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Swaziland:
Geography

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Swaziland Page


Background
Definition
Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured King MSWATI III, the world's last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises in recent years. A constitution came into effect in 2006, but political parties remain banned. The African United Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully to register as an official political party in mid 2006. Talks over the constitution broke down between the government and progressive groups in 2007. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
Location
Definition
Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa
Geographic coordinates
Definition
26 30 S, 31 30 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 17,363 sq km
land: 17,203 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 535 km
border countries: Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km
Coastline
Definition
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
Definition
none (landlocked)
Climate
Definition
varies from tropical to near temperate
Terrain
Definition
mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Great Usutu River 21 m
highest point: Emlembe 1,862 m
Natural resources
Definition
asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 10.25%
permanent crops: 0.81%
other: 88.94% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
4.5 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 1.04 cu km/yr (2%/1%/97%)
per capita: 1,010 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
drought
Environment - current issues
Definition
limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note
Definition
landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa


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