Kingdom of Lesotho

Political Status: Traditional monarchy, independent within the Commonwealth since October 4, 1966.

Area: 11,720 sq. mi. (30,355 sq. km.).

Population: 1,862,275 (1996C); 2,571,000 (2006E), excluding expatriate workers in South Africa (approximately 150,000 in 1999).

Major Urban Center (2005E): MASERU (185,000).

Official Languages: English, Sesotho.

Monetary Unit: Loti (principal rate November 2, 2007: 6.58 maloti = $1US). The loti is at par with the South African rand, although under a Tripartite Monetary Area agreement concluded between Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa on July 1, 1986, the rand has ceased to be legal tender in Lesotho.

Sovereign: King LETSIE III; became king upon the dethronement of his father, King MOSHOESHOE II, on November 6, 1990; voluntarily abdicated upon his father’s return to the throne on January 25, 1995; became king again ...

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