General Information about Swaziland

The official name is The Kingdom of Swaziland.

Located in southern Africa. Area 17,363 km2, number per 1.1 million people. (2002, estimate). State Siswati and English. The capital is the city of Mbabane (38.6 thousand people, 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day September 6 (since 1968). The monetary unit is the langeni.

Member ok. 40 international organizations, incl. UN (since 1968), AU (since 2000), SADC (since 1992).

Geography of Swaziland

It is located between 30°48′ and 32° east longitude, 25°24′ and 27°24′ south latitude; has no access to the sea, surrounded on three sides by the territory of South Africa, in the east it borders on Mozambique.

The landscape is a plateau that descends in three steps to the coastal plain of Mozambique: the High Veld in the west (height 1050-1850 m), the Middle Veld (450-600 m) and the Low Veld (150-300 m). The low veld is bordered in the east by the Lebombo mountains, 450–825 m high, with Emlembe peak (1862 m). A dense river network forms the basins of four full-flowing rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean: Komati, Umbeluzi, Usutu and Ngvavuma.

The soils are alluvial, red-brown, waterlogged and leached. The vegetation is diverse, although it has suffered from human activities. The meadows of the High Veld gradually turn into a forested savannah in the east of the country with typically tropical trees. The animal world has thinned considerably, there are hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, zebras and even a rare blue buffalo.

In the bowels of Swaziland, coal deposits (reserves of 1 billion tons), small deposits of iron ore, tin, kaolin, talc, asbestos, gold, and diamonds have been discovered.

The climate is humid, subtropical in the west and tropical in the east. The amount of precipitation is from 500 to 1400 mm per year. Average temperatures: +12-15°C in July, +20-24°C in February.

Population of Swaziland

According to Countryaah, the population has doubled in 22 years. The population growth rate decreased from 2.5% (1980) to 1.6% (2002) due to the AIDS pandemic. Birth rate 39.59%, mortality 23.26%, infant mortality 109.43 people. per 1000 newborns (2002). The average life expectancy is 37 years (37.66 for women, 36.35 for men). Sex and age structure (2002): 0-14 years old – 45.5% (254,573 men and 256,677 women), 15-64 years old – 51.9% (respectively 281,645 and 301,071), 65 years and older – 2, 6% (12,027 and 17,612). The number of HIV-infected people is 212 thousand, i.e. 35.6% of the adult population (2002). In 2000, approx. 50% of the population. Among adults, 80% are literate.

97% of the population are Swazi, approx. 3% are white. Languages: Siswati, English, Zulu.

70% are Christians, 10% are Muslims, the rest adhere to local beliefs.

History of Swaziland

The ancestors of the current Swazi moved to the beginning. 15th c. from the territory of present-day Mozambique to the northeast of Natal, and from there in the 18th century. were forced to leave under the onslaught of other tribes to the land where they live now. Already in the 18th century. leader Ngvane III created a strong state, which in the 19th century. twice the size of today’s state. In the 1820-30s. Swazi defended their independence in wars with the Zulu, and from the beginning of the 1840s. the country became the object of the aggressive aspirations of the European colonialists – the British, the Portuguese, the Boers. The Boers were especially active, buying up huge land territories from the leaders for next to nothing. In 1894, Swaziland was annexed by the Boer Republic of the Transvaal, and after the Boer War became a British protectorate.

In the beginning. 1960s the first political parties arose that put forward a demand for the independence of the protectorate, which was granted in 1968. Swaziland became a constitutional monarchy, power was limited by parliament. In the general election, all the seats in parliament went to supporters of the king, although the opposition received 20% of the vote. Nevertheless, in 1973 Sobhuza II repealed the Constitution, dissolved the parliament and banned political parties. In 1978, a new Constitution was introduced, which consolidated the absolute power of the king and made parliament an advisory body.

In 1982, after the death of Sobhuza II, a sharp struggle for power broke out between court factions, and the new king Mswati III was able to ascend the throne only in 1986. Mswati III was faced with the activation of banned political parties that operated through trade union and student organizations and demanded the democratization of society. The most active party was the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). Demonstrations and strikes became a form of protest. In 1991, the king was forced to create a commission to review the Constitution, the work of which dragged on for a decade. In 1994, trade unions put forward 27 demands to the government, among which were political ones, in particular the creation of a multi-party system. The king rejected these demands. In 1995, the houses of government officials were set on fire, and the buildings of parliament and the Supreme Court were attacked. In January 1996, PUDEMO launched a campaign of protest and defiance. In July, the heads of neighboring states met with the king, convincing him of the need for reforms. In January 1997, the unions and PU-DEMO held a general strike that paralyzed the country’s economy for several days. Mswati III released the arrested strike leaders and requested mediation from the South African government. With the help of South Africa, the conflict was settled, the king promised to speed up the work of the constitutional commission, but instead stepped up repressions against dissidents. In August 1998, the king dissolved parliament and called new elections. The opposition boycotted them. On the eve of the elections, there was an explosion near the bridge, through which the king had just passed, and on the day of the oath of the Cabinet of Ministers, a bomb exploded in the office of the Deputy Prime Minister. In 1999, opposition parties and trade unions created the Swaziland Democratic Alliance, which held demonstrations in support of 27 union demands. In 2001, the constitutional commission finally submitted to the king a draft constitution that did not limit the absolute power of the monarch and did not lift the ban on the activities of political parties. Mswati sent the draft for revision. In 2001-02, a series of laws were passed that limited civil rights. The political situation in the country remains very tense. limiting civil rights. The political situation in the country remains very tense. limiting civil rights. The political situation in the country remains very tense.

People of Swaziland