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Lesotho, History

The original inhabitants of what is now Lesotho were the San. By the 16th century Sotho groups had settled in the region. In the early 19th century, Shaka, a Zulu chief in southeastern Africa, began to expand the Zulu empire, causing the forced migrations of many different peoples during a period known as the mfecane. At that time Moshoeshoe, a leader of a Basotho village, led his people to the mountain of Butha-Buthe, where they survived several battles. In 1824 Moshoeshoe moved to a better protected site on the top of another mountain, called Thaba Bosiu. His policy of granting protection to refugees from other conflicts meant that he gathered an increasingly large group of people under his authority. This group eventually formed Basutoland.

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