Lesotho-flagLesotho <<lay SOO too>> is a mountainous country in Africa. It is surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Lesotho is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the Indian Ocean. Maseru <<MAZ uh ROO>> is the capital and largest city.

Most of Lesotho’s people are African people called Basotho or Basuto. They live in villages and raise crops on nearby land. The people own all the land together, and the chiefs decide where each family will farm. The Basotho also raise animals.

Lesotho is a beautiful country, but it is poor. Too much farming has worn out the soil. There are not enough jobs for everyone, so many men go to South Africa to work. Factories in Lesotho make clothing, processed food, and textiles. The country also mines diamonds.

In the late 1700′s and early 1800′s, wars between African peoples broke out. Some groups escaped into the area that is now Lesotho-mapLesotho, where they were protected by a strong chief named Moshoeshoe. Both the British and Dutch settlers fought Moshoeshoe’s people. Finally, Moshoeshoe asked Britain for help. The area came under Britain’s control. It was called Basutoland. Basutoland became the independent kingdom of Lesotho in 1966.

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