The Tswana or Batswana people are the principal inhabitants of the country formerly known as Bechuanaland. The territory was declared a British protectorate in 1895 administered by the High Commissioner in South Africa until the post was abolished in 1964. Proposals for the merging of Bechuanaland and the other two High Commission Territories into South Africa were strongly opposed. Economically, however, the country was closely tied to that of South Africa and has remained so. In Dec. 1960 Bechuanaland received its first constitution. Further constitutional change brought self-government in 1965 and independence on 30 Sept. 1966. Botswana had difficulties with the neighbouring settler regime in Rhodesia, until that country became Zimbabwe in 1980. Relations with South Africa were also strained until the ending of apartheid. Today Botswana is one of the few African countries to enjoy stability and (2009 apart) a fast-growing economy.
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