Friday, September 30, 2005

History of Swaziland

History of Swaziland. This is a history of the African nation of Swaziland. Of note, Swaziland still practices the Umhlanga Reed Dance where young maidens dance topless for the king. The current monarch (Mswati III) picks a new wife at this event every year.

Wikidepia notes, "The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small country in southern Africa (one of the smallest on the continent), situated on the eastern slope of the Drakensberg mountains, embedded between South Africa in the west and Mozambique in the east. The country is named after the Swazi, a Bantu tribe."

From the site:

According to tradition, the people of the present Swazi nation migrated south before the 16th century to what is now Mozambique. Following a series of conflicts with people living in the area of modern Maputo, the Swazis settled in northern Zululand in about 1750. Unable to match the growing Zulu strength, the Swazis moved gradually northward in the 1800s and established themselves in the area of modern or present Swaziland.

They consolidated their hold under several able leaders. The most important was Mswati II, from whom the Swazis derive their name. Under his leadership in the 1840s, the Swazis expanded their territory to the Northwest and stabilized the southern frontier with the Zulus.

Contact with the British came early in Mswati's reign, when he asked British authorities in South Africa for assistance against Zulu raids into Swaziland. It also was during Mswati's reign that the first whites settled in the country. Following Mswati's death, the Swazis reached agreements with British and South African authorities over a range of issues, including independence, claims on resources by Europeans, administrative authority, and security. South Africans administered the Swazi interests from 1894 to 1902. In 1902 the British assumed control.

No comments: