Kingdom of Lesotho
short form: Lesotho
ISO Country Code: ls
Local Time = UTC +2h
Country Calling Code: +266
Capital City: Maseru (1997 pop. est. 386 000)
Teyateyaneng (pop. est. 240 754), Leribe (300 160), Mafeteng (211 970), Mohale’s Hoek (184 034).
Type: Modified constitutional monarchy.
Independence: 4 October 1966. (from 1868 until independence Lesotho was placed under British protection.)
Location: South Africa
Area: 30,355 sq. km. (11 718 sq. mi.).
Terrain: High veld, plateau and mountains.
Climate: Temperate; summers hot, winters cool to cold; humidity generally low and evenings cool year round. Rainy season in summer, winters dry. Southern hemisphere seasons are reversed.
Nationality: Noun–Mosotho (sing.); Basotho (pl.) Adjective–Basotho.
Population: 2.2 million (2010, UN estimate)
Ethnic groups: Basotho 99.7%; Europeans 1,600; Asians 3,000.
Religions: 80% Christian, including Roman Catholic (majority), Lesotho Evangelical, Anglican, other denominations.
Languages: Official–Sesotho and English. Others–Zulu, Xhosa.
Literacy: (1998) 70%.
Natural resources: Water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals. Lesotho is an exporter of excess labor.
Agriculture products: Corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock.
Industries: Food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts; construction; tourism.
Exports partners: USA 97.6%, Canada 1.5%,France 0.5% (2003)
Imports partners: Hong Kong 36.6%, Taiwan36.2%, China 12%, Germany 9.9% (2003)
Currency: In 1980, Lesotho introduced its own currency: Loti (plural Maloti). It is equivalent to the South African Rand.
Lesotho is a democratic, sovereign and independent country with the unique characteristic of being totally surrounded by its neighbour, the Republic of South Africa.
The formerly Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. In 1993 after 23 years of military rule, a new constitution was implemented leaving the King without any executive authority and proscribing him from engaging in political affairs. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody South African military intervention. Constitutional reforms have since restored political stability; peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002. However Lesotho is one of three remaining monarchies in Africa.
(Source: CIA – The World Factbook)
border countries: South Africa
related countries: United Kingdom