The Tswana are a Southern African people. The Tswana language belongs to the Bantu group of the Niger_Congo languages. Ethnic Tswana make up about 80% of the population of Botswana. In the nineteenth century, a common spelling and pronunciation of Batswana was Bechuana. Europeans therefore referred to the area inhabited by the Tswana as Bechuanaland. In the Tswana language, however, Botswana is the name for the country of the Tswana.