Botswana: History, Population, Capital, Map, Flag, & Facts

Botswana: History, Population, Currency, Religion, Flag, Economy, Language ad Facts.

A digital travel guide to Botswana, a southern African country that is landlocked. South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia are its immediate neighbors.

The country is slightly larger than France and slightly smaller than the state of Texas in the United States, with a total size of 582,000 square kilometers.

The Tropics cover almost two-thirds of the country. Some of Africa’s most renowned natural landscapes can be found in Botswana. National parks, reserves, and wildlife management areas make up 38% of the total land area.

The country is sparsely populated since up to 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert, the large arid to semi-arid landscape in Southern Africa covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. The majority of Botswana’s (estimated 2016) total population of 2.2 million people live in the region’s eastern half.

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Botswana at a glance

Botswana Country Profile

CAPITAL CITY: Gaborone (population 208,000)
LANGUAGE: English, Setswana
ELECTRICITY: Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type G (Irish/British 3-pin) Type M (see D)
POPULATION: 2.588 million
TIME ZONE: (GMT+02:00) Windhoek

BEST SAFARI in BOTSWANA (Chobe National Park)

Botswana Factbook

Landlocked Botswana is situated in the geographic center of Southern Africa. Approximately 600 miles (965 km) in length from north to south and 600 miles in length from east to west, the territory is essentially triangular, with its eastern side protruding into a sharp point. The region is delineated by river courses and an antiquated carriage road in the east and south, longitude and latitude lines traversing the Kalahari in the west, and a river course that connects straight lines in the north. Botswana’s territorial boundaries harbor an abundance of fauna, encompassing numerous species of amphibians, mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish.

Botswana People

Ethnic groups

Tswana maintains its ethnic predominance in Botswana, constituting approximately two-thirds of the populace as of the twenty-first century. The entire populace of the nation is referred to as Batswana (singular Motswana), irrespective of their ethnic background. Botswana’s ethnic dominance (“Tswanadom”) can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when eight Tswana states governed the majority of the territory. The populations of these nations were formalized as “tribes,” a designation that continues to be applied in contemporary times, during the period of British colonial rule.

The Khalagari (Western Sotho) ethnic group, which is the second largest in southeastern Botswana after the Tswana, has become so assimilated that they are virtually indistinguishable from the Tswana. Presently, even their given name is frequently translated into Tswana as “Kgalagadi.”

Although the Ngwato of east-central Botswana comprise the most populous traditional “tribal” state, their ethnic Tswana heritage is likely less than one-fifth. Kalanga (Western Shona), Khalagari, Tswapong, and Birwa (all from Northern Sotho), are the principal incorporated ethnic communities. Some Kalanga, whose population is greater in Zimbabwe’s eastern region, have opposed complete assimilation.

It is possible to argue that the Tawana state in northwestern Botswana has had the least amount of success assimilating other ethnic groups. The majority of its inhabitants are Yei and Mbukushu, who are related to the riverine peoples of northern Angola, the Caprivi Strip, and Zambia. More intimate relatives of minority Mbanderu and Herero communities reside in Namibia across the border. The British excluded the Chobe Subiya, who were closely related to the inhabitants of the Caprivi Strip and Zambia, from the Tawana “tribal” reserve.

The southeastern districts of Botswana are inhabited by small, dispersed Khoisan communities that have also been assimilated with other ethnic groups. Communities that possess their own herders and livestock are encompassed, alongside economically disadvantaged factions that are supported by Tswana and European cattle farmers.

The white colonial settlement in Botswana, comprised of a minority of English and Afrikaners residing in border estates, numbered less than three thousand individuals at the time. Although there has been a modest rise in the white population since the country’s independence, it continues to constitute an extremely small proportion of the overall populace. A minor proportion of the population in Botswana is of blended or Asian descent.

Botswana Languages

Widely spoken is the national language, Tswana (Setswana, Sechuana). English is the designated language. The Khoisan are known for their Khoe, or Khwe, and San languages. The country is also home to a number of additional languages, such as Kalanga, Sekgalagadi, Herero, Mbukushu, and Yei.

Religion of Botswana

Approximately 50% of the populace adheres to the Christian faith, consisting primarily of independent Christians and a minority of Protestants. One-third of the population identifies with traditional beliefs as their main religious affiliation. The eight Tswana nations adopted Christianity as their official religion by the end of the 19th century, following its introduction by missionaries from the south, including David Livingstone, during the colonial period. Specific indigenous medical and religious practices, most notably the veneration of patriarchal progenitors, underwent assimilation into the prevailing Christian doctrines.

Since the 1950s, there has been a noticeable decrease in allegiance to the ancient state churches, most notably the Congregationalists (London Missionary Society). The country is home to a multitude of Anglican and United Reformed (Congregational and Methodist) churches, in addition to Dutch Reformed, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran congregations. Additionally, a minority of Bahāʿī, Muslim, Quaker, and Hindu congregations exist, with the former being predominantly comprised of expatriates.

Amazing FACTS about Botswana

Botswana: History | Geography | People | Facts | Economy

Botswana Economy

With a long history of central government planning to provide infrastructure for private investment, Botswana operates under a free market economic system. The economy has experienced substantial expansion since the mid-1960s, as evidenced by the more than one hundredfold rise in per capita gross domestic product.

A minority of rural households derive financial gain from cattle sales, with less than one-tenth owning approximately half of the nation’s cattle (equivalent to an average of 100 heads each) and nearly half lacking any livestock. A limited number of households cultivate commodities beyond what is required for subsistence, let alone for sale on the market. Numerous rural households rely on the earnings of a family member residing in the city or overseas. This leaves unknown to statisticians a substantial number of rural households, the majority of which are commanded by women, that have no known source of income.

The allocation of state revenues generated from mining development has primarily benefitted affluent rural households through initiatives to subsidize the development of livestock and crops, as well as for basic rural infrastructure and welfare services. The penetration of trade unions into the paid employment sector in Botswana has been a modest achievement.

History of Botswana

Botswana’s history is, in essence, the history of the Kalahari region, which lies between the sparsely populated grassland of the south and west and the more populous savannas to the north and east. Botswana, despite being relegated to a peripheral position in Southern Africa for the majority of the 20th century, has been a pivotal region in historical development at other periods.

Early pastoral and farming peoples

Khoisan-speaking hunters and herders

It has been inhabited by Khoisan (Khoe and San) speakers in Botswana for countless millennia. Depression Shelter, located in the Tsodilo Hills, contains indications of persistent Khoisan rule spanning from approximately 17,000 BCE to 1650 CE. A portion of the Khoi (Tshu-khwe) inhabitants of northern Botswana transitioned to pastoralism in the final centuries of the last millennium prior to the Common Era. They engaged in the herding of cattle and sheep on the fertile pastures that emerged as a result of the receding lakes and wetlands.

Bantu-speaking farmers

Concurrently, grain cultivation and the transmission of Bantu languages moved southward progressively from the Equator. Upper Zambezi cultivators were producing and employing iron implements by approximately 20 BCE. An iron-smelting furnace in the Tswapong Hills near Palapye, which was dated to approximately 190 CE, is the earliest dated Iron Age site in Botswana. It was likely utilized by Iron Age cultivators from the Limpopo valley. The approximate dating of the remains of modest beehive-shaped dwellings constructed from grass matting, which were inhabited by farmers during the early Iron Age in the vicinity of Molepolole, is 420 CE. Alongside Khoisan hunter and pastoralist sites, the Tsodilo Hills, situated west of the Okavango basin, also contain indications of an early agricultural settlement that dates back to approximately 550 CE. Archaeologists encounter challenges in deciphering the numerous rock paintings situated in the Tsodilo Hills, which were officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. Previously, it was hypothesized that these artworks were created by “Bushman” (San) hunters, who lived in isolation from pastoralists and farmers.

Botswana: Facts And Stats

Also Known As Bechuanaland • Republic of Botswana
Head Of State And Government President: Mokgweetsi Masisi
Capital Gaborone
Population (2024 est.) 2,413,000
Currency Exchange Rate 1 USD equals 13.750 Botswana pula
Form Of Government multiparty republic with one legislative house (National Assembly [63])
Official Language English
Official Religion None
Official Name Republic of Botswana
Total Area (Sq Km) 581,730
Total Area (Sq Mi) 224,606
Monetary Unit pula (P)
Population Rank (2023) 145
Population Projection 2030 2,742,000
Density: Persons Per Sq Mi (2023) 10.6
Density: Persons Per Sq Km (2023) 4.1
Urban-Rural Population Urban: (2017) 63.9% • Rural: (2017) 36.1%
Life Expectancy At Birth Male: (2022) 63.6 years • Female: (2022) 67.7 years
Literacy: Percentage Of Population Age 15 And Over Literate Male: (2013) 86% • Female: (2013) 87%
Gni (U.S.$ ’000,000) (2022) 19,325
Gni Per Capita (U.S.$) Gni Per Capita (U.S.$)
  • Furthermore, the government is advised by the Ntlo ya Dikgosi (translated as the House of Chiefs in English), an organization comprising 35 individuals including chiefs, subchiefs, and associated members.
  • Consisting of two ex officio members (the president and the attorney general) and four specially elected members, the statutory number (63), which encompasses the speaker, may appoint an individual from outside the National Assembly.
  • The seat of the supreme court is Lobatse.
  • Tswana serves as the official language of the nation.