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Literature on the History of East Africa
Kenya Tanzania
First posted on July 2nd 2002, last revised on November 12th 2013







History of Uganda : Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources



NARRATIVE
until 1890 . 1890-1914 . 1914-1962 . 1962-1979 . Since 1979


Buganda until 1890
Buganda is a kingdom located on Lake Victoria; it is believed to have been established in the 16th century. Over time it expanded by means of conquest; in the 19th century it covered a large part of what is Uganda today, including the site which was to become Uganda's capital, Kampala.
Arab traders first reached Buganda in the 1860es. In 1867, the King of Buganda nominally converted to Islam.
In the 19th century, Buganda was visited by western travelers : J.H. Speke (1862), H.M. Stanley (1876). Their reports picture a state of considerable size and authority, the capital at Lubaga Hill a town of 40,000, the armed forces consisting of 125,000 troops and a 'navy' of 230 war canoes. Anglican missionaries arrived in 1877; Catholic missionaries in 1879; soon, protestant (Anglican), catholic and islamic groups intrigued against each other at Buganda's court. Clashes between rival factions resulted in massacres; as political leaders frequently changed, so did the victimized communities; in 1885, Kabaka Mwanga ordered the execution of 1 Anglican missionary and of 30 Catholic converts.

Uganda 1890-1914
In 1889 German colonial politician Carl Peters obtained a Treaty from the Bugandan king Mwanga, asking for German protection. Yet the same king previously had agreed to accept the I.B.E.A. company flag sent to him by Mr. Frederick Jackson, with the understanding that the acceptance meant placing his kingdom under British protection. In the Treaty of 1890, Germany ceded it's claims to Uganda in return for Heligoland, a small island located in the North Sea.
Now British colonial politician Frederick Lugard, acting as an agent of the IBEA (Imperial British East Africa Company) entered the kingdom of Buganda and established a Fort at Kampala. In Jan. 1892 fighting broke out between the Protestant and Catholic factions; the Catholics, on the losing side, fled, Mwanga with them. A peace was negotiated and he was restored to the throne (Feb. 1892). The 'administration' of Uganda turned out to be too burdensome for the B.E.A. and the latter announced her intention to withdraw.
In 1893, the IBEA transferred it's rights to the British Government, and a Protectorate was proclaimed, to what effect a treaty was signed in 1893. The British established Kampala as their capital and extended the protectorate, now called Uganda, beyond the borders of the Bugandan kingdom (1894). Certain areas, especially the Rudolph Province, effectively escaped British control until 1918. The Mwanga, in 1897, accused of plotting, was deported to the Seychelles, and succeeded by his infant son Daudi Chwa. Also in 1897 the Sudanese troops at Busogo mutinied; troops from India were brought in which restored British control (1898). Special Commissioner Sir Harry Johnston in 1900 signed an agreement with the Kabaka of Buganda, which regulated the relations between Buganda and the British administration, and guaranteed the Bugandan claims on land. From then on, Uganda experienced a long period of internal peace.
In 1903, Uganda's eastern highlands and Kavirondo Country were ceded to Kenya - to unify the area crossed by the railway line (Kenya and Uganda's eastern province) under one administration. The railway beginning at Mombasa had reached Kisumu on Lake Victoria at Christmas 1901.
In 1890 Britain leased the Lado Enclave (Sudan) to King Leopold of Belgium (the Congo Free State), in return for a corridor between Lake Albert Edward and Lake Tanganyika), in the so-called MacKinnon Treaty - in an attempt to link up the Cape to Cairo railway (connected by steamer across Lake Tanganyika). Germany protested against this arrangement; the treaty never was ratified.
In 1908, the Lado Enclave, which in fact never before had been under British administration, but as forming part of the Nile Basin was within British territorial claim, "reverted" to British rule and was, for the most part, administratively incorporated into the Sudan (1910), as were parts of Ugandan territory (Gondokoro); only the southern tip of the Lado Enclave was integrated into Uganda.
The British established the seat of their administration at Kampala, capital of Buganda, which constituted the most valuable part of the colony. After an insurrection, the kings of Buganda and Unyoro were deported to the Seychelles (1897). In 1900 the Kingdom of Buganda was granted political autonomy; it was also turned into a constitutional monarchy.
The British relied on Bagandas as administrators and tax collectors in the outlying areas. The British have shown little interest in some of these outlying areas, especially the Rudolf Province, focussing instead heavily on the economically promising tracts, i.e. Buganda and Bunyoro.
Under British rule, cotton was introduced as an export crop (1904), mostly planted by indigenous farmers on small farms, as were coffee and sugar cane later on. The main food crop grown by the Baganda was the banana. Uganda was connected by railway with Mombasa (Kenya) in 1901. Immigrants from British India came in, many of them merchants; the country attracted few white immigrants, as there was little farmland open for settlement. In 1915, the British government ceased to subsidize the protectorate, as revenue from increasing exports of cotton and coffee made Uganda economically independent. The economic development of the country, nevertheless, was handicapped by poor transportation facilities (few railroads).
The British respected the natives' claim to lands they cultivated (agreement of 1900); the British Crown claimed all lands not under cultivation. The British administration also respected native law and left the traditional political institutions intact.
Yet the Baganda and Banyoro revolted in 1897; the revolt was crushed and the kings were deported to the Seychelles. The Banyoro revolted again in 1907, this time against the Baganda tax collectors, who were recalled from their area.
The Buganda kingdom had preserved a considerable degree of political autonomy; the British administration attempted to focus settlement on the Toro Province instead.


1914-1962
World War I broke out in 1914, and Uganda found itself with a stretch of the frontier to German East Africa. In 1916, German East Africa was occupied by the British and South Africans. Fighting ceased only in 1918, as the commander of the German colonial troops continued to fight a guerilla war until Germany surrendered. Uganda's economic development suffered due to the war.
In 1917, Kenya and Uganda entered into a customs union, which in 1927 was joined by Tanganyika. In 1921 the East African Shilling was introduced as joint currency of the three colonies.
During the interwar years, Daudi Chwa (1897-1939) ruled as mwanga of Buganda. For much of his rule, he was a minor, and he asserted little influence; more powerful was Kabaka (prime minister) Apolo Kaggwa (-1926).
Complaints about mismanagement resulted in British interference in Bugandan affairs; prime minister Kaggwa resigned over the issue and a new generation of administrators, educated in christian schools, came into office.
In 1925 the Government established the Education Department, taking supervisory function of the education still administrated by the various missions, and considerably raising the financial aid given to them. Makerere College was established as an institute for post-secondary education and training.
In the 1920es, a number of Asian-owned plantations were established. To work their plantations, they employed workers from other regions of Uganda and even from out of the country, thus causing migration. Uganda saw activity in the mining sector; in 1927, export of TIN began, in 1931 that of gold, in 1936 that of tin-niobium-tantalum ores, in 1937 that of wolfram. The emergence of cotton ginneries meant the establishment of a rudimental Textile industry. In 1927 the cultivation of Tobacco was introduced; cultivated by the natives in Bunyoro and the West Nile district, it became a major export product. The Great Depression of the 1930es seemed to have had little impact on Uganda's economy. The farmers simply grew food for their own consumption and switched back to export crops when the crisis was over. The British tended to regard Asians more trustworthy and used them as intermediarys in trade, which caused resentment of the Baganda and other Africans.
In World War II, troops from Uganda saw service on many fronts. The protectorate greatly increased production of food and other products (timber, rubber) and so contributed to the Allied war effort.
In 1945 a census established 2,583 Europeans, 28,512 Asiatics and 3,966,595 Africans in Uganda. The Uganda protectorate between 1941 and 1945 had a budget surplus. Major export products were cotton, coffee and tobacco. The Government's Labour Department supervised the condition under which natives were employed; in 1949 the following daily wages were given : unskilled agricultural labour 4d. to 7d. a day, semi-skilled 7d. to 1s., in trade and manufacture, unskilled labour 4d. to 8d., skilled 1s. to 4s. 6d. The South an East African Yearbook comments "Where the incentive exists the Natives of Uganda can be industrious and willing workers, and at skilled trades they are, generally speaking, apt pupils. The Baganda in particular possess a relatively high mechanical aptitude." (p.814).
In 1948, Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika formed the East African High Commission; in 1961 the East African Common Services Organization. Uganda had a comparatively small white population element. The protectorate had a number of secondary schools, many of them technically oriented. One institute serving post-secondary education, Makerere College was "contemplated that (it) will in due course achieve University College status and may eventually become a University for East Africa" (SEAYb 1949 p.815).
After World War II, constitutional changes were made, universal adult suffrage introduced. Political parties emerged, most notably the DP and the UPC, closely contested elections were held (1961). However, in Buganda conservative elements were worried about the prospect of democratization and about a possible East African federation (Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika) which would reduce the political importance of the Kingdom. To appease them, the British ensured Bugandan autonomy within the state. In 1962, Ugandan independence was proclaimed.

Early Independence, 1962-1979
In 1967 Uganda, together with Kenya and Tanzania, joined the East African Community, which, over Ugandese internal troubles, stopped to function in 1972 and was dissolved in 1977.
In 1962 Uganda was declared independent. Milton Obote was the first prime minister; the Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda head of state. In 1966, the Obote regime declared the constitution suspended, the monarchy of Buganda abolished. The Kabaka's palace was taken by force. In 1969, Obote published the Common Man's Charter, which drew on Tanzania's Arusha Declaration of 1967.
In 1971, General Idi Amin staged a coup d'etat, beginning a dictatorship and a reign of terror that would last until 1979, targeting political opponents as well as ethnic minorities. The country's Asian community fled the country, the country's economy deteriorated. Amin tried to balance these effects by his foreign policy, leaning on Islamic aid donor countries such as Saudi Arabia and Libya; the country's relations to the west were strained.
In 1976, PLO and RAF terrorists abducted an Air France plane destined for Israel, which landed on Uganda's Entebbe airport, where the hijackers received the support of the Ugandan authorities. In a spectacular operation, the Mossad (Israel's secret service) landed special forces, liberated the hostages and brought them home safely.
In 1978, Ugandan forces occupied stretches of Tanzanian territory; in 1979, forces of Tanzania together with those of the Ugandan National Liberation Front (UNLF) defeated the Ugandan forces and took the capital Kampala. Idi Amin went into exile, to Saudi Arabia.

Uganda since 1979
Parliamentary democracy was reintroduced, and Milton Obote returned to power. But political stability did not return, as Uganda went through a period of civil wars. In 1986, Obote was ousted by the forces of Yoweri Museveni. Museveni brought stability to the country; only in the northern border regions, fighting continues until today. In the recent civil wars, child soldiers have become a worrying reality. Uganda's economy recovered in recent years, to such an extent that Uganda is regarded black Africa's model economy. In recent years, the AIDS epidemics has taken on dramatic proportions in Uganda.
Museveni's regime supported the exile Tutsi's invasion of their home country, Rwanda, and Laurent Kabila's campaign to topple Zaire's dictator Mobutu. In 1993, the Kingdom of Buganda was restored.

Historical Atlas, Uganda Page .. British East Africa Page

Students' Paper : Sung Ji Yun, History of Nutrition in East Africa (2012)






WEB-BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . EXTERNAL SECONDARY SOURCES
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History of Religion . Regional History . Local History . Institutions . Culture . Biography . Environmental History . Others
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Historical Data Lists of Statesmen from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), from Rulers (B. Schemmel), from World Rulers (E. Schulz, illustrated)
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BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PRINT SOURCES
Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Bibliographies general Search ISBN Database
RHS Bibliography
UK National Archive Online Library
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Historical Dictionaries Articles : Ankole pp.22-24, Buganda pp.87-89, Bunyoro pp.90-92, in : James Minahan, Nations without States, A Historical Dictionary of Contemporary National Movements, Westport CT : Greenwood 1996 [G]
Statistical Data IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. The Americas 1750-2000, London : Palgrave 2003 [G]
Yearbook Entries Britannica Book of the Year Uganda, 1913 pp.644-645 [G]
British East Africa, 1944 p.127, 1945 pp.124-125, 1946 pp.146-147, 1947 pp.149-150, 1948 pp.139-140, 1949 pp.118-120, 1950 pp.127-128, 1951 pp.124-125, 1952 pp.122-123, 1953 pp.123-124, 1954 pp.121-124, 1955 pp.181-183, 1956 pp.120-122, 1957 pp.180-182, 1958 p.697, 1959 pp.694-695, 1960 pp.694-695, 1961 p.693, 1962 pp.687-688, 1963 p.803, 1964 pp.827-828, 1965 p.830, 1966 pp.779-780, 1967 pp.767-768, 1968 pp.774-775, 1969 pp.761-762, 1970 pp.763, 1971 pp.744-745, 1972 pp.698-699, 1973 pp.699-700, 1974 pp.693-694, 1975 pp.699-700, 1976 pp.676-677, 1977 pp.680-681, 1978 pp.684-685, 1979 pp.682-683, 1980 pp.682-683, 1981 pp.676-677, 1982 p.680, 1983 pp.678-679, 1984 p.678, 1985 pp.478, 800, 1986 pp.474, 798, 1988 pp.401-402, 718, 1989 pp.401-402, 718, 1990 pp.418-419, 734, 1993 pp.374-375, 736, 1994 pp.372-373, 736, 1995 pp.487, 736 [G]
Statesman's Yearbook Uganda Protectorate, 1901 pp.196-198, 1905 pp.212-214, 1910 pp.173-175 [G]
British East Africa : Uganda Protectorate, 1919 pp.182-184, 1924 pp.191-193, 1925 pp.195-197, 1926 pp.199-201, 1928 pp.197-199, 1929 pp.198-200, 1932 pp.201-203, 1937 pp.220-223, 227 [G]
Uganda Protectorate, 1943 pp.212-214 [G]
Uganda, 1970-1971 pp.462-464, 1975-1976 pp.505-507, 1978-1979 pp.1198-1201, 1980-1981 pp.1203-1206, 1983-1984 pp.1208-1211, 1984-1985 pp.1205-1208, 1985-1986 pp.1206-1209, 1987-1988 pp.1208-1211, 1988-1989 pp.1212-1215, 1989-1990 pp.1218-1221, 1990-1991 pp.1219-1222, 1991-1992 pp.1222-1225, 1992-1993 pp.1305-1309, 1993-1994 pp.1308-1312, 1994-1995 pp.1295-1299, 1995-1996 pp.1206-1209, 1996-1997 pp.1280-1284, 1997-1998 pp.1274-1278, 1998-1999 pp.1392-1396, 2000 pp.1562-1567, 2001 pp.1530-1535, 2002 pp.1587-1592, 2003 pp.1587-1592, 2004 pp.1606-1611, 2005 pp.1617-1623 [G]
Americana Annual Uganda Protectorate, 1927 pp.842-843 [G]
Uganda, 1928 pp.774, 1930 p.760, 1931 p.755, 1932 p.706, 1933 pp.760-761, 1934 p.589, 1935 pp.711-712, 1936 pp.726-727, 1937 p.699, 1938 pp.694-695, 1939 p.762, 1940 pp.778-779 [G]
British East Africa, 1930 pp.129-131, 1931 pp.125-126 [G]
Uganda, 1943 p.721, 1944 pp.693-694, 1945 p.708 [G]
British East Africa, 1945 p.115, 1946 pp.120-123, 1947 pp.98-100 [G]
British East Africa - Uganda, 1957 pp.102-104, 1961 pp.93-96, 1962 pp.91-94 [G]
Uganda, 1963 pp.689-690, 1964 pp.672-673, 1965 p.701, 1967 p.695, 1968 p.689, 1969 p.696, 1970 pp.697-698, 1971 p.693, 1972 pp.691-692, 1973 pp.73, 692, 1974 p.606, 1976 pp.71, 560, 1989 p.540, 1990 p.529, 1991 pp.535-536, 1993 p.545, 1994 p.547 [G]
Other South and East African Year Book and Guide, 49th edition, 1949, pp.758-760, 809-823 [G]
Article : Uganda, in : International Year Book 1898 pp.789-790 [G]
Article : East Africa - Uganda, in : Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events 1894 pp.246-247 [G]
History of the Uganda Protectorate, pp.6-8; Uganda Protectorate pp.65-78, in : Year Book and Guide to East Africa 1963 [G]