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The area now called The Kingdom of Lesotho (pronounced le-Soo-too) was originally Basutoland.
English is the second official language, dating back to 1868 when Lesotho was placed under the British for protection against South African aggression. Picturesque villages, herdboys with their flocks, men on horseback, and women wearing the national dress of Moshoeshoe depicted in the angora wool wall hangings and rugs of Basotho fame.
The Basotho hat, a conical woven hat with a distinctive topknot, is a symbol of Lesotho's unification.
At the end of the twentieth century these figures could alter rapidly as the HIV/AIDS crisis impacts the general population.
The people of Lesotho are called Basotho (plural) and Mosotho (singular).
The culture is cohesive, with Basotho comprising over 99 percent of the country's population, the remainder being of Asian of European origin.
The national anthem is "Lesotho, Land of our Fathers" ( Lesotho fatse la bontat'a rona ). Lesotho was originally inhabited by the Bushmen who roamed southern Africa, as evidenced by the Bushmen drawings and paintings in the river gorges.
Moshoeshoe established fortresses in the mountains and consolidated the Sotho-speaking inhabitants into a nation in the early 1800s.
During the middle of the 1800s, the Basotho nation lost much of its territory to the Boers in a series of wars.
It lies between latitudes 28 degrees and 31 degrees south and longitudes 27 degrees and 30 degrees east.
The lowlands in the west and south rise from forty-five hundred feet (fifteen-hundred meters) to the highlands of the Maluti and Drakensberg mountain ranges whose highest point, Thabana Ntlenyana, is approximately 10,400 feet (thirty-five hundred meters).