a republic in southern africa, between namibia and zambia. It was formerly called bechuanaland. Its capital is gaborone. The kalahari desert is in the west and southwest. Botswana was organised as a british protectorate in 1885 and became independent in 1966. The name comes from bo, the prefix for abstract nouns _ tswana, the people themselves. Bechuana in its earlier name is the english corruption of botswana.