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sunnuntai 19. kesäkuuta 2016

Swaziland, Cool Facts #118

<= 117. Sierra Leone                                                                                                 119. Tanzania => 

The current flag of Swaziland was adopted in 1968, when Swaziland gained independence from Great Britain. The design of the flag is based on the flag given by King Sobhuza II to the Swazi Pioneer Corps in 1941.

Red = past battles
Blue = peace and stability
Yellow = resources of the country
The shield and two spears = symbolizes protection from the country's enemies and its color shows that black and white people live peacefully together in Swaziland
Three blue injobo tassels = represents the power of the king, who is the only one to use these feathers

Swazi warriors with shields and spears

2. Swazi Kingdom Independence 

The Swazi settlers arrived to Swaziland from areas of the present-day Mozambique. The Swazi conquered and incorporated the local clans to the Swazi. King Mswati II was the greatest fighting kings of Swaziland extending the area of the country to twice its current size. 

The British recognized Swaziland in 1881 despite the Scramble of Africa. The Boers and British were fighting against each others and local African tribes during that time for the control of present-day South Africa. 

In 1894 Swaziland became a protectorate of Transvaal, which was a Boer Republic. The Boers and British started the Second Boer War in 1899 and in 1902 it ended in a British victory. Swaziland became a British Protectorate after the war and was part of Great Britain until its independence in 1968. 

Swaziland and neighboring countries in 1885

3. Swaziland-South Africa Relations

Swaziland is economically and politically linked to South Africa. During the apartheid era the countries were in close cooperation, when ANC's activity was forbidden in Swaziland. 

The ANC supporters were persecuted. Swaziland offered an easy way to bypass the international embargo imposed on South Africa.

The apartheid government of South Africa was ready to negotiate about handing over a Swazi populated region in the Kwa-Zulu bantustan as a reward of Swaziland's loyalty. Swaziland would have got access to sea if the border change would have happened, which in the end didn't.

4. Last African Absolute Monarchy 

Swaziland is one of the last seven absolute monarchies in the world and the last one in Africa. In absolute monarchy the monarch has absolute power among his or her people. 

In 1968 when Swaziland became independent it was a constitutional monarchy until 1973, when King Sobhuza II, who had reigned since 1921 repealed the constitution, dissolved the parliament, forbid the activity of political parties and returned many of the king's powers. 

The parliament had only advisory tasks after Swaziland became an absolute monarchy. King Sobhuza II died in 1982. The king's son was still under-aged so the Queen Regent Dzeliwe Shongwe ruled until 1984 but she was overthrown by Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala, who ruled until 1986. The current king Mswati III was crowned as king in 1986. 

In the 1990s several labour and student protests demanded for reforms. The demands for reforms culminated in a new constitution in 2005. The first parliament elections under the new constitution were in 2008 and the elected members serve a 5-year term. The second elections were in 2013.
King Mswati III
Map of the world's monarchies
5. Swazi Society

- Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in Africa 
- Swaziland's life expectancy 50 years is among lowest of the world 
- HIV/AIDS prevalence 26,5% of the population is the highest in the world (WHO, 2011) 
- About 90% of the imports come from South Africa 
- SiSwati the official language together with English in Swaziland 
- 83% of the population adheres to Christianity
- About 2/3 of the population live in poverty 


300s First evidence of agriculture and the use of iron
1000s People speaking languages ancestral to current Sotho and Nguni languages began settling
1700s The Swazi settlers moved to the region and established Kingdoms
1881 The British recognized the Swazi independence despite the Scramble for Africa
1894 Swaziland became a protectorate of the South African Republic aka Transvaal
1903 Swaziland became a British protectorate after the Second Anglo-Boer War
1968 Swaziland became independent as a part of the British Commonwealth 
1973 King Sobhuza II suspended the constitution, who ruled the country until his death
1982 King Sobhuza II died after 61 years of ruling the country
1986 Mswati III was crowned as king
1990s Student and labour protests pressuring the king to introduce reforms
2005 The current constitution was introduced
2011 Economic crisis due to reduced SACU receipts

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