eSwatini profile


A chronology of key events:

1894 - Britain and the Boer Republic of Transvaal jointly rule Swaziland.

1907 - Swaziland becomes a British High Commission territory.

1921 - King Sobhuza II succeeds to the throne.

1962 - The Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) is formed.

1964 - Swaziland's first constitution enters into force.

1964 - King Sobhuza establishes a political party, the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM). It secures all the seats in the new Legislative Council.

1967 - A new constitution comes into effect, providing for the introduction of self-government once independence is gained.

1967 - The Legislative Council is dissolved. Elections to a new bicameral parliament - including a House of Assembly and Senate - take place. The INM gains all 24 elective seats in the lower house. Despite not gaining any seats, the NNLC emerges as the main opposition.


1968 - Swaziland is granted formal independence, within the Commonwealth, and adopts a new constitution. Authority is vested in the new parliament, a proportion of the members are nominated by the monarch.

1972 - Elections to the House of Assembly see the INM retaining 21 seats and the NNLC gaining the remaining three.

1973 - King Sobhuza suspends the constitution and bans political parties.

1977 - The parliamentary system is abolished and replaced by traditional tribal communities.

1978 - The new constitution enshrines electoral representation by 'Tinkhundla'. Under the system candidates are nominated by Tinkhundla's (local councils) and elected by secret ballot. The king retains the power to appoint a proportion of parliamentarians. Parliament's role is advisory.

1979 - New parliament is opened.

King Mswati III crowned

1982 - The body advising on Swazi tradition - the Swaziland National Council - made up of members of the royal family, is renamed the Supreme Council of State (Liqoqo).

1982 - King Sobhuza dies.

1982 - Queen Mother Dzeliwe is authorised to act as Regent until Prince Makhosetive reaches 21.

1983 - Queen Regent Dzeliwe is deposed. Queen Ntombi, Prince Makhosetive's mother, is made regent.

1983 - The People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) is formed.

1986 - Prince Makhosetive is crowned - three years early - and assumes the title of King Mswati III.

1986 - King Mswati dissolves the Supreme Council of State (Liqoqo).

1991 - King Mswati agrees to review the Tinkhundla system by setting up a commission. Pudemo rejects the commission.

1992 - The king sets up a second commission to review political reforms.

1992 - Pudemo rejects the second commission's proposals. King Mswati dissolves parliament and announces he will govern by decree until the elections.

1997 - Half of the labour force observes a general strike called by the SFTU. The government declares the strike illegal.

Aids epidemic

2003 October - Parliamentary elections; pro-democracy activist Obed Dlamini wins a seat.

2004 March - UN Aids envoy says Swaziland has the world's highest rate of HIV infection.

2004 July - King proposes to build new royal residences to house some of his wives.

2005 August - King signs a new constitution.

Opposition protests

2007 July - Thousands protest in the commercial capital Manzini to press for democratic reforms.

2008 September - Opposition groups boycott elections as part of their campaign for multi-party elections.

2010 September - Pro-democracy demonstrators march through Manzini, despite the arrest of some 50 activists the previous day.

2011 November - Swaziland is hit by a budget crisis described by the IMF as "critical", with the government struggling to pay the salaries of public sector workers.

2013 August, September - Parliamentary polls. Candidates participate as individuals because parties are barred from contesting elections.

2018 April - King Mswati announces that the country is to change its name to eSwatini.

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