Botswana: History

A Safari Paradise

Botswana History

The original inhabitants of Botswana were Bush people. They originated in the north and migrated southwards. About 2,000 years ago the Hottentots followed the Bush people into Botswana, followed by Bantu speakers. The three groups coexisted in Botswana and there was a flourishing trade between them. Shona speakers settled in the north east of Botswana in around the 10th century AD. The first Tswana settled in the south east of Botswana in the 15th century possibly having migrated from the south, and by the 18th century the Tswana were very well established in Botswana.

In 1820 clans began to form into a string of nations along what is now the border between Botswana and South Africa because needed to defend themselves against the people fleeing from the Transvaal and Natal between 1820 and 1840 because of Zulu militancy and Boer expansionism.Botswana’s borders were secured in 1885 with the declaration of a British protectorate called Bechuanaland. Botswana became independent in 1966. Until the late 1970's, the country's first president was Seretse Khama, who had been exiled by the British and later returned as a chief.

Botswana was dependent on South Africa for food imports, and on the wages of Botswana mine workers working in South Africa for income. But Botswana’s president Khama opposed apartheid and the Smith regime in Rhodesia which led to Rhodesian attacks on Botswana. Botswana had no army or airforce and this was also at a time when a drought had killed off a third of the national herd.

Economically things improved for Botswana because it had large foreign currency reserves, and in 1986 Botswana showed the world's second highest rate of economic growth.

Today, the party established by Khama still governs Botswana, and Botswana remains a peaceful country.