Lesotho Old History

By | January 3, 2023

Lesotho is an independent nation in Southern Africa. With the capital city of Maseru, Lesotho 2020 population is estimated at 2,142,260 according to countryaah. In ancient times, hunter and gatherer people lived (formerly called bushmen) in the area that is now Lesotho. In the early 19th century, Bantu people migrated from the north, including Sotho, which soon became the dominant group of people.

Around 1830, the Sotho chief Moshoeshoe founded a kingdom in the area. The following years were filled with wars, partly against other Bantu people such as Zulu and Ndebele, and partly against white farmers who came from the south and wanted to colonize the area.

Moshoeshoe eventually turned to Britain for help in keeping the invaders away and in 1868 the area became a British protectorate. Moshoeshoe died in 1870. A year later, the Protectorate was incorporated with the British Cape Colony in the south. It triggered an uprising among the Sotho people, and as a result of this 1884 the British made the area their own crown colony called Basutoland.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Lesotho, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

Basutoland’s development towards independence began in 1952 when its first political organization, the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP), was formed by Dr Ntsu Mokhele. Four years later, a legislative council was established in the colony, which in 1959 was given limited autonomy through a new constitution. For Lesotho political system, please check cancermatters.

In the first election to the Legislative Council in 1960, BCP won, but then no universal suffrage was applied. When the first general election was held in 1965, the more conservative party won the Basutoland National Party (GDP) supported by South Africa. The most powerful chief in the country was proclaimed king by the name of Moshoeshoe II. The Prime Minister became GDP leader Leabua Jonathan.

In 1966, the independent kingdom of Lesotho was proclaimed.



Dispute over women’s leadership

The Constitutional Court rejects a proposal that daughters of local traditional leaders (chieftains) should be able to inherit the father’s position. One of the judges argues that the current law is not discriminatory against women because widows can take over the leadership of their deceased husbands. The case had been brought to court by a woman who wanted to inherit her father’s office but who instead saw her mother take over that position.

New head of government after parliamentary elections

Parliamentary elections are held and the Democratic Congress (DC) becomes the largest party but does not get its own majority in parliament. The Allbasothic Convention (ABC) is the second largest, and together with the election’s third, Lesotho’s Congress for Democracy (LCD), forms a government with some smaller parties. Thomas Thabane from ABC becomes head of government.


The ruling party is shattered

Prime Minister Pakhalitha Mosisili leaves Lesotho’s Congress for Democracy (LCD) and forms a new party, the Democratic Congress (Democratic Congress, DC). Mosisili explains that he has given up trying to prevent the LCD’s disintegration. He brings with him 44 of LCD’s MPs, making DC the largest party in parliament. Mosisili remains as head of government.

Lesotho Old History