Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland (Swazi: Umbuso weSwatini), and sometimes called Ngwane or eSwatini, is a landlockedcountry in southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th-century king Mswati II.
Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west. The western half is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. The climate is temperate in the west, but may reach 40 °C (104 °F) in summer in the lowveld. Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in the west.
The area that Swaziland now covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose primary language had been siSwati but now is being mixed with English.Depending on the social class either language could be spoken as a first language. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Anglo-Boer War saw the United Kingdom make Swaziland a protectorate under its direct control. Swaziland gained independence in 1968. Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state is the king, who appoints the prime minister and a small number of representatives for both chambers of parliament. Elections are held every five years to determine the majority of the representatives. A new constitution was adopted in 2005.
Some 75% of the population practice subsistence farming, and 60% of the population live on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day.Swaziland’s main trading partner is South Africa, and its currency is pegged to the South African Rand. Some Swazis make their living by growing marijuana, which is sold to South Africa. Swaziland’s economic growth and societal integrity is highly endangered by its HIV epidemic, to an extent where the United Nations Development Program has written that if it continues unabated, the “longer term existence of Swaziland as a country will be seriously threatened.”. Swaziland has the highest national HIV prevalence in the world at 26.1% of adults between the ages of 15 and 49,, peaking at 54% among pregnant women aged 30-34. In the CIA World Factbook, Swaziland is ranked 191st out of 198 countries inlife expectancy, with an average life expectancy of only 47.36 years. Swaziland is also one of the most unequal countries in the world, with a GINI coefficient of 51.5 .
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