Uganda History

Uganda History, Geography, and Population

Located in the east-central part of the African continent, Uganda is a landlocked state, bordered to the west by Zaire, to the north by Sudan, to the east by Kenya and to the south by Rwanda and Tanzania.


The first residents of the Ugandan territory were, in the 1st century, the Bantu blacksmith farmers, dominated in the 13th century by the Himas, shepherds of Ethiopian origin. The Bunyoro kingdom was founded in the 15th century. In 1830 Arab merchants penetrated into the interior of Africa. In 1862, British explorers came to the country looking for the sources of the Nile. John Speke reached Lake Victoria. In 1875, the explorer Stanley visited King Mutesa of Buganda.

In 1893, the British declared protectorate over Uganda. In 1962 the territory became independent from the British Commonwealth and in 1963 the Republic was proclaimed, with Sir Edward Mutesa (Mutesan) as president of the country. Prime Minister Obote staged a coup and proclaimed himself president. Mutesa fled to Great Britain and Obote was overthrown, in 1971, by General Idi Amin Dada.

In 1987, Uganda’s ties with Libya and North Korea caused new tensions in its relations with Kenya, leading to armed clashes. Although in 1989 the first general elections in ten years democratized the National Council of Resistance with the entry of 210 elected members (out of a total of 278), Museveni, after constitutional reform, extended his mandate for another five years.

In 1995 a new Constitution was approved and in 1996 Museveni was ratified at the polls and re-elected in 2001.

Today only ten of the fifty-three nations in Uganda have hierarchical political structures. The majority (with a population of one to three million) lived in integrally egalitarian organizations, voluntary cooperatives and economies of the shared or gift and all without centralized political power, high levels of inequality and conflict; for example the Banyankole and Iteso. In these societies they were respected and expert old men and had influence but without exclusive power over others. This little understanding of power, domination, & c. unfortunately it facilitated European colonization. [1]



The vast plateau of central Africa, surrounded by mountains and valleys, comprises a majority portion of Ugandan territory, the western flank of which contains the following mountain systems of snow-capped peaks and glaciers: the Buwenzori chain (maximum height: Margherita peak, 5,120 m), the Virunga Mountains (reaching 4,127 m on Mount Muhavura) and part of the Great Rift Valley system.

At the western limit lies the Western Rift Valley, where the Mobutu Sese Seko (formerly known as Lake Albert) and the Nile Albert Valley meet. A row of volcanic mountains reaching up to 4,300 m on Mount Elgon forms the northeastern border of the Ugandan shelf. Much of the Ugandan soil is ferruginous (contains iron and aluminum), as well as clayey.


The territory has huge lakes, such as Victoria, of 42,514 km2 (the third in the world, after the Caspian Sea and Lake Superior), and others, such as the Mobutu Sese Seko and Kyoga lakes. From the first of these lakes flow, in a northern direction, the major rivers, the Victoria Nile and the Albert Nile, which are the most important tributaries of the Nile basin. There is also the Kabalega Falls (former Murchison Falls), formed by three jumps, they present a total difference of 122 m; They are included in the homonymous national park, created in 1952.


The climate is temperate, with stable temperatures between 21 and 24 ° C, except in the southwest, where it ranges between 16 and 17 ° C. In the extreme north of the country, annual rainfall averages 900 mm, while in Lake Victoria they increase to 1,500 mm per year, distributed regularly, although June and July are extremely dry.


Central and northern Uganda are characterized by their wooded savanna vegetation. In the south, on the other hand, the natural flora has been replaced by crops, with few and scattered portions of forest or grass. Kabarega National Park comprises 2,415 km 2 of the 4,500 km 2 that Uganda has set aside for national parks and game reserves. Almost half of the Ugandan territory can be used as pasture land and a somewhat smaller proportion is suitable for cultivation, with a predominance of cereal production.


The wild fauna is made up of lions, rhinos, leopards, elephants, hippos, buffalo, antelope and swans, as well as various species of monkeys.


Ethnic groups

As a country located in Africa according to DIRECTORYAAH, Uganda has been, for ten centuries, the melting point of forty different ethnic groups, all of them belonging to the three main linguistic families: Bantu, Nilotikynilo, Hamitic. Despite the deep mix, these peoples differ from each other by their cultures, languages, and traditions. The official language is English, although Swahili is also used as a common language.

The most widespread dialect is Luganda. About 20% of the population is made up of the Bantu-speaking tribe of the Ganda or Baganda, a language also used by the Soga, Nyoro and Nkole. The most widespread Nilotic-speaking groups, on the other hand, are the Acholi, Lango and Karamojing.


Christian cults are the majority, since they comprise approximately 75.8% of believers: 49.9% Catholics and 26.2% Anglo-canians, plus 12.6% Christians who also practice traditional African rites. There is also an Islamic minority (6.6%). Along with Christianity, Islam was introduced to Uganda in the 19th century.


The population is concentrated mainly in the east and southwest of the country, as well as in the surroundings of Lake Victoria, where the largest urban centers are located. The capital, Kampala, administrative and commercial center of the country. Other prominent population centers are Jinja, Masaka and Mbale. In 1980 only 12% of Ugandans lived in cities, but this percentage has been growing.

During the 20th century, the social and sanitary conditions of the population have improved. In 1983, there was an exodus of some 200,000 Ugandans, exiled in Sudan, Rwanda and Zaire, to flee the civil war. In 1989, 350,000 Ugandan refugees returned to Uganda from Sudan, causing a serious economic crisis, compounding the problems already faced by the Museveni government.

Uganda History