Today in labor history: Swaziland gains independence

Today in 1968, the nation of Swaziland officially became independent from its former colonial ruler, the United Kingdom.

While Britain controlled most of southern Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it agreed to recognize Swazi independence in 1881. However, it was then placed under the administration of the independent South African Republic, which was annexed by the UK in 1900. The republic was also known as Transvaal, and became a province of South Africa bearing the same name.

In 1963, Swaziland became a British protectorate, and stayed in that position until granted independence in 1968. The country became the only total monarchy in Africa, where all political parties were banned. However, a growing resistance by democrats, communists and others has been pushing for greater rights and democracy, including a demand from some of the activists, for the abolition of the monarchy itself, currently personified by King Mswati III.

Photo: Mswati III. Marco Castro/Flickr