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see EswatiniEswatini
or eSwatini,
formerly Swaziland
, 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Kingdom of Swaziland), a country in Southern Africa, a member of the British Commonwealth. Swaziland borders on the Republic of South Africa and on Mozambique. Area, 17,400 sq km. Population, 480,000 (1974, estimate). The capital is the city of Mbabane. The country is divided into four administrative districts.

Government. Swaziland is a monarchy; the head of state is the king (ngwenyana). A constitution granted by the British government in 1968 remained in force until 1973. On Apr. 16, 1973, the king abolished the constitution and assumed full legislative and executive powers, which he exercises jointly with the cabinet of ministers. The traditional organs that retain an important role in Swaziland’s political system include the Liqoqo council, composed of the king, his mother, the oldest princes, and several chiefs (a total of 30 persons), and the Swazi National Council (Libandla), composed of all the members of the Liqoqo council and all chiefs, together with the chiefs’ advisers and the most prominent tribal elders.

Power on the local level is exercised by chiefs and councils subordinate to them. The two types of courts in the judicial system are the courts of written law and traditional courts, the latter having limited jurisdiction and trying cases on the basis of traditional law and custom.

Natural features. The surface of Swaziland is a plateau, descending in the east toward the coastal plain of Mozambique in three parallel belts. The belts, each of which is 20 to 70–80 km wide, are at different elevations. They are named the highveld (elevation, 1,500–1,000 m), the middle veld (800–400 m), and the lowveld (300–150 m). The lowveld is bordered on the east by the Lebombo Mountains (maximum elevation, 770 m). The country has deposits of asbestos, iron ore, and anthracite. The climate is transitional between subtropical and tropical; summers are humid. Average monthly temperatures vary from 12°–15°C to 20°–24°C. Annual precipitation ranges from 500–700 mm in the east to 1,200–1,400 mm and more in the west. The country’s rivers have many rapids and show a wide variation in flow rate; the valleys of many rivers are swampy. The flora in the western part of the country is typical of a savanna, with acacias and baobabs and, in places, parklands; pines have been planted in this part of the country. In the east, thickets of xerophytic shrubs predominate. The fauna is typical of the African savanna.

Population. Africans constitute 98 percent of the population. They speak the Bantu languages Siswati (more than 80 percent) and Zulu. The population also includes several thousand Europeans and Afrikaners. Siswati and English are the official languages. The majority of the population retain local traditional beliefs; the rest are Christians. The official calendar is the Gregorian calendar.

The natural growth rate of the population is 2.9 percent a year. The birthrate is 52.3 per 1,000 inhabitants, and the death rate 23.5 per 1,000. The population density is highest in the middle veld. Although peasants constitute the majority of the population, industrial development is creating a working class. Some of the Africans are exploited as workers on the farms of the Europeans or as laborers in South Africa. The principal cities are Mbabane (20,700 inhabitants in 1973), Havelock, Manzini, and Stegi.

Historical survey. In the early 19th century, the territory of what is now Swaziland was settled by Swazi tribes, who had been pushed out from the south by other tribes. Later, in the 1820’s and 1830’s, the Swazis fought bloody wars against the Zulus and other neighboring tribes who raided their territory. In the late 1830’s, the chief Mswati succeeded in creating a federation of Swazi clans over a territory almost three times the size of present-day Swaziland. In the early 1840’s, this territory became the object of aggressive designs on the part of European colonialists. The Boers were especially active, buying huge tracts of land for almost nothing from Mswati and his successors. Annexed by the Boer republic of Transvaal in 1894, Swaziland became a British possession after the Boer War of 1899–1902. In 1903 it was declared a British protectorate and given its present name. Most of the territory belonging to the Swazis was incorporated into the Union of South Africa; white settlers in the protectorate seized over 50 percent of the land.

The people of Swaziland struggled unceasingly against colonialism. In the 1920’s this struggle took the form of a campaign, led from 1921 by the paramount chief, Sobhuza II, for the return of the land seized by Europeans.

The first organizations in Swaziland to be led by the country’s black intelligentsia arose in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. These organizations sought an improvement in the conditions of the Africans within the framework of the colonial regime. The Swaziland Progressive Association, founded in 1929, strove to achieve greater opportunities for Swazis in education, trade, and public affairs. The country’s first newspaper, Izwi Lama Swazi, began publication in 1934.

The anticolonial movement experienced a new upsurge in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The Swaziland Progressive Party, formed in 1960 as a successor to the Progressive Association, advocated independence for the country. As a result of a party split in 1961, a new party, the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress, came into existence in 1962 and assumed the leadership of the liberation struggle.

The British colonialists were forced to grant concessions. A constitution introduced in 1963 provided for limited self-government. The first general elections to the Parliament were held in 1967; victory went to the Imbokodvo National Movement, a party founded in 1964 that reflected the interests of the clan and tribal elite. A new constitution, adopted in 1967, proclaimed Swaziland a constitutional monarchy; paramount chief Sobhuza II became king. In 1968, after protracted negotiations, the British government agreed to grant independence to Swaziland. Independence and independent status within the British Commonwealth were proclaimed on Sept. 6, 1968, and on Sept. 24, 1968, Swaziland was admitted to the United Nations.

In April 1974, Sobhuza II abrogated the constitution, disbanded Parliament, and outlawed political parties. Having concentrated all the power in his hands, Sobhuza governs the country jointly with the cabinet of ministers, which has been headed since 1976 by Colonel Mafevu Dlamini.

Swaziland’s foreign policy is to maintain economic and political ties with the Republic of South Africa and Great Britain, at the same time seeking to develop relations with the independent countries of Africa.

Economy. Economically an underdeveloped country, Swaziland is linked to the Republic of South Africa by currency and customs agreements. Agriculture and mining form the basis of the economy, and land cultivation is the occupation of most of the population. While there is an acute shortage of land, a considerable part of the land under cultivation is owned by immigrants from Europe, whose farms account for the greater part of the commodity output. The 1972 harvest of principal crops included 120,000 tons of maize, 8,000 tons of rice, 1,800,000 tons of sugarcane, and 69,000 tons of citrus fruits. Animal husbandry is of less importance; only in certain regions of the highveld is transhumant cattle raising a basic occupation. In 1972–73 there were 600,000 head of cattle, 260,000 goats, and 40,000 sheep. Since the trees in much of the natural forest have been felled, there is now tree farming, which occupies an area of 100,000 hectares.

Prior to independence, Swaziland had almost no industry; there was only one asbestos mine and a few manufacturing enterprises. Since independence mining and, to a lesser extent, manufacturing industries have developed. Asbestos is mined near Havelock (approximately 34,000 tons in 1972), iron ore on Bomvu Ridge (2.9 million tons in 1973), and anthracite in the vicinity of Stegi (approximately 143,000 tons in 1972). The country has woodworking plants, canneries, and sugar refineries (179,000 tons of sugar in 1974). Electric energy generated in 1972 totaled 107 million kilowatt-hours.

Swaziland’s only railroad is 221 km long and connects the country with the port of Lourenço Marques in Mozambique. There are 2,700 km of roads in the country (1971 estimate), most of which are unpaved.

In 1972, exports totaled 65.5 million rands, and imports 53.3 million rands. Swaziland exports asbestos, iron ore, lumber, sugar, and animal products and imports petroleum products and manufactured goods. The country’s principal trading partners are the Republic of South Africa, Great Britain, and Japan. Foreign tourism is developing. The monetary unit is the lilangeni, which as of December 1974 was 1 South African rand and US $1.45. L.N. RYTOV

Education and cultural affairs. Missionary schools appeared in the early 19th century. There is no compulsory education. There are seven years of primary education, and children begin school at age six. Instruction is in the native tongue in the lower grades and in English in the upper grades and in secondary school. Secondary education lasts five years, with three years in form 4 (equivalent to junior high school) and two years in form 5 (senior high school). In the 1973–74 academic year, there were 81,700 pupils in primary schools and 12,500 students in secondary schools. In that year the two teachers colleges in Manzini had an enrollment of approximately 340, and there were more than 600 students in vocational-technical schools. The city of Mbabane has a vocational training center, and there is also an industrial institute and an agricultural college. Until 1972 higher education could be obtained only at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland in Roma, Lesotho. (Founded as a college in 1945, this school became a university in 1964.) In 1972 a campus of the university was set up in Swaziland in Luyengo. The campus has departments of science and agriculture and an enrollment of 276. The country’s central library is in Manzini (founded 1972), and there are public libraries in Mbabane, Manzini, and other cities.


Press and radio. The weekly newspaper Times of Swaziland (founded 1897; circulation, 8,900 [1974]) is published in Mbabane, as is the publication Umbiki (founded 1968; circulation, 5,000), a Siswati-language organ of the government information service published every two weeks.

A government radio service was set up in 1967, with the radio station located in Mbabane. Broadcasts are in Siswati and English.


Noveishaia istoriia Afriki. Moscow, 1968. Pages 540–51.
Kuper, H. The Swazi: A South African Kingdom. London, 1963.
Halpern, J. South Africa’s Hostages: Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland. London, 1965.
Stevens, R. Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. London, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Kingdom of Swaziland

Capital city: Mbabane

Internet country code: .sz

Flag description: Three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (triple width), and blue; the red band is edged in yellow; centered in the red band is a large black and white shield covering two spears and a staff decorated with feather tassels, all placed horizontally

Geographical description: Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa

Total area: 6,704 sq. mi. (17,363 sq. km.)

Climate: Varies from tropical to near temperate

Nationality: noun: Swazi(s); adjective: Swazi

Population: 1,133,066 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: African, overwhelmingly Swazi 97%, Euro­pean 3%

Languages spoken: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

Religions: Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indige­nous ancestral worship), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, other (includes Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mor­mon, Jewish) 30%

Legal Holidays:

Boxing DayDec 26
Christmas DayDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
King Father's BirthdayJul 22
King's BirthdayApr 19
National Flag DayApr 25
New Year's DayJan 1
Somhlolo DaySep 6
Workers' DayMay 1
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a kingdom in southern Africa: made a protectorate of the Transvaal by Britain in 1894; gained independence in 1968; a member of the Commonwealth. Official languages: Swazi and English. Religion: Christian majority, traditional beliefs. Currency: lilangeni (plural emalangeni) and South African rand. Capital: Mbabane (administrative), Lobamba (legislative). Pop.: 1 083 000 (2004 est.). Area: 17 363 sq. km (6704 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
President Tsai reiterated the two plans she proposed on Thursday, aiming at strengthening the relationship between Taiwan and Swaziland. The Taiwan government will provide full scholarships to less advantaged Swazi students who wish to study in Taiwan and encourage Taiwanese teachers to work in Swaziland.
In January 2015, Swaziland became ineligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
HRH Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini, the Principal Princess and member of Royal Advisory Board, officially launched the Miss Swaziland Tourism 2015 pageant in May 2015 and Lindelwa was chosen first princess of the contest and got the place to represent the 'Miss Tourism World' contest being held in Malaysia in December 2015.
The newspaper said the 46-year-old man is a driver employed by the government of Swaziland.
Applauding the UAE for promoting mutual cooperation and stronger relations between the UAE and the Kingdom of Swaziland, His Excellency Martin Dlamini, Minister of Finance in Swaziland, expressed his deep appreciation of ADFD's active role in promoting economic development in his country through funding various developmental project in vital economic sectors.
Swaziland's ruler, however, defended the airport, which was built under the name Sikhuphe International Airport but was on Friday renamed King Mswati-III International Airport.
Ends/SH/KH New York, Sep 19 (ONA) The Sultanate and the Kingdom of Swaziland signed a joint statement on establishment diplomatic relations between them, stemming from the existing relations of cooperation and friendship between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
As Africa celebrates the consecration of Swaziland's Ellinah Wamukoya as its first ever Anglican female bishop, she spoke to New African on a wide range of issues including her stand on politics under King Mswati, the sensitive topic of gay marriage, the HIV/Aids pandemic and why education holds a lot of answers.
When I was a sophomore, I decided to travel to Swaziland to finish high school.
In September 2012, Swaziland's prime minister announced the government's intention to enforce Swaziland's new Child Protection and Welfare Act by prosecuting men who marry underage girls.

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