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Country of Lesotho Flag

Capital: Maseru

Population: 2,125,268

Brief History of Lesotho:

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 Kin Moshoeshoe I united the land under one rule for the first time. The land was called Basutoland at the time. When Europeans arrived first he French had control, but the British took over in 1795. It was renamed Lesotho when it gained independence in 1966. For the first 20 years the Basuto National Party remained in power. The country has since had changes in power and leaders with many protests and some unrest.

Country of Lesotho Map

The Geography of Lesotho

Total Size: 30,355 square km

Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Maryland

Geographical Coordinates: 29 30 S, 28 30 E

World Region or Continent: Africa

General Terrain: mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains

Geographical Low Point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m

Geographical High Point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m

Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Major cities: MASERU (capital) 220,000 (2009)

The People of Lesotho

Type of Government: parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Languages Spoken: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Independence: 4 October 1966 (from UK)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 4 October (1966)

Nationality: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)

Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%

National Symbol: Basotho hat

National Anthem or Song: Lesotho fatse la bo ntat'a rona (Lesotho, Land of Our Fathers)

Economy of Lesotho

Major Industries: food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts, construction, tourism

Agricultural Products: corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock

Natural Resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone

Major Exports: manufactures 75% (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool and mohair, food and live animals (2000)

Major Imports: food; building materials, vehicles, machinery, medicines, petroleum products (2000)

Currency: loti (LSL); South African rand (ZAR)

National GDP: $3,723,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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