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Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred metres long. 
The history of Botswana starts more than 100,000 years ago, when the first humans inhabited the region. The original inhabitants of southern Africa were the Bushmen ( San ) and Khoi peoples. Both speak Khoisan languages and lived as hunter-gatherers. About a thousand years ago, large chiefdoms emerged that were later eclipsed by the Great Zimbabwe empire, which spread into eastern Botswana.
Around 1300 CE, peoples in present-day Transvaal began to coalesce into three main linguistic and political groups, including the Batswana. The Batswana (plural of Motswana ), a term used also to denote all citizens of Botswana, remain the country's major ethnic group today. Prior to European contact, the Batswana lived as herders and farmers under tribal rule. As groups broke off and moved to new land, new tribes were created. Some human development occurred before the colonial period.