[bech-oo-ah-nuh-land, bek-yoo-]
Bechuanaland: see Botswana.
officially Republic of Botswana formerly Bechuanaland

Country, southern Africa. Area: 224,848 sq mi (582,356 sq km). Population (2005 est.): 1,765,000. Capital: Gaborone. Some two-thirds of the population are ethnic Tswana; other main groups include the Khalagari, Ngwato, Tswapong, Birwa, and Kalanga. There are also small groups of Khoekhoe and San, some of whom follow a traditional nomadic way of life. Languages: English (official), Tswana. Religions: Christianity (mostly independent and unaffiliated Christians; also Protestant), traditional beliefs. Currency: pula. Botswana is essentially a sand-filled basin, with a mean elevation of about 3,300 ft (1,000 m). Part of the Kalahari Desert is in the southwest and west, while the Okavango Swamp is in the north. The only sources of permanent surface water are the Chobe River, which marks the Namibian boundary; the Okavango River, in the far northwest; and the Limpopo River, which marks the South African boundary in the southeast. The economy traditionally depends on livestock raising; the development of diamond mining has increased the country's wealth. Botswana is a republic with one legislative body; its head of state and government is the president. The region's earliest inhabitants were the Khoekhoe and San. Sites were settled as early as AD 190 during the southerly migration of Bantu-speaking farmers. Tswana dynasties, which developed in the western Transvaal in the 13th–14th centuries, moved into Botswana in the 18th century and established several powerful states. European missionaries arrived in the early 19th century, but it was the discovery of gold in 1867 that excited European interest. In 1885 the area became the British Bechuanaland Protectorate, remaining so until the 1960s. In 1966 the Republic of Bechuanaland was proclaimed as an independent member of the British Commonwealth, and later that year its name was changed to Botswana. Independent Botswana tried to maintain a delicate balance between its economic dependence on South Africa and its relations with the surrounding black countries; the independence of Namibia in 1990 and South Africa's rejection of apartheid eased tensions.

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List of Colonial Heads of Bechuanaland

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Tenure Name Notes
British Suzerainty
Bechuanaland Protectorate
1884 to January 1885 John Mackenzie, Resident  
23 March 1885 to 24 September 1885 Sir Charles Warren, Special Commissioner, Military Commander
24 September 1885 to 30 September 1885 Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Carrington, Special Commissioner, Military Commander
(30 September 1885 to 16 November 1885Divided into British Bechuanaland Crown Colony (north) and Bechuanaland Protectorate (south)
British Bechuanaland Crown Colony
30 September 1885 to 23 October 1885 Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Carrington, Special Commissioner, Military Commander
23 October 1885 to 16 November 1885 Sidney Godolphin Alexander Shippard, Administrator
Bechuanaland Protectorate
30 September 1885 to 1887 Sidney Godolphin Alexander Shippard, Administrator
1887 to 9 May 1891 Sir Sidney Godolphin Alexander Shippard, Administrator  
Bechuanaland High Commission Territory
9 May 1891 to 1895 Sir Sidney Godolphin Alexander Shippard, Resident Commissioner  
Under the High Commissioner for Southern Africa to 3 October 1963
19 November 1895 to 1897 Francis James Newton, Resident Commissioner  
21 December 1897 to 1900 Hamilton John Goold-Adams, Resident Commissioner  
January 1901 to 1906 Sir Ralph Champneys Williams, Resident Commissioner  
1906 to 1916 Francis William Panzera, Resident Commissioner  
1916 to 1917 Edward Charles Frederick Garraway, Resident Commissioner  
1917 to 1923 James Comyn MacGregor, Resident Commissioner  
1923 to 1927 Jules Ellenberger, Resident Commissioner  
1928 to 1930 Rowland Mortimer Daniel, Resident Commissioner  
1930 to 1937 Charles Fernand Rey, Resident Commissioner  
1937 to 1942 Charles Noble Arden-Clarke, Resident Commissioner  
1942 to 1946 Aubrey Denzil Forsyth-Thompson, Resident Commissioner  
1946 to 1950 Anthony Sillery, Resident Commissioner  
1950 to 1953 Edward Betham Beetham, Resident Commissioner  
1953 to 1955 William Forbes Mackenzie, Resident Commissioner  
1955 to 1959 Martin Osterfield Wray, Resident Commissioner  
1959 to 1963 John Redcliffe Maud, Resident Commissioner  
1963 to 3 October 1963 Peter Fawcus, Resident Commissioner  
3 October 1963 to 1964 Peter Fawcus, Commissioner  
1964 to 1 August 1964 Sir Peter Fawcus, KBE, CMG, Commissioner  
1 August 1964 to 3 March 1965 Sir Peter Fawcus, KBE, CMG, Commissioner  
Bechuanaland Self-Rule
3 March 1965 to 1965 Sir Peter Fawcus, KBE, CMG, Commissioner  
1965 to 1966 Hugh Selby Norman-Walker, Commissioner  
1966 to 30 September 1966 Sir Hugh Selby Norman-Walker, Commissioner  
30 September 1966 Independence as Republic of Botswana

For continuation after independence see: Heads of State of Botswana


  • African States and Rulers, John Stewart, McFarland
  • Heads of State and Government, 2nd Edition, John V da Graca, MacMillan Press 2000
  • Whitaker's Almanack 1965, J. Whitaker and Sons Ltd

See also

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