Lesotho (pronounced li-soo-too), is officially the Kingdom of Lesotho. Formerly known as Basutoland, it was constituted as a native state under British protection by a treaty signed with the native chief Moshoeshoe in 1843. It was annexed to Cape Colony in 1871, but in 1884 it was restored to direct control by the Crown. The colony of Basutoland became the independent nation of Lesotho on October the 4th, 1966, with King Moshoeshoe II as sovereign.
Surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho is a land locked country and is commonly known as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its mountainous terrain and height above sea level - Lesotho has the highest "low point" of any country in the world. The country itself is about the size of Belgium and has a population of around 1.8 million people.
Lesotho's capital city is called Maseru, it is located on its Western border with South Africa. It is also the only country in Africa where people live above the snow line. Lesotho is also famous for suffering the largest number of lightening strikes in the world.
The Basotho people (the local inhabitants of Lesotho) are renowned for their crafts, and their traditional products have a reputation for good quality, individuality and variety. For many years ponies were their only means of transport through the mountainous terrain, resulting in a strong tradition of horse-riding and breeding.
The traditional Basotho Hat, or mokorotlo, is the best known of a fine range of grass-works made in Lesotho. It's conical shape is seen everywhere in the kingdom, and is the recognized symbol of the country.