Swaziland on the world map. Map of Swaziland with cities
Map of Swaziland with cities. Where Swaziland is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Swaziland - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Swaziland Fact File
Official name Kingdom of Swaziland
Form of government Monarchy with two legislative bodies (Senate and House of Assembly)
Area 17,360 sq km (6,703 sq miles)
Time zone GMT + 2 hours
Projected population 2015 1,363,000
Population density 64.7 per sq km (167.7 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 37
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 109.4
Official languages English, Swazi
Other languages Minority languages
Literacy rate 78.3%
Religions Christian 60%, indigenous beliefs 40% Ethnic groups Indigenous 97%, European 3% Currency Lilangeni
Economy Agriculture 60%, industry and services 40 %
GNP per capita US$4,200
Climate Temperate, with wet season November to March
Highest point Emlembe Peak 1,862 m (6,109 ft) Map reference Page 371
A typical kraal (village) in Swaziland (left). A traditional dugout boat on the shore of the Okavango River in Botswana (below). A village in the Maluti Mountains foothills in Lesotho (right page).
Swaziland is a tiny landlocked kingdom almost surrounded by South Africa. Across its eastern border it is about 130 km (80 miles) from the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique port of Maputo. Enjoying relative stability and prosperity, popular among South African tourists for its wildlife reserves, mountain scenery, and casinos, the kingdom's hereditary Bantu monarchy—one of the oldest on the African continent—is now being pressed to modernize and accept constitutional reforms. In 1977 King Sobhuza II dissolved the parliament and assumed absolute power. His son, King Mswati III since 1986, showed little interest in accepting the reforms demanded by widespread student protests during the 1990s. In 1998 he allowed general elections for 55 representatives who, together with ten members appointed by the king, form the parliament. However, he continues to rule autocratically and only grudgingly admits any democratic reforms.
The country owes its autonomy to events in the mid-nineteenth century. The Swazi were then facing Zulu expansion, as well as pressure from Boer farmers. They sought and received British protection, and from 1906 Swaziland became a British protectorate and was administered by the high commissioner for Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (now Botswana), and Swaziland. Full independence came in 1968.
The landscape descends in three steps from west to east. The high veld in the west is mountainous with a temperate climate, and supports grasslands and plantations of pine and eucalyptus. Mixed farming takes place in the middle veld, the most populous area, where black Swazi subsistence farmers grow maize, sorghum, and peanuts. Cash crops such as sugarcane, citrus fruits, and tobacco are produced by often white-run agribusinesses and by Swazi on resettlement schemes. Livestock are raised on the low veld.
Swaziland's economy is relatively diversified and buoyant: during the 1980s it grew at a rate of 4.5 percent a year. Relaxed investment rules have ensured a supply of development capital, and project aid has been forthcoming from a number of donors. Sugar and forestry products are the main earners of hard currency, and are produced by white residents on large plantations. The country has small deposits of gold and diamonds. Mining was once important, but is now in decline. The high-grade iron ore deposits were depleted by 1978 and health concerns have cut the demand for asbestos. Remittances from workers living in South Africa provide up to twenty percent of household income. The main threat to the Swazi way of life comes from land pressure due to high population growth. Family planning is being promoted.