At the end of the 19th century, Botswana was the theater of rivalries between English, German and Boer, and, following the Berlin Conference of 1885, it was declared a British Protectorate and was named Bechuanaland, that literally means "Bechuana Land" , namely Batswana or Tswana.

The Bechuanaland was subsequently divided into two parts.

The part of the country South of the Molopo River became the British Bechuanaland and in 1895 became part of the Cape Peninsula, today this territory is part of South Africa and the Molopo River marks part of the border between South Africa and Botswana.

The North part of the Molopo and Limpopo rivers, instead, took the name of the Protectorate of Bechuanaland, to which some lands were added in the Eastern part in 1890, territories claimed by the Ndebele.

Initially Britain intent was to entrust the administration of the Protectorate to South Africa or Rhodesia, but the Tswana opposed this choice and then the Protectorate remained under the direct control of the Crown until independence and was administered from 1891 onwards, along with Lesotho and Swaziland, by the High Commissioner of South Africa.

During the colonial period, the capital was Mafeking, today Mafikeng, this city was located in the British Bechuanaland and therefore, when it was under South Africa's control, there was a curious anomaly: the capital of the country was, in fact, outside the territory of the country itself.

In 1895 Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company sought to buy the present territory of Botswana, but three Tswana leaders came to London to protest against this possibility and therefore there was no follow of the sale.

The High Commissioner of South Africa was first managed by the Governor of the Province of Cape, then by the Governor General of South Africa and later by some British Governors and Commissioners, up to the year of independence.

The Bechuanaland Protectorate had its first constitution in 1960, that was amended five years later with a view to granting independence in 1966; always in 1965 the capital was moved to Gaborone that, unlike Mafikeng, was within the Protectorate's territory.

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