Lesotho Have?

What is the Capital of Lesotho?

Maseru is the capital city of Lesotho, a country in southern part of the African continent.

What Is the Capital of Lesotho?

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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