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Lesotho, officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country enclaved by South Africa. It is a mountainous country situated in the Maloti Mountains and contains the highest mountains in Southern Africa. Lesotho has an area of just over 30,000 km2 (11,600 sq mi) and has a population of about 2 million. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. The official languages are Sesotho and English.

Lesotho was previously the British Crown Colony of Basutoland, but it declared independence from the United Kingdom on 4 October 1966. It is now a fully sovereign state and is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The name Lesotho roughly translates to “land of the Sotho”.

The original inhabitants of Lesotho were the San people. Examples of their rock art can be found in the mountains throughout the area.

Modern Lesotho, then called Basutoland, emerged as a single polity under King Moshoeshoe I in 1822. Moshoeshoe, a son of Mokhachane, a minor chief of the Bakoteli lineage, formed his own clan and became a chief around 1804. Between 1820 and 1823, he and his followers settled at the Butha-Buthe Mountain, joining with former adversaries in resistance against the Lifaqane associated with the reign of Shaka Zulu from 1818 to 1828.

The Basuto pony, one of the unique species of horse breed, arrived in Basutoland in 1825. In rural areas of Lesotho, the horse-like species has existed as a popular mode of transport.

Further evolution of the state emerged from conflicts between British and Dutch colonists leaving the Cape Colony following its seizure from the French-allied Dutch by the British in 1795, and also from the Orange River Sovereignty and subsequent Orange Free State. Missionaries Thomas Arbousset, Eugène Casalis, and Constant Gosselin from the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, invited by Moshoeshoe I, were placed at Morija, developing Sesotho orthography and printed works in the Sesotho language between 1837 and 1855. Casalis, acting as translator and providing advice on foreign affairs, helped set up diplomatic channels and acquire guns for use against the encroaching Europeans and the Griqua people. Wikipedia

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