The African country Eswatini was formerly known by what name?

Question: The African country Eswatini was formerly known by what name?

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Eswatini, a small landlocked country in southern Africa, was formerly known by the name “Swaziland” before undergoing a significant name change in 2018. The nation is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its west, south, and southeast. Spanning an area of just over 17,000 square kilometers, it’s one of the smallest countries in Africa.

Swaziland’s history as a name traces back to the 19th century when British colonizers and traders established their presence in southern Africa. The country was named after the Swazi people, its predominant ethnic group. The Swazi Kingdom, under King Mswati II, resisted the Boer trekkers’ advances in the late 19th century. However, by the end of the century, facing pressures from both British and Boer colonizers, the kingdom became a British protectorate. It remained so until 1968 when Swaziland gained its independence. Despite this freedom, the name “Swaziland” remained in official use for another 50 years.

Fast forward to 2018, on the 50th anniversary of the nation’s independence from British colonial rule and marking King Mswati III’s 50th birthday, a significant announcement was made. The country would no longer be known as Swaziland but would revert to its native name, “Eswatini,” which translates to “Land of the Swazis” in the Swazi language. The change was more than cosmetic. It represented a move to shed the country’s colonial past and embrace its cultural and historical roots.

While the name change was lauded by many as a proud reclamation of the nation’s identity, it was also met with some criticisms, especially from those who felt that more pressing socioeconomic issues needed the king’s attention. Nonetheless, Eswatini stands today as a testament to the importance of names and the power they wield in shaping national identity and history.