Indigenous people have lived in the area that
makes up today's Botswana for tens of thousands of
years. From the 16th century, they were forced off by
Tswana people who later formed the eight chiefdom. Since
tswana asked for British protection against South
African farmers, in 1885 the area became the British
protectorate of Bechuanaland. The chiefs largely
retained power. During the 1950s, nationalism grew and
preparations were made for liberation, with the support
of the British. In 1966, Botswana became an independent
The first known people in what is today Botswana were
the hunter people san and cattle khoikhoi who lived
there for thousands of years before the beginning of our
era. During the 16th and 16th centuries, they were
forced into the desert by cattle-rearing Tswana people
who settled in the Southeast and in present-day Western
Transvaal in South Africa. During the 18th and 19th
centuries, Tswana dynasties from the Transvaal formed
eight chiefdom in present-day Botswana.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Botswana, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In the early 19th century, European missionaries,
traders and farmers (Dutch settlers from South Africa)
also began to arrive. After the discovery of gold in the
Transvaal in 1867, interest in the area increased, while
the farmers' demand for agricultural land grew. The
Tswana chiefs repeatedly asked Britain for protection,
and in 1885 a British protectorate, Bechuanaland, was
established in the area that today constitutes Botswana.
The British planned to unite Bechuanaland with South
Africa but this was never implemented. They governed the
protectorate through local councils where chiefs also
sat. The British did not devote much interest to the
protectorate and the chiefs therefore maintained a great
influence over how the area was governed. In a
declaration in 1934, the tribal-based rule and the power
of the rulers were formally regulated.
Political nationalist movements were formed in
Bechuanaland in the early 1950s. The British also began
to make certain plans for the independence of the
protectorate. In 1960, the Bechuanaland People's
Party (BPP) was founded and in
1962 the Bechuanaland Democratic Party,
which later became the Botswana Democratic Party
In 1961 elections were held for a legislative
council, where the white minority and the black majority
got ten representatives. In 1965, Bechuanaland became
self-governing after an election won by the BDP. The
administration was moved from Mafikeng in South Africa
to a newly built capital, Gaborone, on the Botswana side
of the border. On September 30, 1966, the Protectorate
gained its independence as the Republic of Botswana.
Opposition parties are part of the Valallians
The largest opposition parties BMD and BNF form an
alliance with the small Botswana People's Party (BPP)
which has no parliamentary mandate. The Alliance calls
itself the Collection for Democratic Change (UDC) (see
also Political system).
Historical judgment on female inheritance rights
A lengthy dispute over female inheritance law is
decided when a court rejects the Tsawna custom to allow
only property to be inherited by men within the family.
The Court declares that this custom is contrary to the
constitution of the country. The case has been brought
to court by four elderly sisters who saw their home turn
into a male cousin's property when their brother died.
Just a year later, in September 2013, the verdict was
upheld by the Botswana Supreme Court.
The EU takes back bans
The EU abolishes the import ban on beef (see
February 2011). The ban is estimated to have
cost the state operator BMC and farmers around $ 57
million in lost revenue.