country in SE Africa, surrounded by South Africa: formerly the British protectorate of Basutoland, it became an independent member of the Commonwealth in 1966: 11,720 sq mi (30,355 sq km); pop. 1,578,000; cap. Maseru
A country of southern Africa forming an enclave within east-central South Africa. Inhabited originally by the San and later by a variety of Sotho-speaking peoples, the area became a British protectorate in 1868 and achieved its independence in 1966. Maseru is the capital. Population: 2,130,000.