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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: 2,231,479 (2012E—UN); 1,930,439 (2012E—U.S. Census).

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

Official Languages: English, Sesotho.

Monetary Unit: Loti (official rate November 5, 2012: 8.67 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 on February 7, 1996, following the death of his ...

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