The term Batswana, however, bears a double meaning.In government rhetoric, it refers to all citizens of Botswana. Formerly Bechuanaland Protectorate under the British, Botswana became independent in 1966.Bot swana means "place of Tswana" in the dominant national language ( Set swana), and the citizenry are called Bat swana, or Tswana people.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.
Villages are distinguished from towns and cities by a significant engagement in agriculture by residents, and by the political structure of the settlement.
Households in the Tswana polities often maintained three residential sites: one in a village, one at agricultural holdings around the village periphery, and one farther out at the cattlepost.
Cattleposts, where livestock are kept, are today sometimes complex compounds with several houses and nearby agricultural fields, and sometimes just an animal pen or two and a ramshackle shelter for the herder(s).
The traditional Tswana residential area is a compound, often housing several closely related family groups.
Into the 1990s, much urban housing was financed and built by the government, and repeated a few basic patterns, including one that retained a courtyard structure, which later became unpopular.
While very high growth rates in the 1970s and 1980s have declined, high birth rates and declining infant mortality have led to a population structure heavily skewed toward young people: 43 percent of the population was under fifteen in 1991.