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Africa Botswana Current Events Twice the size of Arizona Botswana is in south-central Africa bounded by Namibia Zambia Zimbabwe and South Africa Most of the country is near-desert with the Kalahari occupying the western part of the country The eastern part is hilly with salt lakes in the north History of Botswana Botswana is democratically ruled boasts a growing economy and stable political environment today The countrys population is mainly Tswana who speak a Bantu language and are divided into eight major groups There are also small minorities of Kalanga Basarwa Kgalagadi and other poeples English is the official language but Tswana is also widely spoken along with 24 other minor languages About half the population is Christian and half adheres to traditional practices The earliest inhabitants of the region were the San who were followed by the Tswana About half the countrys ethnicity today is Tswana The term for the countrys people Batswana refers to national rather than ethnic origin Encroachment by the Zulu in the 1820s and by Boers from Transvaal in the 1870s and 1880s threatened the peace of the region In 1885 Britain established the area as a protectorate then known as Bechuanaland In 1961 Britain granted a constitution to the country Self-government began in 1965 and on Sept 30 1966 the country became independent Botswana is Africas oldest democracy The new country maintained good relations with its white-ruled neighbors but gradually changed its policies harboring rebel groups from South Rhodesia as well as some from South Africa Cattle rising and the export of beef and other cattle products are the chief economic activities though migration to urban areas in search of economic opportunity has been an important recent trend The countrys water shortage and consequent lack of sufficient irrigation facilities have hampered agriculture and only a small percentage of the land is under cultivation Corn sorghum millet and beans are the principal subsistence crops and cotton peanuts and
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