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You are in:  Nations > Africa > Swaziland
Swaziland*Swaziland flag
Basic facts
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The country 
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Capital: Mbabane
Area: 17,363 sq km; 6,704 sq miles
Population: 1,004,072 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 34 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 66 per cent (1998 Estimate)
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Economy

Exports: Sugar, soft drink concentrates, wood pulp, cotton yarn, asbestos

Industry: Mining (coal and asbestos), wood pulp, sugar

Agriculture: Cash crops: sugar cane, cotton, maize, tobacco, rice, citrus fruits, pineapples; other crops and livestock: sorghum, peanuts, cattle, goats, sheep

Currency: 1 lilangeni (E), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydroelectric power, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, talc

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The people

Ethnic: African 97 per cent, European and other 3 per cent

Language: English (official), Siswati (official). The official languages of Swaziland are Siswati, a Bantu language that is closely related to Zulu and English. The latter is used for official written communication.

Religion: Christian 60 per cent, Indigenous beliefs 40 per cent. The majority of the population is officially Christian and belongs to a variety of Christian sects. Many Christians, however, also share the traditional indigenous beliefs held by the non-Christian population. Indigenous religious practices have been influenced by Christianity and vice versa

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The history

Independence: Swaziland achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 September 1968 and King Sobhuza II, who had reigned since 1921, became the official head of the new state

Government: National executive power in Swaziland is vested in a King, who appoints and is assisted by a Prime Minister and a Council of Ministers. The bicameral parliament consists of a National Assembly with 65 members, 55 of who are directly elected and 10 who are appointed by the King and a 30-member Senate, 20 of who are appointed by the King and 10 who are elected by the National Assembly. Judicial authority is vested in a High Court, a Court of Appeal and subordinate courts. There are also traditional courts for ethnic Swazis only. A chief justice presides over the judiciary.

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