Dialing code +266
ISO 2 code LS
ISO 3 code LSO
Capital Maseru
Main Language English
Currency Loti (LSL)
GDP $3.4 billion 164th
Population 1,919,552 147th


Continent Africa
Location Southern Africa an enclave of South Africa
Land 30,355 km2 142nd
Terrain Mostly highland with plateaus hills and mountains
Climate Temperate; cool to cold dry winters; hot wet summers
Natural Hazards Mostly highland with plateaus hills and mountains
Note: Landlocked completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous more than 80% of the country is 1 800 m above sea level

Neighbouring Countries

South Africa


Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990 but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998 violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswanan military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002 but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to periodically demonstrate their distrust of the results.
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Life Expectancy 40.38 years 203rd
Median Age 21.4 years 149th
Birth Rate 24.14 births/1,000 population 67th
Death Rate 22.2 births/1,000 population 3rd
Sex Ratio 0.66 male(s)/female 173rd
Literacy 84.8% 136th

1.9 million


Roadways 7091 km 145th
Railways None km
Airports 28 119th
Waterways None km
Heliports None
Airports paved 1 145th


Currency Loti (LSL)
GDP $3.4 billion 164th
GDP per capita (PPP) $1600 173rd