By African standards, Uganda is a postage stamp-size
country, at the heart of the continent, sandwiched
between Kenya, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and Tanzania. It is
roughly the size of Great Britain or the State of Oregon
in the USA. Uganda's most alluring features are its
forests, lakes and mountains. Most of the country is
1,000 m above sea level and there are three mountainous
areas - the Rwenzoris, Mount Elgon and the Virunga
Wildlife has steadily increased and many species of game
can be seen. Game viewing is free of the mass tourism in
some countries. Primates, especially the mountain
gorilla and chimpanzees, are a special attraction
together with over a thousand species of birds.
Most of Uganda is well-watered and fertile. Although it
lies on the Equator, the climate is tempered by its
altitude. The Nile starts its long journey to the
Mediterranean from Lake Victoria, the largest lake in
Africa, and traverses Murchison Falls National Park. The
population is about nineteen million, largely Christian,
but with sizeable Muslim and Animist communities.
The central area is largely Bantu-speaking with the
Baganda as the largest group. The Northern tribes are
Nilotic in origin; the north is also the home of the
nomadic Karamajong and the remote mountain tribe - the
Ik. There are pygmy communities (the Batwa) in some
forest areas. More than 30 languages are spoken - with
English, Luganda and Swahili being the most widely used.
Lord Lugard established a British East African Company
base in 1890 in Kampala and shortly afterwards Uganda
became a British Protectorate, centered around four old
The Uganda Railway linking the interior to the coast
reached Kisumu (in Kenya) on Lake Victoria in 1901 and
Kampala in 1915. The system of indirect rule gave Uganda
greater autonomy than elsewhere in British-ruled Africa.
At independence in 1962, Uganda was a prosperous and
peaceful country. It went through a turbulent period
after Amin seized control in 1971 and expelled the
In 1986 the National Resistance Movement, lead by Yoweri
Museveni, took control of the country.
Today, the country is progressive, peaceful and
inviting. The old kingdoms, abolished in the 1960s, were
restored in 1993 and the monarchs have now re-emerged as
symbols of traditional society.
The 36th Kabaka of the Baganda, Ronald Mutebi,
was crowned in 1993 and married in 1999, to
great public rejoicing.