Gaborone, named after Kgosi (king) Gaborone (1820-1932) chief of the Batlokwa people who had settled in the area, was known as Gaberones Village until 1965. The area was called Bechuanaland in colonial times and came under British protection in March 1885 following pleas for assistance from Kgosi Khama III of the Bamangwato people following hostilities in the area between the Shona and Ndebele tribes further flamed by the arrival of Boer settlers. The protection amounted to little more than securing the area's borders against other European incursion. Today's Botswana was then administered as the northern Bechuanaland Protectorate and the southern crown colony of British Bechuanaland. On independence, British Bechuanaland was incorporated into Cape Colony in 1895 and is now part of South Africa while the Bechuanaland Protectorate became Botswana. It had the unenviable distinction of being the only territory in the world with its administrative centre lying outside its own boundaries being at Mafeking in South Africa.
As independence loomed it was clear a administrative capital would be required within its own boundaries and, of the nine sites considered, the small settlement at Gaberones Village was deemed most suitable as it already housed some government offices, had a railway line for transport, was close to Pretoria in South Africa, had a major source of water ~ the Ngotwane River and, equally importantly, wasn't associated with any particular tribe. At that time the then Gaberones Village had few other buildings save for the remnants of a colonial fort used as a base to police the area, a prison and a Government Rest House.
Once the location had been identified, work on the earth core fill Gaborone Dam began in 1963 securing a water source for the planned capital and building of the city itself started in earnest in 1964 being largely completed within two years in time to celebrate the birth of the new nation on 30th September 1966 when the town was renamed Gaborone. Today Gaborone, with its population of 273,602, boasts an international airport, stadium, large shopping malls and hotels together with government, industrial and financial hubs. It also serves as a gateway to rural Africa. It achieved city status in 1986.
Gaborone Profile: Volunteer in Botswana
Gaborone Profile: Gaborone City Map
Gaborone Profile: Child Sponsor Botswana
Gaborone Profile: Botswana Country Profile
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