The history of people living in the area now known as Lesotho (ləˈsuːtuː,_-ˈsoʊtoʊ) goes back as many as 400 years. Present Lesotho (then called Basotholand) emerged as a single polity under King Moshoeshoe I in 1822. Under Moshoeshoe I, Basotho joined other clans in their struggle against the Lifaqane associated with famine and the reign of Shaka Zulu from 1818 to 1828.
The subsequent evolution of the state was shaped by contact with the British and Dutch colonists from Cape Colony. Missionaries invited by Moshoeshoe I developed orthography and printed works in the Sesotho language between 1837 and 1855. The country set up diplomatic channels and acquired guns for use against the encroaching Europeans and the Korana people. Territorial conflicts with both British and Boer settlers arose periodically, including Moshoeshoe's notable victory over the Boers in the Free State–Basotho War, but the final war in 1867 with an appeal to Queen Victoria, who agreed to make Basutoland a British