Photo Credit: Gianluigi Guercia
Happy Independence Day: 5 Interesting Facts About Eswatini
This September 6, the Kingdom of Eswatini celebrates its 53rd year of independence from British rule. Though a small country in terms of size— the second smallest in mainland Africa, in fact— it is a dynamic nation with a unique and fascinating culture and history.
Eswatini is a completely landlocked country, surrounded by South Africa on all sides except for the east, which is bordered by Mozambique. Here are five interesting facts about the southeast African nation of Eswatini.
It's Eswatini, Not Swaziland
Though many still refer to the country as Swaziland, it is important to note that it officially became the Kingdom of Eswatini in 2018, when King Mswati III renamed the nation on its 50th independence anniversary.
The country’s natives, however, have always called their homeland Eswatini. The legal name change was just to get the rest of the world on board.
Eswatini is Home to The World's Oldest Mountains
Located in both Eswatini and South Africa, the Makhonjwa Mountains AKA the Barberton Greenstone Belt is the oldest mountain range in the world. Estimated to be over 3.6 billion years old, the range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Makhonjwa Mountains are incredibly beautiful and well-preserved, and are home to a wide range of wildlife and plant species.
Eswatini Has the Only Absolute Monarchy in Africa
There are only a few absolute monarchies left in the world, and Eswatini is the last remaining in Africa.
In this form of government, ultimate authority resides with the king. What he says goes, regardless of law or custom, and his word is final. The king is referred to as Ingwenyama (lion) and he reigns with his mother, who is called Indlovukazi (she-elephant.)
Eswatini Holds the Titles for World's Youngest Crowned King and Longest Reigning King
When he came into power at just 18 years of age, Eswatini’s current ruler, King Mswati III, became the world’s youngest crowned monarch. Coincidentally, Eswatini is also recognized as the country having had the longest reigning monarch in world history.
King Sobhuza II, the father of King Mswati III, ruled the country for almost 83 years.
Eswatini Has Both Black and White Rhinos
Eswatini is one of only a few countries where you can see both black and white African rhinoceroses. With numerous protected areas, there is ample land for the endangered black rhinos and near threatened white rhinos.
Also, Eswatini has very strict anti-poaching rules. Anyone caught poaching animals in the country can be killed on the spot.
Related: Happy Independence Day: 5 Things You Likely Didn’t Know About Rwanda