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The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small country in southern Africa, embedded
between South Africa in the west and Mozambique in the east.
National motto: Siyinquaba
(Swati: "We are the fortress")
Official language English and Swati
King Mswati III
Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas
Area Ranked 153rd
Ê- Total 17,363 km²
Ê- % water 0.9%
Although remains of human settlements Population Ranked 151st
of more than 100,000 years ago have Ê- Total (2001) 1,104,343
been found in Swaziland, the current Ê- Density 65/km²
Swazi population migrated there Independence September 6, 1968
eventually in the 19th century. At the
same time, the first whites started to Currency Lilangeni
settle in the area. A 1881 convention Time zone UTC + 2
secured independence for the Swazi
nation, but in practice this was not Oh God, Bestower
the case. After the Boer Wars, National anthem of the Blessings
Swaziland effectively became a British of the Swazi
colony. The country was eventually Internet TLD .SZ
granted independence on September 6, Calling Code 268
1968. Since then, Swaziland has seen a
struggle between pro-democracy activists and the totalitarian monarchy.
The head of state is the king, which since 1986 has been King Mswati III. As
the monarch, he does not only appoint the prime minister - the head of
government - but also appoints a small number representatives for both
chambers of the Libandla (parliament). The Senate consists of 30 members,
while the House of Assembly has 65 seats, 55 of which are occupied by
elected representatives (elections held every 5 years).
Swaziland is divided into four districts:
Swaziland offers a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the
Mozambican border to savannahs in the east and rainforest in the northwest.
Several rivers flow through the country, such as the Lusutfu River. With
50,000 inhabitants, the capital city of Mbabane is the largest town in the
nation; others include Manzini, Lobamba and Siteki.
In this small landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies more than
80% of the population. Manufacturing features a number of agroprocessing
factories. Mining has declined in importance in recent years: diamond mines
have shut down because of the depletion of easily accessible reserves;
high-grade iron ore deposits were depleted by 1978; and health concerns have
cut world demand for asbestos. Exports of soft drink concentrate, sugar, and
wood pulp are the main earners of hard currency. Surrounded by South Africa,
except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland is heavily dependent on
South Africa from which it receives nine-tenths of its imports and to which
it sends more than two-thirds of its exports. Remittances from the Southern
African Customs Union and Swazi workers in South African mines substantially
supplement domestically earned income. The government is trying to improve
the atmosphere for foreign investment. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought,
and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. Prospects for 2002
are strengthened by the country's status as a beneficiary of the US African
Growth and Opportunity Act initiative.
The majority of the population consists of Swazi, but there are also small
numbers of Zulu, Europeans and Mozambican refugees. The official languages
are Swati and English; the latter is also the official written language. The
chief religion is Christianity, often if a form blended with several
indigenous religions. There are also Jewish and Muslim communities.