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History, Colonial Rule

Moshoeshoe, Basutoland, Afrikaners, Basotho, Cape Colony

In the 1830s white settlers from the Cape Colony, called Afrikaners, or Boers, left the colony because they felt oppressed by British rule and began to invade Moshoeshoe’s territory. The Basotho fought the settlers in numerous border incidents. Fighting between Moshoeshoe’s forces and those of the Afrikaners continued until the 1860s, and Moshoeshoe lost some of his land. In 1868 Moshoeshoe asked for British help, and Britain made Basutoland a protectorate. Moshoeshoe died in 1870. In 1871 Basutoland was placed under the control of the Cape Colony, but Britain resumed direct control in 1884, after a war between the Cape Colony government and the Basotho.

Once the Cape Colony and other British colonies were united to form the Union of South Africa (later the Republic of South Africa) in 1910, the British government assumed that Basutoland would eventually be incorporated into South Africa. The South African government repeatedly requested this incorporation, but the Basotho consistently refused. The Basutoland National Council, created in 1910, asked the British government for internal self-government in 1955. In 1960 an elected legislative council was established. When general elections were held in 1965, the Basutoland National Party (BNP, which became the Basotho National Party at independence) won a majority of seats in the legislature; the leader of the BNP, Chief Joseph Leabua Jonathan, became prime minister. Basutoland became the independent country of Lesotho on October 4, 1966. The king, Moshoeshoe II, attempted to enlarge his authority, but his efforts were checked by the prime minister.

Article key phrases:

Moshoeshoe, Basutoland, Afrikaners, Basotho, Cape Colony, BNP, protectorate, British colonies, British rule, general elections, Boers, South African government, legislature, majority of seats, Union of South Africa, British government, prime minister, independence, direct control, incorporation, war, Britain, authority, leader, Republic of South Africa, king, efforts


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