Prior to independence, Botswana was called Bechuanaland Protectorate. The protectorate status was extended by the British Government on 31 March 1885 following requests made by Batswana Dikgosi (chiefs), Khama III of Bangwato, Sebele I of Bakwena, and Bathoen I of Bangwaketse. The three (3) Dikgosi feared invasion of their territories by other groups such as the Shona, the Ndebele and the Boers. Initially, most Botswana Dikgosi, except the three Dikgosi, were suspicious of and resisted British protection. The Dikgosi eventually agreed but cautioned that protection should not entail British rule, but only protection against external threat.
During the era of the Bechuanaland Protectorate, various attempts were made to incorporate the territory into Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the Union of South Africa (now South Africa). However, due to fierce opposition from Batswana Dikgosi, some British missionaries, and later, the Batswana nationalist leaders, such attempts were defeated.
The path to independence
During 1963 and 1964, a series of constitutional discussions about self-government and a founding constitution took place. These talks were motivated in part by the desire to prevent the incorporation of Bechuanaland into the Union of South Africa.
In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. In 1965, the seat of Government was moved from Mafikeng, South Africa, to newly established Gaborone.
The first general elections were held in March 1965. The result was a landslide victory by the Botswana Democratic Party led by Sir Seretse Khama, which won 28 of the 31 contested seats. The remaining three (3) seats were won by the Botswana Peoples Party led by Mr. Phillip Matante. On the 30 September 1966, an independent country was born, the Republic of Botswana, under the Presidency of Sir Seretse Khama. He led the country until his death in 1980. He was succeeded by the then Vice President, Sir Ketumile Masire, who retired from office in 1998. The then Vice President, Mr. Festus Mogae, assumed the Presidency and retired in 2008. Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama took over the presidency on 1st April 2008 and when his term ended in 31 March 2018, Dr. Mokgweetsi E. K Masisi assumed the position of of President of the Republic of Botswana became the President on 1st April 2018.