Eswatini


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Eswatini

or

eSwatini,

formerly

Swaziland

(swä`zēlănd), officially Kingdom of Eswatini, kingdom (2015 est. pop. 1,319,000), 6,705 sq mi (17,366 sq km), SE Africa. It is bordered on the S, W, and N by the Republic of South Africa and on the E by Mozambique. The capital and largest city is MbabaneMbabane
, town (1996 est. pop. 58,100), capital of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), NW Eswatini, in the Mdimba Mts. It is primarily an administrative center but serves as a commercial hub for the surrounding agricultural region. Tin and iron are mined nearby.
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.

Land and People

The country is mountainous, with steplike plateaus descending from the highveld (3,500–5,000 ft/1,067–1,524 m) in the W through the middleveld (1,500–3,000 ft/457–914 m) and the lowveld (500–1,500 ft/152–457 m), then rising to the rolling plateau of the Lebombo Mts. Four major river systems cut through Eswatini; they have vast hydroelectric potential and are increasingly used for irrigation.

The population is about 97% African and 3% European. English and Siswati (a branch of Nguni) are the official languages. About 40% of the population is Zionist Christian (a blend of Christianity and indigenous beliefs), while 20% are Roman Catholic; there are other Christian (Anglican, Methodist, and Mormon) groups, as well as Muslim, Bahai, and Jewish minorities.

Economy

The country has excellent farming and ranching land, and 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture. Sugarcane is grown on plantations, mainly for export. Other important crops are cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus fruits, pineapples, sorghum, and peanuts. Cattle and goats are raised in large numbers. The Swazi engage primarily in subsistence farming on communally owned land that is allocated by chiefs. The pine and eucalyptus forests of the highveld yield timber and wood pulp. The country has several nature reserves, and tourism is being developed.

Coal mining and stone quarrying are important; Eswatini's other mineral resources include asbestos, clay, cassiterite (tin ore), gold, and diamonds. Industry consists chiefly of food processing and the manufacture of soft drink concentrates, textiles, and consumer goods. Many Swazis are employed in South Africa's mines and industries. Railroads connect with ports in South Africa, the country's main trading partner, and with Mozambique. The country's chief exports are soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus, and canned fruit. Imports include motor vehicles, machinery, transportation equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, and chemicals. A major portion of the government's income consists of revenues from the Southern African Customs Union.

Government

Governed under the constitution of 2005, Eswatini is a hereditary monarchy. The monarch is the head of state. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the monarch. There is a bicameral Parliament (Libandla). The Senate has 30 members, 10 appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 by the monarch. Of the 65 members of the House of Assembly, 10 are appointed by the monarch and 55 are elected by popular vote. Members of both houses serve five-year terms. Administratively, Eswatini is divided into four districts.

History

The ancestors of the Swazi probably moved into the Mozambique area from the north prior to the 16th cent. Fleeing Zulu attacks in the early 19th cent., they settled in present-day Eswatini. During the 1800s, Europeans entered the area to seek concessions, and in 1894, the area, known as Swaziland, became a protectorate of the South African Republic (TransvaalTransvaal
, former province, NE South Africa. With the new constitution of 1994, it was divided into Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), Northern Transvaal (now Limpopo), Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Veereeniging (now Gauteng), and part of North West prov.
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). After the South African WarSouth African War
or Boer War,
1899–1902, war of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State against Great Britain. Background
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, the protectorate passed (1902) to Great Britain. In 1906 it became a High Commission Territory ruled by a British commissioner. Limited self-government was not granted until 1963, and four years later Swaziland became a kingdom under a new constitution. On Sept. 6, 1968, Swaziland achieved complete independence but retained membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. The king became the head of state, administering through a cabinet and a prime minister chosen by parliament.

In 1973, King Sobhuza IISobhuza II
, 1899–1982, king of Swaziland (now Eswatini; 1921–82). He became paramount chief of the Swazi in 1921, after a 22-year regency, and was recognized as king by Great Britain when Swaziland was granted (1967) internal self-government.
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 (reigned 1921–82) abrogated the constitution and assumed personal rule. The Swazi people continued to find a common cause in resistance to incorporation into South Africa, which was favored by the country's Afrikaner minority. The original constitution was formally abolished in 1976. A new constitution was adopted in 1978, but it so diluted the vote that the king ruled nearly absolutely.

In 1982, South Africa and Swaziland formally agreed to defend each other's security interests, with Swaziland promising to deport African National Congress (ANC) members back to South Africa. After 61 years as monarch, Sobhuza died in 1982. Prince Makhosetive was selected as his successor, but he was not crowned King Mswati IIIMswati III,
1968–, king of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Given the title of Prince Makhosetive at an early age, he was crowned king in 1986, following a regency after his father, King Sobhuza II, died in 1982.
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 until 1986; the period of the regency was marked by factional politics and governmental instability. The late 1980s there were periodic raids by South African troops searching for ANC dissidents operating from Swaziland.

In 1992, severe drought conditions put Swaziland in danger of famine. During the 1990s a series of protest actions by prodemocracy dissidents put increasing pressure on the king. The country's first parliamentary elections were held in 1993 (and have been held every five years since then), but candidates for the lower house have to be nonpartisan and are nominated by local councils (the upper house is largely appointed by the king).

The early 21st cent. has seen increased pressure from opposition groups for limitation of the powers of the king, who has been criticized for abuse of power and personal indulgence, and for establishment of a democratically elected parliament, but the king has steadfastly resisted making any significant changes. A new constitution that the king approved in July, 2005, did not diminish the king's ultimate hold on power. The same month the African Union's human rights commission criticized the country for failing to conform with the African Charter and gave the government six months to rectify the situation.

The country suffered severe crop losses in 2007 due to drought; an estimated 400,000 were expected to need food assistance before the next harvest (in 2008). Before elections for the parliament were held in Sept., 2008, prodemocracy forces mounted protests to little effect, despite negative publicity generated by the extravagant lifestyle of the king and his family. A recession-related drop in customs revenues in 2010 led to a government financial crisis late that year and continuing into subsequent years. The government sought a sizable loan from South Africa, but did not want to agree to the reform conditions attached to the loan; the king's income was unaffected by the crisis. Repression of the opposition continued, and opposition groups boycotted the 2013 and 2018 parliamentary elections. In 2018 the king changed the name of the kingdom to Eswatini [Siswati,=place of the Swazi].

Bibliography

See C. P. Potholm, Swaziland: The Dynamics of Political Modernization (1972); B. Nyeko, Swaziland (1982); A. Booth, Swaziland (1984).

References in periodicals archive ?
Even though eSwatini is a small landlocked nation in Southern Africa, MOFA is listing more than NT$1.36 billion (US$44.4 million) for construction, social development and public health projects in its African ally, the Central News Agency reported Wednesday.
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group A - Egypt vs Uruguay - Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg, Russia - June 15, 2018 Egypt team group before the match REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge CAIRO -- 16 October 2018: Egypt defeated eSwatini 2-0 on Tuesday, Oct.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) rubbished foreign media reports suggesting diplomatic ally eSwatini will switch allegiances to China, by saying that the fake news is part of a "disinformation campaign," on Aug.
Eswatini (in their first major qualification bid since changing their name from Swaziland) lost 2-1 to Djibouti, but remain very much alive in the tie thanks to their away goal, while Guinea-Bissau edged Sao Tome and Principe 1-0 away from home with a late penalty from Nanu.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Lesotho Rugby Union played host to Mozambique and Eswatini Rugby Unions for the second edition of Rugby Africa (http://www.RugbyAfrique.com/) Sevens, Southern Region.
ENPNewswire-September 4, 2019--Economic recovery plan is on track and showing results, says finance minister of Eswatini's new 'Cabinet of CEOs'
Zesco United (Zambie) 1-0 Green Mamba (Eswatini) (2-0)