The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Bechuanas
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|Edition of 1920. See also Tswana people on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
BECHUANAS, an important tribe of south African negroes, inhabiting the Transvaal. Next to the Kaffirs they are the most significant of the many native tribes, politically considered. Though naturally of a peaceful disposition, they are very far advanced in military and civil organization. The cultivation of maize or corn and the herding of cattle are their main occupations, though they are also noted as workers in leather and metals. Their villages are far more advanced structurally than those of the Zulus, their habitations being divided into various rooms and constructed with the object of allowing circulation of air. The various communities, each under the rule of a local chief, are federated into powerful kingdoms, at the head of which is a king, or supreme chief. In color the Bechuanas are about the complexion of American Indians though considerably smaller in stature. See Bechuanaland.