Botswana gained its independence from Britain in 1966, after having been a protectorate (and later colony) from 1885. The vast majority of the population are of the Batswana tribe, with Setswana being the main language. English is also very widely spoken throughout the country, as it is taught in all schools.
The Botswana economy is driven mainly by mining (diamonds in particular), tourism and cattle farming. Less than 1% of the total land area is arable, most of which is found in the eastern part of the country, with the principal crops for domestic use being sorghum, corn and millet.
Botswana has been the world's largest producer of gem diamonds since the early 1980’s. Four large diamond mines have opened since independence, with the single richest diamond mine in the world opening in Jwaneng in 1982. Collectively, the mines produced over 30 million carats (6 000 kg) of diamonds (approximately 25% of the world’s production) in 1999 alone.
With a surface area roughly the size of France, Botswana is relatively flat. The Kalahari Desert, which it shares with Namibia and South Africa, covers approximately 70% of the country. Botswana has one of the largest deltas in the world -
Botswana was the setting for the 1980’s movie, The Gods Must Be Crazy, even though most of it was filmed in South Africa. More recently, tourism has been stimulated by the series of detective novels, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander Mc Call Smith, and as a stopover in season 7 of ‘The Amazing Race’.