Flag description: light blue with a horizontal white-edged black stripe in the center
Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 24 00 E
Climate: semiarid; warm winters and hot summers
Independence: 30 September 1966 from UK
Nationality: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
Capital City: Gaborone
Head of State: President Festus MOGAE
Area: 600,370 sq km
Type of Government: parliamentary republic
Currency: 1 pula (P) = 100 thebe
Major peoples: The largest tribe is the Bamangwato (about 34% of the total population); the others are the Bangwaketse, the Bakwena, the Batawana, the Bakgatla, the Bamalete, the Baralong, the Batlokwa and the San.
Religion: indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 50%
Official Language: English
Principal Languages: English (official), Setswana and other
Major Exports: diamonds 72%, vehicles, copper, nickel, meat (1998)
History: The Tswana are believed to have entered Botswana and subjugated the local San about the end of the 18th century. The 19th century was marked by devastating invasions by Zulus and Boers and by contact with British Christian missionaries. The Tswana, led by Khama III, chief of the Bamangwato tribe, asked for help against the Boers from the British, and in 1885 the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland was established. The British favored eventual incorporation of the land into South Africa with the consent of the chiefs, but this policy was ended when apartheid was formally introduced into South Africa.
Internal self-government was granted in 1965 and full independence on Sept. 30, 1966.
Sir Seretse Khama was elected president and served until his death in 1980. His successor, former vice-president Quett Masire, won reelection in 1984 and 1989. Although Botswana's foreign policy is necessarily constrained by its economic dependence on South Africa, it has long advocated majority rule for all of southern Africa. It has refused to allow its territory to be used as a base to launch guerrilla operations against its neighbors but has granted asylum to political refugees from neighboring countries. The refugee presence prompted raids into Botswana by South Africa in the mid-1980s
Namibia and African Camping Safaris