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Ninety percent of the population is said to speak Setswana.The term Setswana refers both to Tswana language, and to Tswana practices/culture, and there has been increasing resistance to the dominance of Setswana as national language by speakers of other languages in the country; language-revival movements have also emerged.But the word also refers to ethnically "Tswana" people, as distinct from the other ethnic groups present in the country.This double meaning allows for both the expression of strong civic national sentiments and debate about the dominance of Tswana people and ideology over the broader population.Missionization of Tswana began in 1816, and throughout the nineteenth century Tswana polities were drawn into trade, Christianity, and the migrant labor economy centered in South Africa, while defending themselves against incursions from the north, east, and south.In 1885 the British declared the area the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and in a famous visit to Britain in 1895, three of the Tswana kings petitioned to remain under the British instead of being governed by the British South Africa Company.The term Batswana, however, bears a double meaning.
The entire country is prone to extended droughts, causing significant hardship to agriculturalists, pastoralists, and hunter-gatherers.
The Okavango Delta, in the north, is a large inland delta, and people there fish and farm on its flooded banks; tourists are drawn to the large numbers of wildlife that congregate in the area.
The eastern third of the country, with more rainfall and fertile soils, is home to most of the population.
Many urban residents today continue to maintain a house in a village of origin, and many men and some women also develop cattleposts.
Villages are distinguished from towns and cities by a significant engagement in agriculture by residents, and by the political structure of the settlement.
Herders and agriculturalists from a Bantu tradition appeared more than two-thousand years ago.