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LESOTHO HISTORY
The Kingdom In The Sky
Beautiful, culturally rich, safe, affordable and easily accessible from Durban and
Johannesburg, mountainous Lesotho is vastly underrated travel destination.
This is essentially an alpine country, where villagers on horseback in multicolored
balaclavas and blankets greet you round precipitous bends. The hiking and trekking-
often on famed Basotho pony-is world class and the infrastructure of the three stunning
national parks continues to improve. An astonishingly beautiful country, this ‘Mountain
Kingdom’ needs to be seen to be believed. Beautiful, culturally rich, safe, affordable
and easily accessible from Durban and Johannesburg, mountainous Lesotho is vastly
underrated travel destination.
This is essentially an alpine country, where villagers on horseback in multicolored
balaclavas and blankets greet you round precipitous bends. The hiking and trekking-
often on famed Basotho pony-is world class and the infrastructure of the three stunning
national parks continues to improve. An astonishingly beautiful country, this ‘Mountain
Kingdom’ needs to be seen to be believed.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Lesotho was originally inhabited by local tribes of hunter-gatherers
called the Khoisan. Later came the Bantu tribes and eventually the
Sotho-Tswana peoples. In 1822 King Moshoeshoe 1 united the land
under one rule for the first time. Lesotho (formerly Basutoland) was
constituted as a native state under British protection by treaty signed
with the native chief Moshoeshoe in 1843.
It was annexed to Cape Colony in 1871, but in 1884 it was restored
to direct control by the Crown. The colony of Basutoland became the
independent nation of Lesotho on October 4th, 1966, with King
Moshoeshoe 11 as sovereign. For the first 20 years the Basotho
National Party remained in power. The country has since had
changes in power and leaders with some prostests and some unrest.
BASUTOLAND (1871-1966)
o Attempts by the Cape Colony administration to disarm the Sotho led to
the Gun War (1880-81). The Cape Colony relinquished Basutoland to
British rule in 1884, when it became one of the British High
Commission Territories in Southern Africa; Swaziland and
Bechuanaland (now Botswana) were the other two. At the end the 19th
century, mineral discoveries were made; their enormous potential laid
the foundation for the creation of the Union of South Africa (1910).
o In order to acquire cheap labour and to end competition from
independent African agricultural producers, landowners and miners
encouraged the adoption of policies that deprived the indigenous
population of its social and political rights and most of its land. Sotho
farmers took advantage of the markets for foodstuffs in the growing
South African mining centres, however.
o They utilized new farming techniques to produce substantial surpluses
of grain, which they sold on the South African markets. Sotho workers
also travelled to the mines to sell their labour for cash and firearms.
 Lesotho’s history in the 20th century was dominated by an increasing
dependence on labour migration to South Africa, which was made
necessary by taxation, population growth behind a closed border, the
depletion of the soil, and the need for resources to supplement
agricultural sector.
 Ethnic groups the Basotho form the overwhelming majority of the
country’s population. They were originally united by a common
loyalty to the royal house of Moshoeshoe 1, who founded the
Basotho nation in the 19th century.
 Internally, divisions between different chiefdoms-and within the royal
lineage itself-have had political significance, but externally a sense of
Basotho nationhood and cultural unity remains strong.
 Lesotho is also home to a Zulu minority, a small population of Asian
or mixed ancestry, and a European community that is dominated by
expatriate teachers, missionaries, aid works, technicians, and
development advisers.
 LANGUAGES
 Except for English, all the main languages spoken in Lesotho are
members of the Niger-Congo language family. Sesotho, a Bantu
language, is spoken by the majority of the population, though both
Sesotho and English are official languages in the country. Zulu is
spoken by a small but significant minority. Phuthi, a dialect of Swati,
and Xhosa are also spoken in parts of Lesotho.
 RELIGION OF LESOTHO
 Some four-fifths of the population profess Christianity, of which the
largest denominations include Lesotho Evangelical, and Anglican.
Independent churches are also present, together with Zionist sects
(small African sects that blend Pentecostal Christianity and
indigenous ritual belief). Other religions-including Islam, Hinduism,
and Buddhism-are practiced by small percentages of the population,
as are traditional religions. Some adherents of Christianity also
embrace traditional religious beliefs.
SETTLEMENT PATTERNS
 The population density of Lesotho is highly for an African state,
despite the thinly settled areas of mountainous terrain. A large
proportion of the population lives in the western lowlands, which have
a much higher population density than the rest of the country as a
whole: almost three-fourths of the population lives in the narrow
corridor, only 25 miles (40 km) in width, that stretches along the
Caledon River. Although not permanently inhabited, the mountain
grasslands on the slopes of the high plateau and in the valleys
provide summer grazing for sheep and cattle, tended by herders in
isolated cattle posts. Some of the deep valleys, such as the
Senqunyane, produce crops of wheat, peas, and beans.
 TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATION
 Since independence, access to the more remote villages has been
made easier by construction of hard-top roads in the lowlands, by
the opening of good-quality gravel roads to the highlands, and by
the availability of four-wheel-drive vehicles and aircraft that provide
domestic flights. However, the small, sturdy Basotho pony is still
widely used in the rural areas, along with donkeys and oxen. A main
road runs along the western and southern boundary, and a
mountain road from Maseru reaches into the interior. These two
main arteries are served by short –distance feeder roads, while
villages in the mountains are served by bridle paths. Railways are
nonexistent, except for a short line that links the capital to the
Southen African rail network.
 In the early 21st century the number of telephone landlines in the
country had more than doubled since 1990s, but mobile phone
usage had grown far more rapidly and surpassed the use of
landlines. Internet access has been available since 1998 and is
growing in popularity.
 HOUSING
 The capital, Maseru, consists of modern city center surrounded by suburbs
for the large bureaucracy and for foreign aid and development personnel;
shacks and informal settlements dot the perimeter. In the rural villages the
walls and doors of many houses are covered with colourful painted
designs. The villages themselves consist of clusters of circular or
rectangular one-room houses solidly built of turf, Kimberly brick, or dressed
stone. Traditionally, the roofs were thatched, but more-modern roofs are
made of corrugated iron, as they are in many other parts of sub-Saharan
Africa.
 The house of the chief, or headman, is usually in the center of the village,
protected by that of his principal wife and surrounded by those od his other
wives.
 The lekhotla (open court) is in front of the chief’s house; beside is are
kraals (enclosures) for the cattle and staples for horses.
CONCLUTION
Lesotho, also known the Kingdom of Lesotho, has a rich and complex history. It is a
landlocked country located in Southern Africa and is one of the few countries on the
continent that has never been colonized. Lesotho was established as a kingdom in the
early 19th century by King Moshoeshoe 1, who successfully united various Sotho-
speaking groups against invading Zulu and Boer forces. Under his leadership, Lesotho
became a safe heaven for refugees and a symbol of resistance against European
colonial expansion.
After facing pressure from British and Boer settlers, Lesotho became a British
protectorate in the late 19th century. It gained independence in 1966 and has since
experienced periods of political instability, including military coups and challenges to
democratic governance. Despite this challenges, Lesotho has made progress in
education, healthcare, and economic developments.
In conclusion, Lesotho’s history is characterized by resilience, cultural pride, and a
strong sense of national identity. The country continues to navigate challenges and work
towards a more prosperous and stable future for its people.
REFERENCES
 www.britannica (2024) available at:
http://www.britaniica.com/place/Lesotho (accessed 26 April 2024)

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Lesotho history, Basotho languages, Basotho mode of transport

  • 1. LESOTHO HISTORY The Kingdom In The Sky Beautiful, culturally rich, safe, affordable and easily accessible from Durban and Johannesburg, mountainous Lesotho is vastly underrated travel destination. This is essentially an alpine country, where villagers on horseback in multicolored balaclavas and blankets greet you round precipitous bends. The hiking and trekking- often on famed Basotho pony-is world class and the infrastructure of the three stunning national parks continues to improve. An astonishingly beautiful country, this ‘Mountain Kingdom’ needs to be seen to be believed. Beautiful, culturally rich, safe, affordable and easily accessible from Durban and Johannesburg, mountainous Lesotho is vastly underrated travel destination. This is essentially an alpine country, where villagers on horseback in multicolored balaclavas and blankets greet you round precipitous bends. The hiking and trekking- often on famed Basotho pony-is world class and the infrastructure of the three stunning national parks continues to improve. An astonishingly beautiful country, this ‘Mountain Kingdom’ needs to be seen to be believed.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4. A BRIEF HISTORY Lesotho was originally inhabited by local tribes of hunter-gatherers called the Khoisan. Later came the Bantu tribes and eventually the Sotho-Tswana peoples. In 1822 King Moshoeshoe 1 united the land under one rule for the first time. Lesotho (formerly Basutoland) was constituted as a native state under British protection by treaty signed with the native chief Moshoeshoe in 1843. It was annexed to Cape Colony in 1871, but in 1884 it was restored to direct control by the Crown. The colony of Basutoland became the independent nation of Lesotho on October 4th, 1966, with King Moshoeshoe 11 as sovereign. For the first 20 years the Basotho National Party remained in power. The country has since had changes in power and leaders with some prostests and some unrest.
  • 5. BASUTOLAND (1871-1966) o Attempts by the Cape Colony administration to disarm the Sotho led to the Gun War (1880-81). The Cape Colony relinquished Basutoland to British rule in 1884, when it became one of the British High Commission Territories in Southern Africa; Swaziland and Bechuanaland (now Botswana) were the other two. At the end the 19th century, mineral discoveries were made; their enormous potential laid the foundation for the creation of the Union of South Africa (1910). o In order to acquire cheap labour and to end competition from independent African agricultural producers, landowners and miners encouraged the adoption of policies that deprived the indigenous population of its social and political rights and most of its land. Sotho farmers took advantage of the markets for foodstuffs in the growing South African mining centres, however. o They utilized new farming techniques to produce substantial surpluses of grain, which they sold on the South African markets. Sotho workers also travelled to the mines to sell their labour for cash and firearms.
  • 6.  Lesotho’s history in the 20th century was dominated by an increasing dependence on labour migration to South Africa, which was made necessary by taxation, population growth behind a closed border, the depletion of the soil, and the need for resources to supplement agricultural sector.  Ethnic groups the Basotho form the overwhelming majority of the country’s population. They were originally united by a common loyalty to the royal house of Moshoeshoe 1, who founded the Basotho nation in the 19th century.  Internally, divisions between different chiefdoms-and within the royal lineage itself-have had political significance, but externally a sense of Basotho nationhood and cultural unity remains strong.  Lesotho is also home to a Zulu minority, a small population of Asian or mixed ancestry, and a European community that is dominated by expatriate teachers, missionaries, aid works, technicians, and development advisers.
  • 7.  LANGUAGES  Except for English, all the main languages spoken in Lesotho are members of the Niger-Congo language family. Sesotho, a Bantu language, is spoken by the majority of the population, though both Sesotho and English are official languages in the country. Zulu is spoken by a small but significant minority. Phuthi, a dialect of Swati, and Xhosa are also spoken in parts of Lesotho.  RELIGION OF LESOTHO  Some four-fifths of the population profess Christianity, of which the largest denominations include Lesotho Evangelical, and Anglican. Independent churches are also present, together with Zionist sects (small African sects that blend Pentecostal Christianity and indigenous ritual belief). Other religions-including Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism-are practiced by small percentages of the population, as are traditional religions. Some adherents of Christianity also embrace traditional religious beliefs.
  • 8. SETTLEMENT PATTERNS  The population density of Lesotho is highly for an African state, despite the thinly settled areas of mountainous terrain. A large proportion of the population lives in the western lowlands, which have a much higher population density than the rest of the country as a whole: almost three-fourths of the population lives in the narrow corridor, only 25 miles (40 km) in width, that stretches along the Caledon River. Although not permanently inhabited, the mountain grasslands on the slopes of the high plateau and in the valleys provide summer grazing for sheep and cattle, tended by herders in isolated cattle posts. Some of the deep valleys, such as the Senqunyane, produce crops of wheat, peas, and beans.
  • 9.  TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATION  Since independence, access to the more remote villages has been made easier by construction of hard-top roads in the lowlands, by the opening of good-quality gravel roads to the highlands, and by the availability of four-wheel-drive vehicles and aircraft that provide domestic flights. However, the small, sturdy Basotho pony is still widely used in the rural areas, along with donkeys and oxen. A main road runs along the western and southern boundary, and a mountain road from Maseru reaches into the interior. These two main arteries are served by short –distance feeder roads, while villages in the mountains are served by bridle paths. Railways are nonexistent, except for a short line that links the capital to the Southen African rail network.  In the early 21st century the number of telephone landlines in the country had more than doubled since 1990s, but mobile phone usage had grown far more rapidly and surpassed the use of landlines. Internet access has been available since 1998 and is growing in popularity.
  • 10.  HOUSING  The capital, Maseru, consists of modern city center surrounded by suburbs for the large bureaucracy and for foreign aid and development personnel; shacks and informal settlements dot the perimeter. In the rural villages the walls and doors of many houses are covered with colourful painted designs. The villages themselves consist of clusters of circular or rectangular one-room houses solidly built of turf, Kimberly brick, or dressed stone. Traditionally, the roofs were thatched, but more-modern roofs are made of corrugated iron, as they are in many other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.  The house of the chief, or headman, is usually in the center of the village, protected by that of his principal wife and surrounded by those od his other wives.  The lekhotla (open court) is in front of the chief’s house; beside is are kraals (enclosures) for the cattle and staples for horses.
  • 11. CONCLUTION Lesotho, also known the Kingdom of Lesotho, has a rich and complex history. It is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa and is one of the few countries on the continent that has never been colonized. Lesotho was established as a kingdom in the early 19th century by King Moshoeshoe 1, who successfully united various Sotho- speaking groups against invading Zulu and Boer forces. Under his leadership, Lesotho became a safe heaven for refugees and a symbol of resistance against European colonial expansion. After facing pressure from British and Boer settlers, Lesotho became a British protectorate in the late 19th century. It gained independence in 1966 and has since experienced periods of political instability, including military coups and challenges to democratic governance. Despite this challenges, Lesotho has made progress in education, healthcare, and economic developments. In conclusion, Lesotho’s history is characterized by resilience, cultural pride, and a strong sense of national identity. The country continues to navigate challenges and work towards a more prosperous and stable future for its people.
  • 12. REFERENCES  www.britannica (2024) available at: http://www.britaniica.com/place/Lesotho (accessed 26 April 2024)