Flag Map of Uganda

The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking people migrated to the southern parts of Uganda. The country takes its name from the kingdom of Buganda, which covers a large portion of South Uganda including the capital city Kampala.

When Arab traders moved inland from their enclaves along the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa and reached the interior of Uganda in the 1830s, they found several African kingdoms, like Buganda, Bunyoro among others, with well-developed political institutions dating back several centuries. These traders were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the mighty Nile river.

In 1888, control of the emerging British "sphere of interest" in East Africa was assigned by royal charter to the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEACO). The high cost of occupying the territory caused the company to withdraw in 1893. The Kingdom of Buganda was placed under a formal British protectorate in 1894.

Dancers at Independence Day Celebrations

Uganda became independent on October 9th, 1962. Sir Edward Mutesa, the king of Buganda (Mutesa II), was elected the first president, and Milton Obote the first prime minister, of the newly independent country. With the help of a young army officer, Col. Idi Amin, Prime Minister Obote seized control of the government from President Mutesa four years later.

On January 25th, 1971, Obote’s government was ousted in a military coup led by armed forces commander Idi Amin. Amin declared himself president, dissolved the parliament, and amended the constitution to give himself absolute power. Idi Amin’s 8-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations. After Amin held military exercises on the Tanzanian border in 1978, angering Tanzania’s president, Julius Nyerere, a combined force of Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles loyal to former president Obote invaded Uganda and chased Amin into exile in Saudi Arabia in 1979. Obote returned from exile in Tanzania and was elected president in 1980.

Weakened by Museveni’s guerilla forces, known as the National Resistance Army, President Milton Obote was overthrown for the second time by his top generals led by General Tito Okello Lutwa in 1985. A peace agreement signed in Nairobi, Kenya, between Tito Okello's government and Museveni’s National Resistance Army collapsed, resulting in the resumption of hostilities between the two sides. Museveni’s rebel forces defeated government troops, capturing state power on January, 26th 1986. Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda as President since then.

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