Population: 1 942 008

GDP: 2 457 000 000.00 $



Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled the country during its first two decades. King Moshoeshoe was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995 and subsequently succeeded by his son, King Letsie III, in 1996.



Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Batswana military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability.



Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties disputed how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly. In May 2012, competitive elections involving 18 parties saw Prime Minister Motsoahae Thomas Thabane form a coalition government - the first in the country's history - that ousted the 14-year incumbent, Pakalitha Mosisili, who peacefully transferred power the following month.



Population: 1,942,008


Nationality: noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)  adjective: Basotho.


Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%.


Languages: Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa.


Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%.



GDP: $2 457 000 000.00 (2013).

Military Organization


Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing).


Lesotho's declared policy is maintenance of its independent sovereignty and preservation of internal security; in practice, external security is guaranteed by South Africa; restructuring of the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) and Ministry of Defense and Public Service over the past five years has focused on subordinating the defense apparatus to civilian control and restoring the LDF's cohesion; the restructuring has considerably improved capabilities and professionalism, but the LDF is disproportionately large for a small, poor country; the government has outlined a reduction to a planned 1,500-man strength, but these plans have met with vociferous resistance from the political opposition and from inside the LDF.


Conflicts and Disputes


South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration.

Geographical Information and Map


Capital: Maseru


Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa. Lesotho is landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level.


Geographic coordinates:

29 30 S, 28 30 E



total: 30,355 sq km

land: 30,355 sq km

water: 0 sq km


Land boundaries:

total: 909 km

border countries: South Africa 909 km.


Coastline: 0 km (landlocked).


Natural resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone.