Maseru (also Masero), population 137,837 (1996), is the capital of Lesotho. Located on the Caledon River, it is Lesotho's only sizable city. The city's manufactures include candles and carpets. Masero was a small trading town when it was made the capital of the Basuto people by Paramount Chief Moshoeshoe I in 1869. It was the capital of the British Basutoland protectorate from 1869 to 1871 and from 1884 to 1966, when Basutoland gained its independence and was renamed Lesotho.
The National University of Lesotho is near the city, and an international airport is also nearby.