Lesotho is an independent country that exists entirely within the borders of South Africa. This unique arrangement is the result of a complex history that involves political boundaries, colonial rule, and the natural geography of the region.
The region that is now Lesotho has been inhabited by the Sotho people for centuries. In the early 19th century, the Sotho people formed a powerful kingdom under the leadership of Moshoeshoe I. Moshoeshoe I successfully defended his people against invading forces from the Boers and the British, and he was able to establish a strong and independent state.
However, in 1868, after years of conflict, the British annexed Basutoland, as Lesotho was then known, as a protectorate. This was done to establish control over the region and to secure the trade routes that passed through Lesotho. The British administration attempted to exert control over the Sotho people, but they were met with resistance and were ultimately forced to grant the kingdom a degree of autonomy.
In the early 20th century, the Union of South Africa was formed, and the British agreed to transfer control of Basutoland to the new South African government. However, due to the resistance of the Sotho people, the British government decided to keep Basutoland as a protectorate.
In 1966, Basutoland became an independent country and was renamed Lesotho. Lesotho’s independence was recognized by the South African government and the international community, and it became a fully sovereign state. However, because it is completely surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho has a unique relationship with its larger neighbor.
In summary, Lesotho exists inside South Africa because it was originally a powerful kingdom and later a protectorate under the British rule, which later gained independence in 1966. The Sotho people’s resistance to colonial rule and the natural geography of the region have helped to shape Lesotho’s unique political boundaries.