Botswana is inhabited by people of predominantly Tswana origin (collectively called “Batswana”) whose recorded history can be traced back to the 14th century. They are believed to be descendants of King Mogale who lived in the present-day Magaliesberg Mountains in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. They migrated northwards, at different times and due to different causes, and established themselves in what was then a relatively unexplored territory.
Towards the turn of the 19th century, the people who resided in the area known as Botswana, made up of at least eight ethnic Chiefdoms whose peoples shared a common language and history, co-existed in relative peace.
During this period, Britain was consolidating its military and economic strength as a major colonial power in Southern Africa. At the same time, Dutch settlers calling themselves Afrikaners (Boers) and German settlers in Namibia (then South West Africa) were pushing northwards and westwards, respectively, annexing more and more Batswana lands.
In 1870, three DIKGOSI (Botswana traditional leaders) made representation to the British Government regarding the threat of their territory’s annexation by the Dutch and German settlers. With the earnest support of some local British organisations and individuals, the lobby for protection succeeded in 1885, resulting in the Bechuanaland Protectorate.
After 80 years as a British protectorate, Bechuanaland attained self-government in 1965, becoming the independent Republic of Botswana on September 30, 1966, and maintaining a position of stability and harmony ever since. Sir Seretse Khama was elected the first president and served until his death in 1980.
Since independence, Botswana has maintained a thriving democracy, clean government, an up-right judiciary, peace and stability, and a well-managed economy.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been in power since the first democratic elections in 1966, and continues to draw support from a wide range of Botswana’s population. Mr. Ketumile Masire served as Botswana’s second president, taking over from the late Sir Seretse Khama in July 1980 and continuing a tradition of good governance. He voluntarily retired from office in 1998, and was succeeded by Mr. Festus Mogae. Mr. Mogae finished his second term in 2008 handing over power to the incumbent President Ian Khama.