Swazi - History and Cultural Relations

Swazi history dates back to the late sixteenth century, when the first Swazi King, Ngwane II, settled southeast of modernday Swaziland. His grandson Sobhuza I established a permanent capital and drew within a centralized political system the resident Nguni and Sotho people. During the mid-nineteenth century, Sobhuza's heir, Mswati II, from whom the Swazis derive their name, expanded the Swazi nation to an area much larger than modern Swaziland. Mswati established contact with the British. By the late nineteenth century, Mswati's successor, Mbandzeni, granted Europeans land concessions for grazing and prospecting, thus unwittingly giving rise to serious, prolonged conflicts regarding land-usage rights. In 1894 the Boer and British powers granted the South African Boer Republic of the Transvaal control over Swaziland. After the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), Britain made Swaziland a protectorate. The Partitions Proclamation of 1907 confirmed the concessionaires control of two-thirds of the land, which was contested in 1922 by King Sobhuza II. Today the Swazi nation controls about two-thirds of the land area (see "Land Tenure"). Swaziland became independent in 1968.

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