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Shoshong is a town in Botswana, formerly the chief settlement of the eastern Bamangwato.

Physical location

Shoshong is located at latitude -22.95, longitude +26.48, in the Central District, about 200 miles (320 km) N.N.E. of Mafeking and 30 miles (48 km) N. of Shoshong Road Station on the Cape Town-Bulawayo railway. The town is situated 3,000 ft (910 m) above sea level in the valley of the Shoshong, an intermittent tributary of the Limpopo. It is described as a very hot and rocky place, with a lot of hills used for grazing cattle



Shoshong was the capital of the BaNgwato under King Sekgoma I in the 1850s. The site was chosen as being easily defensible against the Matabele. Being the meeting place of trade routes from south and north it was of considerable importance to early explorers (including David Livingstone) and traders in South-Central Africa. A mission station of the London Missionary Society (preceded for many years by a station of the Hermannsburg Lutheran Missionary Society) was founded here in 1862. In 1875, King Sekgoma was overthrown here by his Christian son Khama (later Khama III/the Great). In 1885 (at the time of the declaration of the British protectorate of Bechuanaland) Shoshong had 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants, including about twenty Europeans.

The move to Phalatswe

By the 1880s, Shoshong had existed in the same location for forty years, possibly a record for a Tswana town. But it become a 'Desert City', almost waterless with 'one trickling well' and with 'indescribable filth'. Due to the water shortage, in 1888-89, Khama and most of his followers removed about 1890 to Phalatswe/Palapye, 5 miles (8.0 km) N.E. of Shoshong, and later to Serowe to the north-west of Palapye. Like Shoshong, these places were built in valleys of tributaries of the Limpopo. To make up for the loss of the defensible location, Khama had made an alliance with the British who were preparing a forward movement to take over Mashonaland and Matabeleland.

However, by 1898, Phalatswe was also running short of water, and Khama ordered some of his people back to Shoshong. The Baphaleng returned in 1900, and the Bakaa in 1902, while the capital relocated to Serowe. At the publication of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Shoshong had a population of about 800.

Modern Shoshong

In the 2001 census, the population of "Shoshong and Associated Localities" was listed as 11,176 people, including 7,490 in "Village Shoshong".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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