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Lesotho, officially the “Kingdom of Lesotho,” is a small country of 2 million inhabitants totally surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. The reception of Christian missionaries by King Moshoeshoe of the BaSotho in the mid-1800s gave Sotho religious practices a global dimension they have never lost. Moshoeshoe welcomed evangelical missionaries from Paris in the hope that they would help him protect his kingdom. He had good reason to fear. Not long thereafter, the kingdom lost much of its arable land to Afrikaners from the adjacent Orange Free State.

Although Moshoeshoe never officially became a Christian, much of his elite entourage did. The missionaries' purveyance of literacy, ploughs, stone houses, and wagons bolstered his authority. Under missionary influence, he reformed burial rites, abolished youths' initiation rituals, ...

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