The earliest inhabitants of the region were the San, who were followed by the Tswana The culture is mainly of native Bantu. In common with many of their neighbors, the Tswana suffered greatly from Nguni and Afrikaner incursions in the mid 19th century, leading to the establishment of a British Protectorate in 1885. Coveted in turn by the early Boer republics, by Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company and then by South Africa, Bechuanaland (‘Bechuana’ is synologous with ‘Batswana’, the correct term for the people of Botswana) has often trodden a narrow path between its neighbors’ political, military and economic ambitions.