This paper examines the trajectory of economic development in Botswana between the years 1820 and 1966, when it achieved independence. The paper reviews the historical trends in the country's economic and social development indicators. It analyzes what factors have encouraged or hindered economic development in Botswana: In particular, the paper focuses on the roles of physical geography, climate, disease ecology, economic and political institutions, geopolitical relations, demographic trends, as well as on ethnic divisions and cultural belief systems. In conclusion the paper discusses Botswana's preparedness for modern economic growth when it gained independence in 1966. Click here to read the full paper.