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Botswana, History

Festus Mogae, Robert Moffat, Sir Seretse Khama, established missions, Bechuanaland

The Tswana migrated to the region that is now Botswana by 1800 and displaced the native San. Missionaries, including David Livingstone and Robert Moffat from Scotland, arrived in the first half of the 19th century and established missions. The territory was taken under British protection in 1885, after all the principal chiefs complained that Boers, or Afrikaners, from the Transvaal region in what is now northern South Africa, were invading their territories.

During World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) contingents from Bechuanaland, as Botswana was then called, served overseas and on their return helped stimulate economic and political change. The first elections to a legislative council were held in 1961. Under the name Botswana, the country achieved independence in 1966, with the former prime minister, Sir Seretse Khama, as the first president. When Khama died in 1980, he was succeeded by Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, who was reelected by the legislature in 1984, 1989, and 1994. Masire retired from politics in 1998 and was succeeded by his vice president, Festus Mogae. The National Assembly elected Mogae to a new five-year term in 1999.

Since independence, Botswana has taken a nonaligned stance in foreign affairs. While it opposed the former racial policies of neighboring South Africa, Botswana has, out of economic necessity, maintained close ties with that country.



Article key phrases:

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