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Lesotho:
Geography

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Lesotho Page


Background
Definition
Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswanan military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to periodically demonstrate their distrust of the results.
Location
Definition
Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates
Definition
29 30 S, 28 30 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 30,355 sq km
land: 30,355 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 909 km
border countries: South Africa 909 km
Coastline
Definition
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
Definition
none (landlocked)
Climate
Definition
temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Terrain
Definition
mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
Natural resources
Definition
water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 10.87%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 89% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
30 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
5.2 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.05 cu km/yr (40%/40%/20%)
per capita: 28 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues
Definition
population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, and soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls, stores, and redirects water to South Africa
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level


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