Kingdom in S Africa, bordering on Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa. Its capital is Mbabane. Bantu people were here in the 16th century.
It was settled in the 1880s by the Swazi branch of the Zulu nation, whose aggressions they fled. Its independence was guaranteed in 1881 and 1884 by the British and Transvaal governments. Following the Boer War of 1899 to 1902, it was administered by the British governor of the Transvaal. In 1906 his powers were transferred to a British High Commissioner.
The Swazi Paramount Chief gained full internal authority in 1941. In 1949 Great Britain rejected South Africa’s request for control over Swaziland, and in 1963 limited self-government was introduced.
Independence was granted in 1968. King Sobhuza II began his reign in 1921, strengthened his power in 1973, and died in 1982. Prince Makhosetive Dlamini was selected as his successor and was crowned King Mswati III in 1986.
South Africa raided the country repeatedly during the late 1980s searching for ANC dissidents operating from Swaziland . In 1992 there was a severe drought in Swaziland . During the 1990s, protest actions by prodemocracy activists put pressure on the king to enact reforms. Swaziland ’s first limited parliamentary elections were held in 1993. Elections were also held in 1998, but the king still holds most power, and political parties remain officially banned.