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Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured King MSWATI III, Africa's last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises in recent years. A constitution came into effect in 2006, but the legal status of political parties remains unclear. The African United Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully to register as an official political party in mid 2006. Talks over the constitution broke down between the government and progressive groups in 2007. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.


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Geography

Location
Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa

Geographic coordinates
26 30 S, 31 30 E

Map references
Africa

Area World Ranking: 159
Total 17,364 sq km
Land 17,204 sq km
Water 160 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries
Total 535 km
Border countries
Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km

Coastline
0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims
None (landlocked)

Climate
Varies from tropical to near temperate

Terrain
Mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Great Usutu River 21 m
Highest point Emlembe 1,862 m

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

Land use
Arable land 10.25%
Permanent crops 0.81%
Other 88.94% (2005)

Irrigated land
500 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
4.5 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 1.04 cu km/yr (2%/1%/97%)
Per capita 1,010 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Drought

Environment - current issues
Limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
Signed, but not ratified Law of the Sea

Geography - note
Landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa


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  Swaziland (Mbabane):


  GPS points from Swaziland (Mbabane)

Madlangampisi Hhohho District

Sikupa Kop Swaziland (general)

Nsoka Lubombo District

Ingwovuma River Swaziland (general)

Ntototsha Kop Swaziland (general)

Darkton Hhohho District

Madisi Kop Swaziland (general)

Mavukulu Kop Swaziland (general)




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