Full Name
Kingdom of Lesotho (English)
Muso oa Lesotho (Sesotho)
Origins of name: The name is derived from the Sotho People, the dominant ethnic group

Formerly: Basutoland

Current Leader
Prime Minister – Motsoahae Thomas Thabane


Emerged under the Great King Moshoeshoe in 1822

The present Lesotho emerged under the Great King Moshoeshoe in 1822
It is an enclave within the Republic of South Africa.
The culture is mainly native Bantu
Former British colony
Achieved independence on October 4, 1966


Form of Government
Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Head of State is the Prime Minister

Government Structure
King, Prime minister, Bicameral parliament

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for military service: 507,951 (2008)
Expenditures: 2.6% of GDP (2006)
Branches: Lesotho Defence Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing) (2008)

Former Rulers
1965- 1965 Sekhonyana Nehemia Maseribane- Prime Minister
1965 to 1986 Joseph Leabua Jonathan- Prime Minister
1986-1991 Justin Metsing Lekhanya - Chief of Military Council and Head of Government
1991-1993 Elias Phisoana Ramaema – Chief of Military Council and Head of Government
1993 - 1998 Ntsu Mokhehle Prime Minister
August 17, 1994- September 14, 1994 Hae Phoofolo – interim Prime Minister
1994 - 1998 Ntsu Mokhehle – Prime Minister
1998 - 2012 Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili

Altitude: 1,544 metres
Population: 118,355 people

Size: 2,194,000 (2011)
Life Expectancy: 40.4 years
Gender make-up: Female - 51.05%, Male –48.95%

Area: 30,355sqkm
Land Boundaries: South Africa 909km

Major Languages
Sesotho, English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

GDP per capita

$1,105 (2011)

$1,103 (2010)

Religious Portfolio
Christianity 80%, Indigenous beliefs 20%

National Make-up
Sotho 99.7%, Europeans Asians and other 0.3%

Natural Resources
Water, Agricultural and grazing land, Diamonds, Sand, Clay, Building stone, Bauxite

Main exports
Water (fresh to South Africa), Diamonds, Clothing, Wool, Mohair, Food, Livestock

Land Use
Arable land: 10.87%
Permanent crops: 0.13%
Other: 89% (2005)


Dialling Code

Internet Code

Main Airport: Maseru - Moshoeshoe International Airport located 19km South of Maseru
Main Port: Landlocked

Modern issues

Severe soil erosion and soil exhaustion

Mr. Mosisili endured what was called “the mother of all protests”. People from all walks of life joined the throng, demanding Mosisili fight for the rights of the poor, stamp out corruption and there were loud calls for him to get out of business and avoid taking part in business associations

Depends on South Africa as a buyer of its main natural resource – fresh water
Lesotho relies on remittances from miners employed in South Africa and customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union for the majority of government revenue
The government has recently strengthened its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties
Textile exports which slowed down due to recession effects are picking up

HIV/Aids is trapping more women into poverty
Lesotho has been given props for its gender equality! The small nation is ranked eighth in the world by the World Economic Forum when it comes to bridging the gap between the sexes

Foreign Policy issues
Lesotho’s geographical location makes it extremely vulnerable to political and economic developments in South Africa
Lesotho has historically maintained close ties with the US, European Union member states, and other Western countries

The Major Conflicts
There was no armed struggle for independence in Basutoland, it was a peaceful transition

1986 military coup
When: January 20,1986
Who: Government of Chief Leabua Jonathan Vs Lesotho's military
Why: Governance issues
Outcome: State of emergency was declared, the government was overthrown and military ruled until 1993

Lesotho intervention
When 1998
Who: Lesotho Government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, South Africa and Botswana vs Rebel Lesotho Army troops
Why: Disputed election results
Outcome: SADC sponsored talks which restored peace

What to see
Gateway to the Maluti
Treasure House of History (Maseru)
The Drakensberg Mountains/rooftop of Africa
Masitise Cave House

Popular Sports
Athletics (long distance running)

Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Thabiso Paul Moqhali - is a famous marathon runner from Lesotho who won gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur
Emanuel Thabiso Nketu –is a popular boxer from Lesotho who has represented his country in Commonwealth Games

Notice at the Maseru Central Prison stated that no female visitors wearing see-through clothing, miniskirts or trousers would be allowed to see the inmates

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