a kingdom in southern africa, an enclave lying within the republic of south africa. Its capital is maseru. It was mostly uninhabited before 1800. In the early 19th century it had many disputes with the boers. First receiving british protection in 1843, it was annexed in 1868 and made part of cape colony in 1871. It became a british colony in 1884 and gained independence in 1966. Sotho is the name of the indigenous people, probably meaning black. The plural is basotho which gave the former name basutoland.