Swaziland, country in southeastern Africa, bordered by Mozambique on the east and the Republic of South Africa on the other three sides. The capital is Mbabane.
Land and climate
There are three main regions: the mountainous High Veld in the west, the lower Middle Veld, and the Low Veld rising in the east to the narrow Lebombo range. The four major rivers, running west to east, are being developed for irrigation and could provide abundant hydroelectricity.
People and economy
Swazis and a smaller number of Zulus constitute 92% of the population. “Coloreds” (of mixed ancestry) and Europeans make up the rest. Agriculture, including forestry, is the largest single sector in the economy. Sugar, wood pulp, asbestos, fruits, iron ore, and canned meats are the main exports. Swaziland has close communication, economic, and trade links with South Africa.
Settled by the Swazis, a Bantu people, and unified as a kingdom in the 1800s, Swaziland was taken over by Britain in 1903 and later fell under South African influence. The country became self-governing in 1963 and fully independent in 1968 under King Sobhuza II. Mawati III has ruled since Sobhuza's death in 1982. At the beginning of the 1990s the king announced a reform or the electoral system. A blind eye was turned to the oppositional party PUDEMA (People's United Democratic Movement). However, at the 1993 parliamentary elections the existing political parties were not allowed to select candidates. As a result, in 1995 the king was asked to temporarily leave the country so as to allow the creation of a multi party system.