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LESOTHO

Located 1,000 m above sea level, Lesotho is a mountainous landlocked country located within South Africa. It is sometimes known as 'Kingdom in the sky' , the name of the country means people who speak sesotho. The airport of Matekane has a 400m landing strip runway that extends over a cliff, thus making it one of the world's most notorious airports.  Lesotho's capital city is called Maseru. 2,074,465 people live in an area covering 30,355 km2. 40% people live under the poverty line.
200.000 million years ago, the Lesothosaurus dinosaur lived there - it was shaped like a small T-rex and its bones were excavated in 1978.  The first inhabitants of Lesotho were the Basarwa or San-people who were hunter-gatherers - they left cave paintings. They were largely replaced by Wasja-speaking tribes largely during the last phase of the Bantu migrations around AD 1000. The present Lesotho, then called Basutoland, emerged as a nation-state under King Moshoeshoe I  in 1822. His tribe followers were called the Bakwena. Moshoeshoe and his followers settle around the Butha-Buthe Mountain, joining up with former adversaries in their resistance against the Lifaqane, a people who have associations with Shaka Zulu the leader of the Zulu tribe in what is now South Africa. The first Boer settlers arrived from the Netherlands on the western borders of the tribal region, claiming land rights. In order to halt the flood of settlers, Moshoeshoe signs a treaty with the British governor of the Cape Colony which establishes Basutoland as a protectorate on 13 December 1843. The Boers have to be suppressed in a short-lived action by the British in 1848 and the British pull out of the area. The Basotho fought another war against the Boers in 1858. In 1868, Moshoeshoe appeals directly to Queen Victoria and in 1868, Basutoland becomes one of Britain's High Commission Territories. The administration of Basutoland is transferred to the Cape Colony. The British treated Basutoland in the same way as any of their conquered territories, and this leads to the Gun War in 1881. In 1884, Basutoland is returned to the status of protectorate with autonomous head of states. Basutoland is granted autonomy by Britain, becoming a kingdom on 30 April 1965 with Moshoeshoe II on the throne. It gained its independence in 1966 and the country was renamed 'Lesotho'. With a few exceptions, Lesotho has been a monarchy since then and the current king is Letsie III son of Moshoeshoe II.
 
On the flag of Lesotho, there is a basotho hat which is the national symbol, it is shaped like a cone and topped off with a knot.
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