Uganda Facts

Uganda Facts and History


Uganda – East Africa’s Venice

In Uganda, the East African savannah meets the West African jungle.

The country does not border any ocean, but there is still enough water, as one sixth of the area of Uganda is covered by inland waters, including the northern part of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. In addition, there are the world-famous Murchison waterfalls in this country, where the water of the Victorianil falls around 40 m through a 10 m wide gorge. The rich moisture also creates wetlands, wet savannahs and tropical rainforests, which are home to unique ecosystems and the most biodiverse animal populations in South Africa. No fewer than ten national parks are to be visited in Uganda.

The country is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Most of the population lives in the fertile areas around Lake Victoria. The main economic sector in Uganda is coffee growing.

A difficult security situation due to rebellions and border conflicts with neighboring countries and the fatal consequences of AIDS, which Uganda is particularly hard hit by, are troubling the country. In recent years, at least the latter problem has been somewhat mitigated, i.e. the AIDS rate has been significantly reduced. In terms of gross national product, Uganda is one of the poorest countries in Africa. In June 2005 it benefited from the debt relief approved by the finance ministers of the G8 countries. It remains to be seen whether the new financial resources will actually benefit the population.

Name of the country Republic of Uganda
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location East Africa, on the equator
National anthem Oh Uganda, land of the beauty
National holiday October 9 (independence October 9, 1962)
Population about 44 million (Credit: Countryaah: Uganda Population)
Ethnicities 98% African tribes (Bantu peoples, Nilotes, etc.)
Religions 40% Catholics, 32% Anglicans, 14% Pentecostals and approx. 14% Muslims
Languages English, Swahili, Bantu, Luanda
Capital Kampala with approx. 2 million residents
Surface 236,860 km²
Highest mountain Peak Margherita with a height of 5,110 m
Longest river White Nile with a length of 3,700 km
Largest lake Lake Victoria with an area of 62,940 km²
International license plate EAU
Currency Uganda shilling
Entry requirements valid passport, visa requirements changea possibly required visa is available at the airport or national borders

Yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory

Time difference to CET + 2 h
International phone code 00256
Mains voltage, frequency 240 volts and 50 hertz(an adapter is recommended.)
Internet TDL (Top Level Domain) .ug

Uganda: history

Uganda until around the year 1000

The area of Uganda and its neighboring states is considered by many anthropologists to be the “cradle of humanity” due to numerous fossil finds from the Great Rift Valley. The first residents were probably pygmies who lived as hunters and gatherers in the area, which was then covered by rainforests. About 2,000 years ago these tribes were pushed back by the immigration of Kushite pastoral peoples from the north and later by agricultural Bantu peoples. From the 9th century, larger Bantu communities developed in the region. Later there was an overlay with the ranching culture of the immigrant Hima, who took over the management of the communities.

Uganda from the year 1000 to the 18th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the Kingdom of Kitara existed in the 14th and 15th centuries. From around the 15th century, the kingdom of Bunyoro, founded by Nilotic shepherds, developed in the west of what is now Uganda on Lake Albert. From the 17th century onwards, the Buganda Empire gained increasing influence on the north-west bank of Lake Victoria through raids and ivory trade. In the 18th century, it gained supremacy over Bunyoro and became the most important Ugandan kingdom. Smaller empires were Ankole in the southwest, Busoga in the southeast and the intervening Toro, a former province of Bunyoros. Both Buganda and the smaller empires maintained trade relations with the Arabs, which resulted in the Islamization of individual regions. Simple Nilotic tribal societies settled in the less fertile north of what is now Uganda.

Uganda in the 19th century

In the 19th century, Arabs from the east coast of Africa began trading ivory and slaves in the area north of Lake Victoria.

In the middle of the 19th century, the two British researchers JH Speke and JA Grant discovered the source of the Nile. In the 1860s and 1870s, the Egyptian Khedives invaded the north of the country. At the end of the 19th century, Anglican and Catholic missionaries came to Uganda at the invitation of the Kabaka (King of Buganda). The Kabaka converted to Christianity to counter the growing Islamic influence. The arrival of the Europeans resulted in a rapid destabilization of the Bugandi ruling system.

In the Congo Conference 1884/1885, claims made by Great Britain on Uganda were recognized by the participants (only representatives of European countries). According to the Helgoland-Zanzibar Treaty, it belonged to Kenya and British East Africa.

After the new, Islamic King Mwanga II had the English bishop executed in 1885, there were bloody conflicts between 1887 and 1894. In 1980 he signed a British protection agreement. In the following years the British subjugated the kingdoms of Bunyoro and Toro as well as the Acholi area in the north, while Busoga and Ankole granted the supremacy of the British by signing treaties.

In 1896 the Protectorate of Uganda was proclaimed.

In 1897 the British put down a revolt by Nubian-Egyptian troops. Colonial agriculture was limited to the cultivation of export goods such as cotton and coffee. The replacement of traditional crops with export-oriented monocultures led to several famines in the country. Since the land had been largely divided among Bugandian nobles (chiefs), the number of European settlers in Uganda remained extremely small.

After the country had been partially opened up, not least through the construction of the railroad, numerous Asians, especially Indians, emigrated to Uganda, who, along with the British, took over national trade.

20th century until today

Political organizations of the black population began as early as 1915. In 1944/1945 the first concessions to the Africans were obtained through a general strike. In the 1950s and 1960s, under the Kabaka Mutesa II, the hegemony efforts of the Buganda sub-area intensified. From the elections in March 1961, Kiwanuka emerged as Uganda’s first native head of government. In May 1962, Apollo Milton Obote (1924-2005) became the country’s head of government and led it to independence within the Commonwealth. On October 9, 1963, Uganda left the Commonwealth and became a republic. The Kabaka Mutesa II received the office of representative president.

In 1964, Obote began nationalizing the economy. After Parliament voted for Obote’s dismissal in 1966, the latter suspended the constitution and dismissed five ministers. With the new constitution, the traditional kingdoms of Uganda were abolished and the area of the former kingdom of Buganda was divided into several districts. Obote made himself president and head of government in one person and began to establish a socialist, centralized, unitary state. To prevent a secession of Buganda, he carried out a military attack on Buganda and stormed the royal palace, Mutesa fled to Great Britain.

In terms of foreign policy, the following happened: Obote founded the East African Community with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda also supported the Anyanya rebels in South Sudan.

In 1971 Obote was overthrown by the military chief Idi Amin (1928-2003), who established a military dictatorship in the country and ruthlessly persecuted political opponents. The number of victims by 1979 is estimated to be at least a quarter of a million. In addition, around 60,000 Asians were expelled from the country. In terms of foreign policy, there was a connection to the Arab countries, especially Libya. An attempted invasion by Obote of Tanzania in 1972 resulted in the bombing of targets in Tanzania.

In 1976, Amin declared himself president for life. His policies prompted a US trade boycott.

After mutinous troops fled to Tanzania in 1978, Amin occupied part of Tanzanian territory with numerous massacres of civilians. In the same year Tanzanian troops invaded southern Uganda. With the help of the Ugandan underground fighters of the UNLF, Amin was overthrown in Kampala in April 1979. Subsequent looting by marauding soldiers devastated large parts of the country. The UNLF installed president was replaced shortly after by Godfrey Binaisa, who in turn was overthrown by the military in 1980.

In the December 10 elections, Obote was declared the winner. Various resistance groups formed in the country, including under Museveni, whose army also recruited child soldiers. After an ongoing civil war that killed around 100,000 more people, a military coup took place in 1985. The army chief Tito Okello became the new head of government. After a brief peace agreement, another coup followed in 1986 after Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (born 1944) was sworn in as head of state. However, the civil war between the various conflicting parties continued.

In 1989 the first elections to a provisional parliament took place.

The symbolic restoration of the ancient kingdoms of Toro, Ankole, Bunyoro and Buganda in 1993 earned Museveni great popularity. The new constitution of 1995 continued to prohibit the activity of political parties. In the democratic election in May 1996, Museveni was elected with 75% of the vote.

In 1996 Uganda supported Kabila’s takeover of power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo out of economic interests. In the following years, gold exports from Uganda, which has almost no gold itself, multiplied. Corruption allegations led to the formation of a new government under Prime Minister Apolo Nsimbambi in April 1999. In March 2001, Museveni was re-elected. The last inauguration of Museveni took place on May 12, 2006.

In the north-west, conditions similar to civil war still prevail due to regular raids from Sudan by LRA troops under J. Kony. In addition, in the Great Lakes region between Uganda, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, ongoing fighting between Tutsi, Hutu, Lendu, Hema and other ethnic groups, rebels, armed gangs and various government forces is taking place, with the main focus on control of the economic ones Resources goes. Uganda is one of the few African countries that has been able to drastically reduce its AIDS rate.

In October 2009 Charles Wesley Mumbere returned from his exile in the USA as King (Omusinga) of Rwenzururu, a mountain region in the southwest of the country. He had to leave the country in 1987 after the ban on royalty. The king was able to return after President Yoweri Museveni had lifted the ban decision, but the newly appointed king has no political power, but is supposed to preserve the cultural heritage of his 300,000 subjects from the Bakonzo people.

Uganda Facts