ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-5, dated 2003-09-05, shows a change in the divisions of Botswana. Chobe and Ngamiland [North-West] have been replaced
by just North-West. The source for this change is information received from the Botswana Department of Surveys and Mapping, dated 2001. The simplest
conclusion would be that Chobe and Ngamiland merged to form North-West in ~2001. The capital of North-West is Maun.
ISO 3166-2 reflected further changes in an update dated 2014-10-29. It added codes for a district, two cities, and four towns. The U.S. government
had already made those changes in its two standards: Geopolitical Entities and Codes (GEC) and Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes (GENC). GEC
is the successor to the FIPS standard; GENC is the U.S. version of ISO 3166-2. Both of the relevant updates (GEC Update 15 and GENC's second
edition) were dated 2014-03-31, scooping the ISO standard by about seven months. The main table below has been updated to match, in the light of
this and other evidence. (The latest ISO update also changed hyphens to spaces in some names, e.g., "North-West" to "North West.")
FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It assigns a GEC code to North-West district.
|Languages||English (en), Setswana (tn)|
Bechuanaland was a British protectorate at the beginning of the 20th century. It became independent, and took the name Botswana, on 1966-09-30. Its
borders have remained almost the same.
Other names of country:
- Danish: Botswana
- Dutch: Botswana, Republiek Botswana (formal)
- English: Republic of Botswana (formal), Bechuanaland (obsolete)
- Finnish: Botswana
- French: Botswana m
- German: Botsuana, Botswana n
- Icelandic: Botsvana
- Italian: Botswana f
- Norwegian: Botswana, Republikken Botswana (formal)
- Portuguese: Botswana, Botsuana, República f do Botswana m (formal)
- Russian: Республика Ботсвана (formal)
- Spanish: Botsuana, República f de Botswana (formal), Bechuania (obsolete)
- Swedish: Botswana
- Turkish: Botsvana Cumhuriyeti (formal)
Origin of name:
Land of the Bechuana, or Tswana (ethnic name)
Botswana is divided into ten districts, four town councils, and two city councils.
- Typ: c = city, d = district, t = town
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global
context, prefix "
BW-" to the code (ex:
BW-LO represents Lobatse).
The GENC standard uses the same codes.
- GEC: Codes from GEC.
- Population: 2011-08-09 census.
Note: the 2011 census report says that two localities in Ghanzi were not enumerated. Their estimated population was 228.
See the Sub-districts of Botswana page.
In addition to the districts, there are town councils and townships. These entities seem to change frequently. Some sources place them on the
same level with the districts. I have classed them as subordinate to the districts. So do the standards.
Some of the districts are subdivided into census districts. In most countries, census districts are inherently variable. They are redrawn for
each new census. For the 1991 census, these four districts had smaller census districts within them (source ).
- Central: Central Mahalapye, Serowe-Palapye, Central Bobonong, Central Boteti, Central Tutume
- Kgalagadi: Kgalagadi-South, Kgalagadi-North
- North-West: Ngamiland South, Ngamiland North, Chobe
- Southern: Ngwaketse, Barolong
- Central includes the town councils or townships of Mahalapye, Orapa, Palapye, Selebi-Phikwe, Serowe, and Sowa.
- North-East includes the town council of Francistown.
- South-East includes the town councils of Gaborone and Lobatse.
- Southern includes the town councils of Barolong and Jwaneng.
The UN LOCODE page for Botswana lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.
- 1885-09-30: British protectorate established over Bechuanaland. By 1890, its territory was equivalent to present-day Botswana. A map for the
period 1885-1899 shows the protectorate divided into tribal reserves, crown lands, and freehold districts. The crown lands are in two sections. One
is roughly the same as present-day Ghanzi and Kgalagadi; the other includes parts of North-West and Central. The tribal reserves are BaTawana (now
the western part of North-West), BamaNgwato (most of Central), BaKgatla (Kgatleng), BaKwena (Kweneng), BaLete (part of South-East), and BaNgwaketse
(Southern). The freehold districts are Tati District (North-East), Gaberones Block, Lobatsi Block (both South-East), BaRolong Farms (a small part of
Southern), and one which is unlabeled but matches the Tuli Block (Central) (source ). The protectorate remained divided into eight tribal
reserves, five farm blocks, and crown lands into the 1930s (source ).
- ~1955: Name of Mochudi district changed to Kgatleng. (My evidence is that source  has a list of districts with their 1946 populations, in
which Mochudi corresponds directly to Kgalagadi in source .)
- The Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas 1957 edition (source ) lists the following divisions of Bechuanaland.
- Pop-1946: 1946-05-07 census. Total includes
282 residents of Mafeking, South Africa, then
the administrative center of
- Pop-1936: 1936 census. Source: 1951
Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas.
- GEC: U.S. DoD codes (from a later date).
- Gabecones is a misprint for Gaberones. Tuli should be Tuli Block, a strip running along the Limpopo River and now contained in Central district.
Note: the GEC codes come from a document dated 1972-09-29, which lists the names of districts as they stood then.
- ~1961: Name of Tati district changed to Francistown.
- 1965: Capital moved from Mafeking, South Africa, to Gaberones.
- 1966-09-30: Bechuanaland Protectorate became independent, and took the name Botswana..
- 1969-08-15: Name of national capital, and its district, changed from Gaberones to Gaborone. Names of Lobatsi district and its capital changed
to Lobatse. Name of Tuli Block changed to Tuli. Name of capital of Kgalagadi district changed from Tsabong to Tshabong. (Date given is the
publication date of the decree.)
- ~1980: Tuli district merged with Ngwato (Central). Lobatse district split and merged with Gaborone and Ngwaketse (Southern), with the capital
city, Lobatse, going to Gaborone. Parts of Chobe district annexed by Ngamiland and Ngwato districts.
- The following table shows the divisions of Botswana, according to various sources, at about this time. Where population figures are not shown,
Barolong and Jwaneng are included with Ngwaketse; Okavango is included with Ngamiland; Sowa is included with Central. Some districts may be census
|Okavango||d||49,642||36,723|| || ||22,730||Orapa|
|Sowa||t||2,879||2,228|| || ||159||Sowa|
- Tp: d = district, t = town council
- Dates are census dates
- 2001: According to Wikipedia (source ), Chobe and Ngamiland merged in 2001 to form North-West, and split again in 2006. Note that the
Wikipedia article makes those statements in different places. I'm not sure they can be relied on. Confirming the merge, in 2003, ISO 3166-2 replaced
the codes for Chobe (formerly
CH) and Ngamiland (
NG) with a single code for North-West. Likewise, in 2006, GEC replaced
the codes for Chobe (
BC02) and Ngamiland (
BC07) with a single code for North-West. Source  also confirms the merge. The
result is shown here.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by
are the same as the district codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
- GEC: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- Pop-2011: 2011-08-09 census.
- Pop-2001: 2001-08-17 census.
- 2006: More recent government sources show Chobe and North-West as separate districts, confirming Wikipedia's information about a split. Those
sources also show town and city councils as separate entities on the district level. Changing to that view is tantamount to saying that Selibe
Phikwe and Sowa Town split from Central, Francistown split from North-East, Chobe split from North-West, Gaborone and Lobatse split from South-East,
and Jwaneng split from Southern.
Other names of subdivisions:
- Central: Ngwato (Setswana)
- Ghanzi: Gantsi, Ghantsi (variant)
- North-East: Bokone-Botlhaba (Setswana)
- North-West: Bokone-Bophirima (Setswana)
- Selibe Phikwe: Selebi-Phikwe (variant)
- South-East: Borwa-Botlhaba (Setswana)
- Southern: Borwa, Ngwakets, Ngwaketse (Setswana)
The first full release of ISO 3166-2 listed alternate names for three of the districts. Newsletter No. I-5 has dropped those alternate names
entirely. They were probably dropped because the maintenance agency discovered that the so-called alternate names were not really synonymous with
the specified districts. They were subsets or supersets. These are the alternate names that were dropped.
- Central: Serowe-Palapye
- Ngamiland: North-West
- Southern: Ngwaketse
-  Samatar, Abdi Ismail. An African Miracle: State and Class Leadership and Colonial Legacy in Botswana
Development. Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH, 1999.
-  Maylam, Paul. Rhodes, the Tswana, and the British: Colonialism, Collaboration, and Conflict in the
Bechuanaland Protectorate, 1885-1899. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 1980.
-  Botswana Country Brief ,
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) (retrieved 2003-09-07).
-  Parsons, Neil. Brief History of
Botswana (retrieved 2004-08-18).
-  Demographic
Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York,
1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
-  Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition, Chicago, 1984.
-  2001 census report from Central Statistics Office (http://www.cso.gov.bw/html/census/census_2k.html,
dead link, retrieved 2004-08-18).
-  Alphabetical
Index of Districts , 2011 Botswana Population and Housing Census. Central
Statistics Office (retrieved 2014-02-01).
-  Districts of Botswana ,
Wikipedia (retrieved 2014-09-29).