The kingdom of Lesotho is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Though its original inhabitants were Bushmen, other populations arrived from the 1500s through the 1800s as refugees from various tribal conflicts in the surrounding countries. Made a British protectorate in 1868, it was not until nearly a century later (1966) that independence was attained. The country's political road has been rocky and for much of the time since independence the constitution has been in abeyance. The military ruled for a time in the early 1990s and there have been problems with elections, including the last ones in May 1998, as questions have been raised as to the reliability of their results.