Swaziland - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Kingdom of Swaziland
Formation 1968 / 1968
Population 1.2 million / 181 people per sq mile (70 people per sq km)
Total area 6704 sq. miles (17,363 sq. km)
Languages English*, siSwati*, isiZulu, Xitsonga
Religions Traditional beliefs 40%, Other 30%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10% Ethnic mix Swazi 97%, Other 3%
Currency Lilangeni = 100 cents
Literacy rate 87%
Calorie consumption 2307 kilocalories
Swaziland has got South Africa on three sides and Mozambique on the east.
We were already in contact with the Swazi at the time of Mswati II, when he was looking for help against the Zulus. By 1894, the Swazi had come sort of under the colonial control of the authorities of South Africa, which they weren’t too happy about.
Then in 1899 came the Second Boer War and things got very complicated. Many of the Britons here left, and by October a Swaziland Commando led by Commandant C. Botha (raised from Boer settlers in Swaziland) was attacking a British police post at Kwaliweni. King Bhunu decided to add to the chaos by settling scores with some of his opponents, and in December he died and his mother Labotsibeni Mdluli took over as regent.
We worried that supplies to the Boers from Mozambique could pass through Swaziland, but the new Queen Regent was trying to remain neutral in the conflict, and Boers who fled into Swaziland were disarmed. Kitchener reassured the Queen Regent that as long as she remained neutral, no British forces would enter Swaziland unless the Boers invaded.
Eventually, retreating Boer units did cross into Swaziland and in 1901, with the Queen Regent’s agreement, British troops of the Imperial Light Horse and Suffolk Regiment crossed into Swaziland in pursuit. Assorted skirmishes followed as the British units gradually mopped up the Boer fighters. By February 1902 it was all over.
From 1902 to 1906 Swaziland was under British control as part of the Transvaal, and then from 1906 onwards it was separated from the Transvaal. Swaziland became independent again from Britain on 6 September 1968.