16 Facts About Barotseland


Barotseland is an unrecognized kingdom between Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.

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Under the British colonial administration, Barotseland was a Protectorate of the British Crown from the late 19th-century.

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The Litunga, the Lozi word for the king of Barotseland, had negotiated agreements, first with the British South African Company, and then with the British government that ensured the kingdom maintained much of its traditional authority according to the Litunga.

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Barotseland was essentially a nation-state, a protectorate within the larger protectorate of Northern Rhodesia.

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In 1964, Barotseland became part of Zambia when that country achieved independence.

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In pre-colonial times, Barotseland included some neighbouring parts of what are now the Northwestern, Central and Southern Province as well as Caprivi in northeastern Namibia and parts of southeastern Angola beyond the Cuando or Mashi River.

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Origins of Barotseland are unclear, but are a prominent subject in Lozi mythology.

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At the time, Barotseland was already a monarchy, when Lealui and Limulunga were seasonal capitals of the Lozi kings.

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In 1845 Barotseland had been conquered by the Makalolo from Lesotho – which is why the Barotse language, Silozi, is a variant of Sesotho.

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Later, these two were administratively combined as simply "Northern Rhodesia", later divided up in five Provinces and Barotseland, which was treated slightly differently from the rest.

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The Barotseland Agreement granted Barotse authorities local self-governance rights and rights to be consulted on specified matters, including over land, natural resources and local government.

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Notably, the Local Government Act of 1965 abolished the traditional institutions that had governed Barotseland and brought the kingdom under the administration of a uniform local government system.

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Barotseland independentists continued to lobby to be treated as a separate state and was given substantial autonomy within the later states, Northern Rhodesia and independent Zambia.

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In 2013, Barotseland became a member of the UNPO, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, joining Tibet and Taiwan at this international organisation dedicated to giving a voice to peoples who are currently unrepresented at the United Nations.

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Traditional constitutional monarchy of Barotseland has Nilotic origins with the kingdom originally divided into north and south.

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Various activist groups championing the self-determination of Barotseland have since formed one umbrella organisation called the Barotse National Freedom Alliance which is headed by the former Ngambela of Barotseland Clement W Sinyinda.

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