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Bantu language, Bechuanaland, diamond mines, landlocked country, Kalahari

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Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa. Before gaining independence from Britain in 1966, it was known as Bechuanaland. The country’s name comes from its largest ethnic group, the Tswana. A large majority of the population lives in the eastern part of the country, near the border with South Africa.

Botswana’s diamond mines and other mineral deposits have made it one of the wealthiest African countries. The country has maintained an impressive rate of economic growth since independence. Most of the country is quite dry and unsuited for agriculture. The Kalahari Desert covers much of central and southwestern Botswana. The country is noted for its many animal reserves.

Botswana has been a stable democracy, governed by an elected president, since gaining independence. The country’s official name is Republic of Botswana. Gaborone is the capital and largest city. English is the country’s official language, but most of the people speak a Bantu language.


For younger readers

Laure, Jason. Botswana. Children's Press, 1993. For readers in grades 5 to 10.

O'Toole, Thomas. Botswana in Pictures. Lerner, 1999. An illustrated book that provides quick, easy access to facts about Botswana; for younger readers.


Alverson, Marianne. Under African Sun. University of Chicago Press, 1987. Personal memoir of an American in rural Botswana.

McIntyre, Chris, and Simon Atkins. Guide to Namibia and Botswana. 2nd ed. Bradt, 1994. Insight into this highly volatile and contentious region in light of change in South Africa.

Joubert, Dereck, and Beverly Joubert. Hunting With the Moon: The Lions of Savuti. National Geographic, 1997. Lions and other wildlife of the Savuti area in Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Lanting, Frans. Okavango: Africa's Last Eden. Chronicle, 1993. Photographic tour of northwestern Botswana's Okavango Delta, a wetland oasis in the middle of the Kalahari Desert.

Parsons, Neil. King Khama, Emperor Joe, and the Great White Queen: Victorian Britain Through African Eyes. University of Chicago, 1998. Account of an 1895 trip to England by three African tribal chieftains whose meeting with Queen Victoria's secretary of state resulted in the establishment of the territory of Bechuanaland.

Peters, Pauline E. Dividing the Commons: Politics, Policy, and Culture in Botswana. University Press of Virginia, 1994. Culture, public policy, and economic development in Botswana.


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Article key phrases:

Bantu language, Bechuanaland, diamond mines, landlocked country, Kalahari, Gaborone, mineral deposits, official language, southern Africa, largest city, elected president, people, Botswana, South Africa, agriculture, border, independence, Britain, country, English

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