In the Kingdom of Swaziland, artifacts going back to the early Stone Age, approximately 200,000 years ago, have been discovered. Prehistoric rock art paintings may be discovered all throughout the nation, dating from approximately 25,000 BC to the nineteenth century.
Khoisan hunter-gatherers were the first known residents of the area. During Bantu migrations from the Great Lakes areas of eastern and central Africa, they were mainly supplanted by Bantu tribes. Agriculture and the usage of iron may be traced back to the fourth century. People who spoke languages that are related to the present Sotho and Nguni languages started arriving in the 11th century.
Swazi settlers (18th century)
Before entering Swaziland, the Swazi settlers, known as the Ngwane (or bakaNgwane), had established themselves on the banks of the Pongola River. They had previously lived near present-day Maputo in the Tembe River region. Ngwane III established his capital at Shiselweni, at the foot of the Mhlosheni hills, as a result of ongoing war with the Ndwandwe people.
The Ngwane people ultimately built their capital at Zombodze in present-day Swaziland under Sobhuza I. In the process, they conquered and assimilated the country’s long-established clans, known to Swazis as Emakhandzambili.
Swaziland gets its name after Mswati II, a later monarch. KaNgwane, named after Ngwane III, is a nickname for Swaziland, whose royal family’s surname is still Nkhosi Dlamini. Nkhosi literally translates to “king.” Mswati II was the most powerful of Swaziland’s warrior monarchs, expanding the country’s territory to double its present extent. The Emakhandzambili clans were given a lot of autonomy when they first joined the country, and they were frequently given unique ceremonial and political status. Mswati, who attacked and conquered several of them in the 1850s, severely limited their autonomy.
Mswati’s strength allowed him to significantly diminish the Emakhandzambili’s authority while also integrating additional people into his realm, either via conquest or asylum. Emafikamuva was the Swazi name for these later immigrants. The Bemdzabuko, or genuine Swazi, clans that followed the Dlamini monarchs were known as the Bemdzabuko.
The British and Dutch control of southern Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries had an impact on Swaziland’s autonomy. Despite the Scramble for Africa that was going on at the time, the British government signed a convention in 1881 recognizing Swazi independence. The convention of 1884 acknowledged this independence as well.
Following the death of King Mbandzeni in 1889, Swaziland experienced a triumviral government in 1890 due to disputed land/mineral rights and other concessions. The British, Dutch republics, and Swazi people were represented by this administration. A treaty established Swaziland as a protectorate of the South African Republic in 1894. This lasted until the beginning of the Second Boer War in October 1899, when Ngwane V took power.
After the beginning of the Boer War in December 1899, King Ngwane V died in Incwala. Sobhuza, his successor, was four months old at the time. With numerous skirmishes between the British and the Boers happening throughout the nation until 1902, Swaziland was indirectly engaged in the war.
British rule over Swaziland (1906–1968)
Swaziland became a British protectorate in 1903, after the British victory in the Anglo-Boer war. Until 1906, when the Transvaal colony was given self-government, most of its early administration (for example, postal services) was carried out from South Africa. Swaziland was thus divided into European and non-European (or native reserve) zones, with the former accounting for two-thirds of the entire geographical area. Sobhuza was formally crowned in December 1921, after the regency of Labotsibeni, and then led a fruitless delegation to the Privy Council in London in 1922 over the land problem.
Between 1923 and 1963, Sobhuza created the Swazi Commercial Amadoda, which granted licenses to small companies on Swazi reserves, as well as the Swazi National School, which challenged the missions’ supremacy in education. With time, his prestige rose, and the Swazi royal authority was successful in resisting the British administration’s waning power and the union of Swaziland with South Africa.
Britain issued the constitution for independent Swaziland in November 1963, under which legislative and executive bodies were formed. The Swazi National Council was opposed to this development (liqoqo). Despite the resistance, elections were held on September 9, 1964, and the first Legislative Council of Swaziland was formed. Britain approved changes to the previous constitution suggested by the Legislative Council, and a new constitution with a House of Assembly and Senate was drafted. In 1967, elections were conducted under this constitution.
Swaziland was briefly a Protected State until regaining independence in 1968.
Following the 1973 elections, King Sobhuza II suspended the constitution of Swaziland and governed the nation by decree until his death in 1982. Sobhuza II had governed Swaziland for 61 years at this time. Following his death, a regency was established, with Queen Regent Dzeliwe Shongwe serving as head of state until she was deposed by Liqoqo in 1984 and replaced by Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala. Mswati III, the son of Ntfombi, was crowned King and Ingwenyama of Swaziland on April 25, 1986.
During the 1990s, student and labor demonstrations increased, putting pressure on the monarch to implement changes. As a result, constitutional changes started to take shape, culminating in the adoption of the present Swaziland constitution in 2005. Despite political activists’ protests, this occurred. The position of political parties is not explicitly defined under the present constitution.
In 2008, the first election under the new constitution was held. A total of 55 constituencies were used to elect members of parliament (also known as tinkhundla ). These members of Parliament served five-year mandates that ended in 2013.
Due to decreased SACU revenues, Swaziland had an economic crisis in 2011. As a result, Swaziland’s government requested a loan from neighboring South Africa. The Swazi administration, on the other hand, did not agree with the loan’s terms, which included political changes.
During this time, the Swaziland government was under increasing pressure to implement further changes. Civic organizations and labor unions began to stage more public demonstrations. The Swazi government’s budgetary pressures were relieved by increases in SACU revenues beginning in 2012. On September 20, 2013, the new parliament, the second after the constitution’s adoption, was elected. The monarch appointed Sibusiso Dlamini as Prime Minister for the third time.