Fast Facts

Maseru; 170,000
30,355 square kilometers (11,720 square miles)
English, Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa
Christian, indigenous beliefs
Loti, South African rand
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $2,700
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Lesotho
Map: Lesotho

In the early 19th century Basotho Chief Moshoeshoe united tribes in this mountainous land surrounded by South Africa. To establish a buffer against Boer expansion, he asked the British to administer the kingdom. Lesotho became independent in 1966. In 1993 it became a constitutional monarchy. Water is Lesotho's major natural resource. Completion of a large hydropower plant in 1998 helps the economy expand through the sale of water to South Africa.


  • Industry: Food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts
  • Agriculture: Corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum; livestock
  • Exports: Manufactures (clothing, footwear, road vehicles), wool, mohair

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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