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Uganda (yo͞ogänˈdə, o͞ogänˈdä), officially Republic of Uganda, republic (2015 est. pop. 37,102,000), 91,133 sq mi (236,036 sq km), E central Africa. It borders on Tanzania and Rwanda in the south, on Congo (Kinshasa) in the west, on South Sudan in the north, and on Kenya in the east. Kampala is Uganda's capital and its largest city.

Land and People

Lying astride the equator, most of Uganda consists of a fertile plateau (average elevation 4,000 ft/1,220 m), in the center of which is Lake Kyoga. The plateau is bounded (W) by the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, including lakes Albert and Edward (in each case about half of the lake is in Uganda) and the Albert Nile River; by the Ruwenzori Range (SW), including Margherita Peak (16,794 ft/5,119 m), Uganda's loftiest point, and the Virunga Mts.; by Lake Victoria (S), about half of which is in Uganda; and by several mountain ranges (E and N). The eastern mountains include Mt. Elgon (14,178 ft/4,321 m), part of which is in Kenya, and Mt. Moroto (10,114 ft/3,083 m). Altogether, about 18% of Uganda is made up of water surface and about 7% comprises highland situated at more than 5,000 ft (1,520 m). In addition to Kampala, other cities include Entebbe, Gulu, Jinja, Masaka, and Mbale.

About 90% of Uganda's inhabitants live in rural areas. Approximately 70% of the people speak one of the Bantu languages; the main Bantu ethnic groups, all of whom live in the southern half of the country, are the Baganda (who make up about 17% of the country's total population), Banyankole, Basoga, Bakiga, and Bagisu. Other language groups in Uganda are the Western Nilotic (principally the Langi, Acholi, and Alur), whose speakers live in the north and make up about 15% of the population; the Eastern Nilotic (mainly the Iteso and Karimajong), whose members live in the northeast and make up about 10% of the population; and the Sudanic (the Lugbara), whose speakers live in the northwest and make up about 5% of the population. Between 1980 and 1985, thousands of refugees (mostly Tutsis) from Rwanda and Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) settled in Uganda. English and Swahili are the country's official languages. More than 80% of the people are Christian, while about 12% are Muslim; the rest follow traditional religious beliefs.


The economy of Uganda, which was devastated during the Idi Amin regime of the 1970s and the subsequent civil war, made a significant comeback beginning in the mid-1980s, when economic reforms aimed at dampening inflation and boosting production and export earnings were undertaken. The country is overwhelmingly agricultural, and farming employs over 80% of the workforce. Most of the farms are small in size. The chief food crops are cassava, sweet potatoes, corn, millet, and pulses. The principal cash crops are coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, cut flowers, and sugarcane. Large numbers of poultry, cattle, goats, and sheep are raised. There is a sizable fishing industry, and much hardwood (especially mahogany) is cut.

Copper ore, once the leading mineral resource, has been virtually mined out. Other minerals extracted on a small scale include cobalt, tin and iron ores, beryl, tungsten, and gold. Uganda's few manufactures are limited mainly to processed agricultural goods, but they also include textiles, chemical fertilizer, and steel. There is a large hydroelectric plant (Nalubaale Power Station) at Owen Falls, located on the Victoria Nile where it leaves Lake Victoria, as well as other hydroelectric facilities.

Uganda has two main rail lines; one traverses the southern part of the country, the other connects Tororo on the Kenya border with Gulu in the north. The country is linked by rail with Mombasa, Kenya, on the Indian Ocean. The annual value of Uganda's imports is usually considerably higher than the value of its exports. The principal exports are coffee (which accounts for the bulk of export revenues), fish and fish products, tea, cotton, horticultural products, and gold. The leading imports are capital equipment, vehicles, petroleum, medical supplies, and cereals. The main trade partners are Kenya, European Union countries, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa.


Uganda is governed under the constitution of 1995 as amended. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The unicameral legislature consists of the 332-seat National Assembly, whose members also serve for five years; 215 of the members are directly elected, and the rest are nominated from women, the army, and other groups. Administratively, the country is divided into 80 districts, grouped into four regions (Northern, Western, Central, and Eastern).


Early History

Around 500 B.C., Bantu-speaking people migrated into SW Uganda from the west. By the 14th cent. they were organized in several kingdoms (known as the Cwezi states), which had been established by the Hima. Around 1500, Nilotic-speaking Luo people from present-day E South Sudan settled the Cwezi states and established the Bito dynasties of Buganda (in some Bantu languages, the prefix Bu means state; thus, Buganda means “state of the Baganda people”), Bunyoro, and Ankole. Later in the 16th cent., other Luo-speaking peoples conquered N Uganda, forming the Alur and Acholi ethnic groups. In the 17th cent. the Langi and Iteso migrated into Uganda.

During the 16th and 17th cent., Bunyoro was the leading state of S Uganda, controlling an area that stretched into present-day Rwanda and Tanzania. From about 1700, Buganda began to expand (largely at the expense of Bunyoro), and by 1800 it controlled a large territory bordering Lake Victoria from the Victoria Nile to the Kagera River. Buganda was centrally organized under the kabaka (king), who appointed regional administrators and maintained a large bureaucracy and a powerful army. The Baganda raided widely for cattle, ivory, and slaves. In the 1840s Muslim traders from the Indian Ocean coast reached Buganda, and they exchanged firearms, cloth, and beads for the ivory and slaves of Buganda. Beginning in 1869, Bunyoro, ruled by Kabarega (or Kabalega) and using guns obtained from traders from Khartoum, challenged Buganda's ascendancy. By the mid-1880s, however, Buganda again dominated S Uganda.

European Contacts and Religious Conflicts

In 1862, John Hanning Speke, a British explorer interested in establishing the source of the Nile, became the first European to visit Buganda. He met with Mutesa I, as did Henry M. Stanley, who reached Buganda in 1875. Mutesa, fearful of attacks from Egypt, agreed to Stanley's proposal to allow Christian missionaries (who Mutesa mistakenly thought would provide military assistance) to enter his realm. Members of the British Protestant Church Missionary Society arrived in 1877, and they were followed in 1879 by representatives of the French Roman Catholic White Fathers; each of the missions gathered a group of converts, which in the 1880s became fiercely antagonistic toward one another. At the same time, the number of Baganda converts to Islam was growing.

In 1884, Mutesa died and was succeeded as kabaka by Mwanga, who soon began to persecute the Christians out of fear for his own position. In 1888, Mwanga was deposed by the Christians and Muslims and replaced by his brothers. He regained the throne in 1889, only to lose it to the Muslims again after a few weeks. In early 1890, Mwanga permanently regained his throne, but at the expense of losing much of his power to Christian chiefs.

The Colonial Era

During the period in 1889 when Mwanga was kabaka, he was visited by Carl Peters, the German colonialist, and signed a treaty of friendship with Germany. Great Britain grew alarmed at the growth of German influence and the potential threat to its own position on the Nile. In 1890, Great Britain and Germany signed a treaty that gave the British rights to what was to become Uganda. Later that year Frederick Lugard, acting as an agent of the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEA), arrived in Buganda at the head of a detachment of troops, and by 1892 he had established the IBEA's authority in S Uganda and had also helped the Protestant faction defeat the Roman Catholic party in Buganda.

In 1894, Great Britain officially made Uganda a protectorate. The British at first ruled Uganda through Buganda, but when Mwanga opposed their growing power, they deposed him, replaced him with his infant son Daudi Chwa, and began to rule more directly. From the late 1890s to 1918, the British established their authority in the rest of Uganda by negotiating treaties and by using force where necessary. In 1900 an agreement was signed with Buganda that gave the kingdom considerable autonomy and also transformed it into a constitutional monarchy controlled largely by Protestant chiefs. In 1901 a railroad from Mombasa on the Indian Ocean reached Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, which in turn was connected by boat with Uganda; the railroad was later extended to Jinja and Kampala. In 1902 the Eastern prov. of Uganda was transferred to the British East Africa Protectorate (Kenya) for administrative reasons.

In 1904 the commercial cultivation of cotton was begun, and cotton soon became the major export crop; coffee and sugar production accelerated in the 1920s. The country attracted few permanent European settlers, and the cash crops were mostly produced by African smallholders and not on plantations as in other colonies. Many Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, and Goans) settled in Uganda, where they played a leading role in the country's commerce. During the 1920s and 30s the British considerably reduced Buganda's independence.

In 1921 a legislative council for the protectorate was established; its first African member was admitted only in 1945, and it was not until the mid-1950s that a substantial number of seats was allocated to Africans. In 1953, Mutesa II was deported for not cooperating with the British; he was allowed to return in 1955, but the rift between Buganda and the rest of Uganda remained. In 1961 there were three main political parties in Uganda—the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), whose members were mostly non-Baganda; the Democratic party, made up chiefly of Roman Catholic Baganda; and the Kabaka Yekka [Kabaka only] party, comprising only Baganda.

An Independent Nation

On Oct. 9, 1962, Uganda became independent, with A. Milton Obote, a Lango leader of the UPC, as prime minister. Buganda was given considerable autonomy. In 1963, Uganda became a republic, and Mutesa was elected president. The first years of independence were dominated by a struggle between the central government and Buganda. In 1966, Obote introduced a new constitution that ended Buganda's autonomy. The Baganda protested vigorously and seemed on the verge of taking up arms when Obote captured the kabaka's palace at Mengo, forced the kabaka to flee the country, and ended effective Baganda resistance.

In 1967 a new constitution was introduced giving the central government—especially the president—much power and dividing Buganda into four districts; the traditional kingships were also abolished. In 1969, Obote decided to follow a leftist course in the hope of bridging the country's ethnic and regional differences through a common social policy.

Amin's Reign of Terror

In Jan., 1971, Obote, at the time outside the country, was deposed in a coup by Maj. Gen. Idi Amin. Amin was faced with opposition within the army by officers and troops loyal to Obote, but by the end of 1971 he was in firm control. Amin cultivated good relations with the Baganda. In 1972–73 he initiated severe diplomatic wrangles with the United States and Israel, both of which had provided Uganda with military and economic aid and were now accused of trying to undermine the government. Amin purged the Lango and Acholi tribes and moved against the army. In Aug., 1972, he ordered Asians who were not citizens of Uganda to leave the country, and within three months all 60,000 had left, most of them for Great Britain. Although a small minority, Asians had played a significant role in Ugandan business and finance, and their expulsion hurt the economy. From 1971 to 1973, there were border clashes with Tanzania, partly instigated by exiled Ugandans loyal to Obote, but, in early 1973, Amin and Julius Nyerere, president of Tanzania, reached an agreement that appeared to head off future incidents.

Amin's rule became increasingly autocratic and brutal; it is estimated that over 300,000 Ugandans were killed during the 1970s. His corrupt and arbitrary system of administration exacerbated rifts in the military, which led to a number of coup attempts. Israel conducted a successful raid on the Entebbe airport in 1976 to rescue passengers on a plane hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Amin's expulsion of Israeli technicians won him the support of Arab nations such as Libya.

In 1976, Amin declared himself president for life and Uganda claimed portions of W Kenya; the move was diverted by the threat of a trade embargo. In 1978, Uganda invaded Tanzania in an attempt to annex the Kagera region. The next year Tanzania launched a successful counterinvasion and effectively unified disparate anti-Amin forces under the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF). Amin's forces were driven out and Amin himself fled the country.

Uganda after Amin

Tanzania left an occupation force in Uganda that participated in the looting of Kampala. Yusufu Lule was installed as president but was quickly replaced by Godfrey Binaisa. The UNLF, suffering from internal strife, was swept out of power by Milton Obote and his party, the Uganda People's Congress. The National Resistance Army (NRA) conducted guerrilla campaigns throughout the country and, following the withdrawal of Tanzanian troops in 1981, attacked former Amin supporters. In the early 1980s, approximately 200,000 Ugandans sought refuge in neighboring Rwanda, Congo, and Sudan. In 1985, a military coup deposed Obote, and Lt. Gen. Tito Okello became head of state.

When it was not given a role in the new regime, the NRA continued its guerrilla campaign and took Kampala in 1986, and its leader, Yoweri Museveni, became the new president. He instituted a series of measures, including cutbacks in the civil service and army and privatization of state-owned companies, in a generally successful effort to rebuild the shattered economy. Many former government soldiers who had fled to the north when Museveni came to power formed a rebel force there, and in 1987 they mounted an unsuccessful attack on the new government. The rebels, however, were not crushed. AIDS became a serious health problem during the 1980s and has continued to claim many lives in Uganda; at the same time, however, the country has had greater success than many other African nations in slowing the spread of the disease.

In 1993, Museveni permitted the restoration of traditional kings, including King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the kabaka of the Baganda people, but did not grant the kings political power. In 1994 a constituent assembly was elected; the resulting constitution, promulgated in 1995, legalized and extended a ban on political party activity, although allowing party members to run as independents. In May, 1996, Museveni was easily returned to office in the country's first direct presidential elections. A new parliament, chosen in nonpartisan elections in June of the same year, was dominated by Museveni supporters.

In the late 1980s and 90s rebel militias based in Sudan and Congo (Kinshasa) staged intermittent attacks on border areas of Uganda. Fighting with northern rebels, mainly the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), continued into the next decade. In 2002, after Sudanese officials permitted Ugandan forces to attack rebels bases in Sudan, the conflict intensified, but the army failed to achieve any significant success.

Ugandan troops also became involved in ongoing civil unrest in the Congo (then called Zaïre), first (1997) helping rebel groups to oust Mobutu Sese Seko and install Laurent Kabila as president, and then (1998) backing groups who sought to overthrow Kabila. Conflicts also erupted with Rwandan troops in the Congo in 1999. Uganda claimed its only interest was in securing its own borders. In early 2000, Ugandan officials discovered the bodies of nearly 800 people who had died by mass murder and mass suicide; they had been members of the Ugandan millennialist Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. In May, 2000, new fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan forces in the Congo led to tense relations with Rwanda.

In June a referendum was held in which Ugandans could vote for Museveni's “no-party” system or a multiparty democracy. Museveni argued that Uganda was not ready for political parties, which he said had divided the nation by tribe and religion. Opposition leaders, calling Museveni's system a one-party state, called for a boycott of the referendum. Museveni secured the voters' approval, but by a narrower margin than in 1996; although 88% voted yes, the turnout was only 51%.

In the presidential election in Mar., 2001, Museveni was reelected, but his margin of victory was inflated by apparent vote fraud. His popularity was, in part, diminished by discontent with Uganda's intervention in Congo's civil war and signs of corruption in the government. Uganda's forces were largely withdrawn from Congo by the end of 2002, but there was fighting in 2003 between the remaining Ugandan forces and Congolese rebels allied with Rwanda shortly before the last Ugandan troops withdrew. In 2005 the International Court of Justice ruled that Uganda had engaged in human rights abuses while in Congo, and had to pay compensation to Congo for looting by its forces.

Early in 2004 LRA rebels massacred perhaps as many as 200 civilians in N Uganda. The attack prompted a renewed government offensive that achieved some successes against the LRA; late in 2004 there was a brief truce with the LRA. In Oct., 2005, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for LRA leader Joseph Kony in connection with atrocities committed by the LRA. Meanwhile, in July, 2005, voters approved a return to a multiparty system, This time Museveni supported the abandonment of Uganda's “no-party” politics, in part because of international and internal pressure for the change. He also subsequently signed into law a constitutional amendment that eliminated the presidential term limit.

In Oct., 2005, Kizza Besigye, a former colonel who had been Museveni's doctor and confidant and who had run against the president in the 2001 election and received almost 30% of the vote, returned to Uganda from self-imposed exile to challenge Museveni again for the presidency. In November Besigye was arrested on treason and rape charges that his supporters denounced as trumped up to keep him for running against Museveni, who subsequently announced he would seek a third term. The arrest sparked riots and was criticized internationally, including by the African Union's fledgling Pan-African parliament. (Besigye was acquitted of the rape charge in Mar., 2006, and the constitutional court ordered the treason charges dismissed in Oct., 2010.) The campaign was also marred by army attempts to influence the vote in favor of Museveni and other irregularities. Museveni was reelected in Feb., 2006, with 59% of the vote. The results, which were challenged by Besigye's party, were upheld (April) by Uganda's supreme court, which said that the irregularities were not significant enough to have affected the outcome.

Talks with the LRA that began in July, 2006, led to an August agreement that called for a cease-fire, for rebels to assemble at camps in S Sudan, and subsequent peace negotiations. Kony and other LRA leaders, fearing ICC warrants for their arrest, remained in Congo along the Sudan border, and in late September the LRA pulled out of the talks, accusing the Ugandan army of trying to surround the camps. Uganda, on its part, accused LRA forces of violating the agreement by leaving the camps. In late October, Museveni won Congo's agreement to oust the LRA from its camps there, and subsequently Uganda and the LRA signed a new cease-fire agreement that called for buffer zones around the assembly camps. The cease-fire was extended several times, but otherwise the negotiations progressed with difficulty, and the cease-fire was marred by occasional violence.

In Feb., 2008, a peace agreement, including a permanent cease-fire, was finally reached with the LRA. It was scheduled to be signed in early April, but a number of issues, including the nature of procedures for trying rebels accused of crimes and whether ICC warrants against LRA leaders would be dismissed, led Kony (who had moved from Congo to the Central African Republic in March) to fail to sign the accord as planned. Subsequently there were signs that the LRA was rearming and recruiting. In June Uganda, Sudan, and Congo (Kinshasa) agreed to mount a joint offensive against the LRA if the talks failed, while Kony said that he would engage in further negotiations. The ICC warrants remained a sticking point, however. In Sept.–Oct., 2008, there were LRA attacks against villages in NE Congo that led the ICC's prosecutor to once again demand Kony's arrest.

In Dec., 2008, after Ugandan rebels based in Congo failed in November to sign a peace agreement with Uganda, Ugandan, Congolese, and South Sudanese forces mounted a joint campaign against the rebels' Congolese bases that lasted until Mar., 2009. Subsequently, Ugandan forces fought LRA forces that had moved into the Central African Republic, and Ugandan forces continued small-scale anti-LRA operations in the three neighboring countries in subsequent years. In 2012 the African Union announced plans for a regional military force led by Uganda and including Central African, Congolese, and South Sudanese troops to capture Kony. In 2014 Ugandan forces operating in the Central African Republic against the LRA clashed with Seleka rebels there and accused them of collaborating with the LRA. Uganda ended its efforts to capture Kony in 2017.

In Sept., 2009, some of the worst riots in more than two decades occurred in Kampala when the government refused to allow the Baganda king to visit Kayunga, a district that had declared its secession from Buganda, the traditional Baganda kingdom. In November, passage of a land law that strengthened tenants rights was denounced by Bagandan traditional chiefs, who control large tracts of land. Tensions between the government and the Baganda continued into 2010, and were aggravated in March when a fire destroyed the tombs of the Buganda kings.

In June, 2010, Kampala suffered two suicide-bomb attacks; mounted by hardline Somali Islamists, they were in retaliation for the presence of Ugandan peacekeeping troops in Somalia. In the Feb., 2011, presidential election Museveni's primary challenger was again Besigye. The president was reelected with 68% of the vote in an election marred by some irregularities; Besigye again accused the ruling party of fraud, and subsequently mounted recurring protests against Museveni's government.

In 2013, the parliament enacted legislation that gave officials increased powers to limit and disperse public political gatherings. Ugandan forces were sent in Dec., 2013, into South Sudan in support of the country's president after the outbreak of fighting; they remained there into 2015. More than 800,000 of the 1.6 million refugees that have fled the conflict in South Sudan are in Uganda; their numbers increased significantly from July, 2016, and at one time exceeded 1 million. The country also is host to some 400,000 refugees from Congo-Kinshasa.

The Feb., 2016, presidential election was in large part of replay of the 2011 contest between Museveni and Besigye, though Besigye won an increased percentage of the vote. The campaign was marred by intimidation of the opposition and the the vote by irregularities, and the opposition again accused the government of fraud. Besigye was subsequently arrested, and then charged with treason for demanding an independent audit of the results and declaring himself the true winner of the election.

In 2017, age restrictions on presidential candidates were scrapped, permitting Museveni to run yet again. In the Jan., 2021, elections, Museveni's main challenger was Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu), a popular singer and legislator; Museveni and the National Resistance Movement again won, but Wine secured 34% of the vote and his party became the largest opposition party. The weeks leading up to the election were the most turbulent since Museveni first became president, and Wine accused Museveni of fraud.


See D. E. Apter, The Political Kingdom in Uganda (2d ed. 1967); P. M. Gukiina, Uganda: A Case Study in African Political Development (1972); G. S. Ibingira, The Forging of an African Nation (1973); J. Jorgensen, Uganda (1981); A. Omara-Otunnu, Politics and the Military in Uganda, 1890–1985 (1987); D. Berg-Schlosser and R. Siegler, Political Stability and Development: A Comparative Analysis of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda (1990).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a country in East Africa. Part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Uganda is bordered by the Sudan on the north, the Republic of Zaïre on the west, Rwanda and Tanzania on the south, and Kenya on the east. In the southeast it is bordered by Lake Victoria. Area, 236,000 sq km. Population, 11.55 million (1975). The capital is the city of Kampala. Administratively, Uganda is divided into 20 districts.

Constitution and government. Uganda is a republic. After the military coup d’etat of 1971, some provisions of the constitution of 1967 were revoked by a decree of Feb. 2, 1971. All power is concentrated in the hands of the president: he is the head of state, the head of government, and the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces. He appoints the members of the government and all the higher civil and military officials; he also exercises legislative authority and ratifies international treaties.

In 1973 the State Supreme Council, consisting of the president and members of the high command of the armed forces, was created.

On the local level, power is exercised by provincial and district commissioners, who are members of the armed forces.

The judicial system comprises the High Court, three grades of magistrate’s courts, and military tribunals. The highest court is the Court of Appeal for Uganda.

Natural features. The terrain is dominated by a gently rolling plain, situated at elevations ranging from 1,100 to 1,500 m. The plain, broken by occasional inselbergs, is dissected by shallow valleys with flat, primarily swampy, alluvial floors. Located in the south, in a broad, flat depression, is the largest lake in Africa—Lake Victoria—the northern part of which belongs to Uganda. To the north is the shallow Lake Kyoga. Stretching along the western border of Uganda is a graben, the western branch of the Great Rift Valley System. Lake Mobutu Sese Seko (formerly Lake Albert) and Lake Idi Amin Dada (formerly Lake Edward) are located in the graben. The lakes, which are connected by the Semliki River, are surrounded by lacustro-alluvial plains, with elevations ranging from 600 to 900 m. Stretching between these two lakes along the border between Uganda and Zaïre are the Ruwenzori Mountains, which rise to an elevation of 5,109 m. In the southwest, on the border with Rwanda, are the extinct volcanoes of the Virunga group, including Mount Muha-vura (4,127 m), Mount Gahinga (3,574 m), and Mount Sabinio (3,634 m); in the southeast, on the border with Kenya, is the El-gon extinct volcano (4,322 m).

A considerable portion of Uganda’s territory is composed of ancient metamorphic rocks migmatites, and granitic gneisses of the foundation of the African Platform. The southeast has developed volcanogenic-terrigenous series of rocks of the Archean Nyanzian System, irregularly overlain by conglomerates and schists of the Kavirondo System, with intrusions of granites. A folded zone, composed of schists and quartzites of the Buganda-Toro System, stretches from the northwestern shore of Lake Victoria to the Ruwenzori Mountains. The granitoids that dissect these rocks, as well as the overlying sandstones and conglomerates, are about 1,800 million years old. The northeastern part of Uganda, divided by the Rift Valley System, belongs to the Mozambique Zone of late Precambrian and early Paleozoic tectonic activation. The northern edge of the Kibaro-Urundi fold belt extends into the southwestern part of Uganda; this zone is composed of thick (up to 8 km) Riphean quartzites and argillites of the Karagwe-Ankolean System, broken through by granites 1,300–1,400 million years old. The western branch of the Great Rift Valley System is genetically linked with the Neogenic-An-thropogenic complex of volcanogenic and sedimentary rocks and alkaline-carbonitic volcanism.

A zone of Cretaceous carbonatites, site of the Sukulu and Bukusu iron-ore deposits, is in eastern Uganda. The Sukulu carbonatite deposits also contain large amounts of niobium (600,000 tons), zirconium (500,000 tons), and apatite. Estimated reserves of apatite in the Sukulu deposit are 202 million tons of ore; average apatite content in the ore is 31 percent. Corresponding figures for the Bukusu deposit are 50 million tons and 24.59 percent. There are deposits of copper-cobalt ores among the Precambrian metamorphic rocks in the foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains and complex-ore deposits south of Lake George. Deposits of gold are linked with the veins of quartz that dissect the rocks of the Buganda-Toro and Karagwe-Ankolean systems; in southwestern Uganda, linked with the pegmatite fields in the Karagwe-Ankolean System are deposits of tin (Mwerasandu, Rwekinero, Kichwamba), tungsten (Kiasampowo), and beryllium (Ankole, Kigezi), as well as deposits of tantalum, niobium, lithium, and bismuth. There are also deposits of vermiculite, muscovite, talc, precious stones, refractory clays, and rock salt.

The climate is equatorial-monsoonal, with humid summers, moderated by the considerable elevation above sea level. The average monthly temperatures in Entebbe, which is situated on Lake Victoria, range from 20.5°C to 22°C, while at Fort Portal they vary from 18.5°C to 19.5°C. Annual precipitation ranges from 750–1,000 to 1,500 mm and more; the rainy season, usually with two maximum periods of precipitation, is from September through May south of the equator and from March through November north of the equator.

Almost all of Uganda lies in the basin of the Nile River, which flows through Uganda from south to north. Flowing out of Lake Victoria under the name Victoria Nile, the river passes through Lakes Kyoga and Mobutu Sese Seko. The lakes and individual sections of the Nile are navigable.

The soils are primarily red ferrallites;. The most arid regions have reddish-brown soils with accumulations of iron. Wooded savannas predominate, although pockets of hardwood and evergreen forests have been preserved. The lower slopes of the high mountains are covered with humid evergreen forests, which higher up give way to groves of bamboo and tree heath, which in turn give way to Afro-Alpine meadows with lobelia and woody species of the genus Senecio.

The fauna abounds in large mammals, including elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, buffalo, antelopes, giraffes, lions, leopards, and apes. They are preserved primarily in national parks, the principal ones being Ruwenzori (formerly Queen Elizabeth) and Kabarega (formerly Murchison Falls). There is a diverse world of birds and reptiles (crocodiles and snakes), as well as of insects, many of which are harmful to man, such as tsetse flies, simulid flies, and malarial mosquitoes. Fish are abundant (Tilapia, Nile perch, Protopterus).

I. N. OLEINIKOV and N. A. BOZHKO (geological structure and minerals)

Population. Black Africans make up over 97 percent of the population. The most numerous are peoples of the Bantu language family. Living near Lake Victoria and in the central regions, they include the Baganda, Banyaruanda, Basoga, and Banyoro. The north is inhabited by peoples of the Nilotic language family—the Southern Luo, Teso (or Iteso), Alur, Karamo-jong, Bari, Nandi, Jaluo, and others—while the area bordering the Sudan is inhabited by peoples speaking languages of central and eastern Sudan (the Lugbara, Madi, and other tribes). Some Europeans and Asians also live in Uganda. Fifty-six percent of the population adheres to native traditional faiths; 38 percent are Christians and 6 percent Muslims. The official languages are Swahili (since 1973) and English. The Gregorian calendar is used.

The annual population growth during the period 1970–73 averaged 3.3 percent. In 1973 hired workers totaled 347,600 persons, of which 154,300 were employed in various services, 61,200 in agriculture, lumbering, and fishing, 5,300 in mining, 53,600 in the processing industry, 44,400 in construction, 17,000 in trade, and 11,900 in transportation and communications. Most of the hired laborers are migrant peasant workers, some from neighboring countries, for example, Rwanda and Zaire.

The average population density is 47 persons per sq km. The most densely populated areas are the southern and central parts of Uganda, especially the shores of Lake Victoria, where the population density exceeds 150 persons per sq km (1974). The least densely populated areas are the northeastern regions. In 1970 the urban population accounted for 7.8 percent of the total (compared to 4 percent in 1960). The major cities are Kampala (80,000 inhabitants; with suburbs, 331,000; 1972), Jinja, Mbale, Entebbe, Kabale, Fort Portal, and Tororo.

Historical survey. The first traces of human habitation in what is now Uganda date from the Lower Paleolithic period. The fundamental backbone of Uganda’s population was formed during the first millennium AD. as a result of Bantu migrations from the forests of the western Congo and migrations of the Nilotic nomads from the northeast. During the 13th and 14th centuries (tenth and 11th centuries according to some sources), the state formation of Kitara-Bunyoro arose in the interlake region—the area bounded by the Kagera River in the south, the Nile River in the east, and Lake Mobutu Sese Seko in the west. In the 16th century Kitara-Bunyoro broke up into several independent kingdoms, including Bunyoro (Unyoro), Buganda, Ankole, and Karagwe. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Bunyoro greatly expanded its borders at the expense of neighboring kingdoms. At the beginning of the 19th century, Buganda emerged as the leading state, and by the mid-19th century it had subjugated a number of tribes and kingdoms of the interlake region and had established firm trade ties with the coastal regions of East Africa. By the 1860’s, Buganda had become an early-feudal-type state, with a developed military bureaucracy. Supreme power belonged to a hereditary ruler—the kabaka. Other kingdoms of the interlake region—Ankole, Toro, and Bunyoro—were structured like Buganda.

Between the 1870’s and the 1890’s the interlake kingdoms became the object of expansion on the part of Great Britain, Germany, and France, to which end Protestant and Catholic missionaries played an important role. The peoples of the interlake region offered stubborn resistance to the colonizers. The Buganda kabaka Mutesa I (ruled 1860–84) succeeded in maintaining his kingdom’s independence by taking advantage of the conflicting interests among the European powers. However, in accordance with the Anglo-German agreement of 1890, the interlake region became a British sphere of influence. Control over the territory of Uganda was exercised by the British Imperial East Africa Company until 1894, when a British protectorate was established over Buganda; later other interlake kingdoms were included within this protectorate. The British colonialists established a system of indirect administration based on the support of the local feudal-tribal aristocracy. The power of the kabaka was retained, and the feudal ownership of land and feudal obligations were legitimized. In Buganda, for example, approximately 46 percent of the land remained in the hands of the feudal lords. All administrative bodies were controlled by the British authorities, headed by a governor-general. Uganda’s economy was oriented solely toward the production of agricultural crops for export, with cotton and coffee ranking at the top.

An organized, anticolonial movement emerged in Uganda in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The first political organizations of the indigenous population were created, such as the Young Buganda Association (1918) and the Bataka Union (1921–27), which opposed the economic discrimination against Africans and advocated the return of the land to the Africans, the admission of representatives of all strata of the population to the local bodies of administration, and the democratization of society.

After World War II (1939–45) the working class, which before the war numbered about 80,000, joined the anticolonial movement. In January 1945, Buganda was gripped by a general strike, headed by Uganda’s first African trade union, that of truck drivers (founded 1939). Demands were made for increases in wages and the purchase price of cotton, as well as for the democratization of administrative bodies. Although the British succeeded in quelling the strike, they were nevertheless compelled to make concessions: some Africans became members of the legislative council (created in 1921). In 1946 the Bataka Party emerged in Buganda, receiving support from broad strata of the population, and in 1948 the Uganda African Farmers’ Union was founded. These organizations led mass anticolonial and antifeudal actions in Buganda in late April and early May 1949, which were suppressed by the British with troops and airplanes. More than 1,700 persons were arrested, and the Bataka Party and the Uganda African Farmer’s Union were banned.

In 1952 a new political party was created in Uganda—the Uganda National Congress—which demanded the union of all tribes, self-rule, universal suffrage, and the transfer to Africans of control over the country’s economy. In the period 1953–55 the National Congress headed a mass movement against Great Britain’s efforts to unite Uganda, Kenya, and Tanganyika in a colonial East African federation for the purpose of strengthening British colonial domination. Kabaka Mutesa II (ruled from 1939; crowned 1942), who supported the movement, was exiled from Uganda for two years. During the second half of the 1950’s moderate and radical trends emerged within the anticolonial movement. In 1955 the moderate leaders of the National Congress left the party and subsequently founded first the Progressive Party and then the Democratic Party, which obtained the support of moderate political figures in Uganda, as well as of Catholic missionary circles. The radical wing of the National Congress and the Uganda People’s Union (founded 1958) united in March 1960 to form a new party—the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC)— whose principal demand was the country’s immediate independence. In 1961 a constitutional conference was held in London regarding Uganda’s future, attended by, among others, representatives of all the political parties and the rulers of Buganda, Toro, Ankole, and Bunyoro. As a result of a resolution adopted at the conference, Uganda was proclaimed an independent, federal state on Oct. 9,1962.

The first government of independent Uganda was headed by M. Obote, leader of the UPC. In 1962, Uganda was accepted into the UN, and that same year it established diplomatic relations with the USSR. The Ugandan government adopted a policy of nonalignment. In 1962, Buganda’s profeudal party, the Kabaka Yekka (“the kabaka only”), founded in 1961, came out against the government’s attempt to create a centralized state. The government sought to stabilize internal affairs by offering the kabaka the Ugandan presidency, and in October 1963, Mutesa II was elected president. However, the leaders of the Kabaka Yekka Party continued their separatist course. In February 1966, Prime Minister Obote removed Mutesa II from the office of president. In accordance with the 1966 Constitution, the rights and privileges of the traditional rulers and leaders were significantly curtailed. Obote became president. The feudal circles of Buganda openly opposed the central government. In May 1966 the Obote government declared a state of emergency in Buganda and arrested the most active separatists. Mutesa II fled to Great Britain. The 1967 Constitution abolished hereditary rule. Between 1968 and 1970 the Obote government promulgated a number of measures aimed at developing the state sector in the country’s economy and limiting the activities of foreign capital. In December 1969 the UPC adopted the Common Man’s Charter, which contained a number of progressive provisions regarding the country’s future socioeconomic development.

On Jan. 25,1971, General Idi Amin led a military coup d’etat in Uganda. Accused of malfeasance, Obote was replaced. The National Assembly and the government were dissolved, all political parties were banned, and a new government headed by Idi Amin was formed. In February 1971, Idi Amin became president of Uganda. He instituted an active policy of Africanizing the economy. He sought to strengthen the state sector, while at the same time encouraging national private enterprise in domestic trade. Idi Amin’s gradual ascent to dictatorship gave rise to the sharpening of social and economic contradictions in the country. In 1979 his military government was overthrown, and the National Liberation Front of Uganda came to power.

In foreign policy the government of independent Uganda has spoken out repeatedly against racism and apartheid and in support of peoples struggling for independence and sovereignty.


Economic geography. Uganda is an underdeveloped country with an agrarian economy inherited from the colonial past based on the production of raw materials. About 90 percent of the population is employed in agriculture (1973). The gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to $1.475 billion in 1972 ($141 per person). Agriculture accounts for (1971) 48.5 percent of the GDP, mining for 1.2, manufacturing and processing for 7.5, construction for 1.5, transportation and communications for 3, trade for 10.5, and other branches for 27.8. The first five-year plan for developing the economy was introduced in 1961, and the third five-year plan (1971–76) was completed. The Uganda government is striving to broaden and strengthen the position of the state sector in all spheres of the economy; at the same time, it encourages the cooperative movement.

AGRICULTURE. A law passed in 1969 strengthened the public (communal) ownership of most of the country’s land suitable for farming; land parcels were limited to 200 ha, and the remaining land was to be distributed among landless and poor peasants. A decree on land reform was issued in June 1975 abolishing feudal land ownership and proclaiming all land to be state property and not subject to buying or selling.

Small commercial farms predominate. Cooperatives, primarily for the marketing of cash crops, number about 2,500. Most of the agricultural output, including cash crops and exports, is produced by small peasant farms. Plowed areas and plantations of perennial crops account for approximately one-fourth of all of Uganda’s land (19.365 million ha), while pastureland and meadows account for slightly more than one-fourth. Of the total land under cultivation, only 4,400 ha are irrigated. Farming is the chief branch of agriculture. As much as three-fifths of the cultivated area is occupied by food crops, including cassava (550,000 ha in 1974; 1.1 million tons), millet and sorghum (895,000 ha; 900,000 tons), corn (290,000 ha; 350,000 tons), sweet potatoes, yams, rice, and beans. The principal export crops are coffee (200,000 tons in 1974) and cotton (809,000 ha; 65,000 tons of cotton fiber), which are grown in the south and west. The state controls the preliminary processing of coffee and cotton, as well as their sale. Other cash crops include peanuts, tea, tobacco, and sugarcane.

Livestock raising is nomadic and seminomadic; the productivity is low. In 1974 there were 3.8 million head of cattle, 800,000 sheep, and 1.7 million goats. Fishing is done primarily in Lakes Victoria, Kyoga, and Mobutu Sese Seko; in 1975 the fish catch totaled 170,000 tons. In 1973 the country produced 14.7 million cu m of logs.

INDUSTRY. Industry is poorly developed and primarily involves the processing of agricultural raw materials. Mining is relatively well developed. Copper ores are mined (in Kilembe; 11,600 tons in 1974, by metal content), as well as apatites (23,000 tons in 1972). In 1974 electric energy production amounted to 780 million kW-hr, of which 772 million kW-hr were generated by hydroelectric power plants, mainly by the Owel Falls plant. Built where the Victoria Nile River flows out of Lake Victoria, the Owen Falls plant has a capacity of 225,000 kW. Modest-sized enterprises are engaged in the processing of coffee, tea, cotton, and sugarcane. Among the larger enterprises are a copper-smelting plant (9,000 tons of blister copper in 1974), steel-rolling mill, and a textile mill in Jinja and a cement plant (154,000 tons in 1974) and a plant for the production of phosphate fertilizers (23,900 tons) in Tororo. There is a sawmill in Kampala.

TRANSPORTATION. Uganda has 1,240 km of railroads and 24,400 km of automobile roads, of which 1,300 km are paved with asphalt. In 1972 there were 33,900 motor vehicles in the country. There is shipping on Lakes Victoria and Kyoga. Entebbe has an international airport.

FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS. In 1974 exports earned $325,900,000, while imports cost $217,700. In 1974, coffee accounted for 72.7 percent of all exports, cotton fiber for 12.1, copper for 5.4, and tea for 4.9. Other exports include leather and hides, and tobacco. The main imports are industrial equipment, fabrics, and petroleum products. The principal trade partners are the Common Market countries (primarily Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany), the USA, Japan, and Kenya. Uganda’s trade ties with the USSR have been developing.

In 1964, Uganda and the USSR concluded a trade agreement and an agreement on economic and technical cooperation, in accordance with which the USSR granted Uganda credit amounting to 14 million rubles (a number of facilities have been built). Uganda’s economic collaboration with the Arab countries has expanded. In 1975, Uganda and Libya signed an agreement on Libya’s rendering financial aid to Uganda in building a number of facilities, as well as an agreement on creating a Ugandan-Libyan company with a capital amounting to 350 million Uganda shillings, of which Uganda’s share is 49 percent and Libya’s is 51 percent.

The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling. At the exchange rate of November 1975,8.250 Uganda shillings = US$1.00.


Armed forces. The armed forces consist of an army, numbering 20,000 (1975), and an air force, with about 1,000 men and 30 combat aircraft. The president is the supreme commander in chief. Troops are recruited as paid volunteers.

Health and social welfare. According to UN data, during the period 1965–70 the average annual birth rate was 43.2 per 1,000 inhabitants, and the mortality rate was 17.6. Infant mortality rate was 160 per 1,000 live births. The principal causes of death are infectious and parasitic diseases. Malaria, gastrointestinal diseases, and typhus are widespread, as well as tuberculosis, children’s infections, helminthiases, and venereal diseases.

In 1970 there were 328 hospitals, with 15,300 beds (1.6 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), of which 10,500 beds were in 247 state institutions, where medical care is free, including food and medications. In 1971, there were 1,200 physicians (one physician per 8,700 inhabitants), 51 dentists, 60 pharmacists, and more than 4,000 other medical personnel. Physicians are trained at the medical school in Kampala; other medical workers are trained at 15 medical schools throughout the country. Expenditures on public health in 1971 amounted to 7.3 percent of the state budget.


VETERINARY SERVICES. Veterinary services are inadequate, and veterinary statistics are not properly kept. Various infectious diseases have been recorded in Uganda. As in other countries of tropical Africa, a considerable problem is posed by trypanosomiasis, pleuropneumonia, and blood parasitic diseases. The control of mites and ticks and other parasitic insects is a particular problem. According to some incomplete data, there is widespread occurrence of foot-and-mouth disease, streptotrichosis, rabies, blackleg, mange, hoofrot, Marek’s disease, fowl pox, Newcastle disease, coccidiosis, babesiasis, taleriosis, fascioliasis, cysticercosis, and mastitis. Also encountered are anthrax, diseases of the mucous membranes, nodular disease, hemorrhagic septicemia, tuberculosis, paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease), actinomycosis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, echinococcosis, anaplas-mosis, and sylvatic plague. Veterinary specialists are trained abroad. In 1974 there were only 49 veterinarians in Uganda.


Education and scientific institutions. In 1970 approximately 70 percent of the adult population was illiterate.’There is no compulsory education. The primary school, a seven-year course, accepts children at the age of six. In addition to government schools, there are also private schools. During the 1972–73 academic year, government primary schools had an enrollment of 745,000 pupils, while the private schools had 200,000. Primary schools include about 45 percent of the children of the age group concerned. The secondary school is a six-year school (4 + 2 years). During the 1972–73 academic year, secondary schools had an enrollment of about 47,900 students. Instruction is primarily in English.

Lower-level vocational and technical training is begun upon completion of primary school and lasts one to four years. Middle-level technical training is begun upon completion of the incomplete secondary school and lasts two years. During the 1970–71 academic year, about 3,000 students were receiving vocational and technical training.

Teachers for the primary schools are trained at teachers colleges; the course is four years for those who have completed primary school and two years for those who have finished the incomplete secondary school. Teachers for the incomplete secondary schools are trained for three years if they have finished the incomplete secondary school. During the 1972–73 academic year, approximately 4,400 persons were studying to be teachers.

Kampala has a university. Founded in 1922, it became University College in 1949 and the National University of Uganda in 1970. During the 1975–76 academic year, the university had a total enrollment of 3,700 students. Affiliated with the university are technical and teacher-training colleges. The largest library is that of the university, totaling 265,000 volumes. There are several museums in the country: the Uganda Museum and the Forest Department Museum, founded in 1952, in Kampala and the Geological Survey Museum in Entebbe. Entebbe also has botanical gardens, founded in 1898.


Among the national scientific institutions are the Kawanda Agricultural Research Station (founded 1937) with a herbarium and other sections, the Government Chemistry Department, and the Cotton Research Station, all in Kampala, and the Animal Health Research Centre (1926), the Geological Survey and Mines Department (1919), and the Forest Department, all in Entebbe. Scholarly and scientific work is also conducted at the National University and affiliated schools—the Institute of Social Research (1950) and the National Institute of Education (1964)—as well as by the Uganda Society (1933, Kampala), which conducts research on the country’s literature, history, and culture. In addition, research is conducted at certain museums and at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Located in Uganda are several regional East African research institutions: the East African Freshwater Fisheries Research Organization (founded 1948; located in Jinja), the East African Trypanosomiasis Research Organization (1949; Tororo), and the East African Virus Research Institute (1949; Entebbe).

Press, radio, and television. More than 30 newspapers and magazines are published in Uganda (1975). The most influential publications are Voice of Uganda (founded 1955; prior to 1972 known as Uganda Argus; circulation, 27,000), a government newspaper published in English; Munno (1911; circulation, 18,000), a daily Catholic newspaper published in the Luganda language; Taifa Empya (1953; circulation, 12,000), a daily newspaper published in Luganda; and Omukulembeze (1963; circulation, 8,000), a daily government newspaper.

Radio broadcasting, controlled by the government, is carried in Swahili, Luganda, Luo, Teso, and other native languages, as well as in English. Television broadcasting was begun in 1963.

Literature. Literature has developed in English. There is no established literary tradition in the languages of the Ugandan peoples (Luo, Acholi, and others), for which writing systems were only recently devised. Uganda’s achievement of independence in 1962 facilitated the development of literature. A large role in Uganda’s cultural life is played by the National University of Uganda, which publishes the literary magazine Penpoint.

The first professional writers emerged in the mid-1960’s. Barbara Kimenye published the books of short stories Kalasanda (1965) and Kalasanda Revisited (1965), drawn from village life. O. Oculi (born 1941) is the author of the narrative poem Orphan (1968) and the novel The Prostitute (1969), which deal with the lack of women’s rights in Uganda. R. Serumaga (born 1939) has published the novel Return to the Shadows (1969) and the play Elephants (1971) about life in the independent states of Africa. The narrative poems of O. p’Bitek (born 1931), Song of Lawino (1969) and SongofOcol (1970), depict the conflict between traditional African moral and ethical values and bourgeois norms. The novel The Experience (1970) by E. Seruma (pen name of Henry Kimbugwe; born 1944) is written in an expressionistic style, as are the poetry collection Uneven Ribs by Frantz Fanon (1971) and the diary Meditations in Limbo (1970) and the short-story collections Fixions (1969) and The Uniformed Man (1973) by T. Lo Liyong (born 1939). Social commentary and thematic diversity are characteristic traits of Ugandan poetry. Protests against social injustice resound in civic lyrics.


Architecture and art. The traditional Ugandan dwelling is a circular hut with a pointed roof and a framework made of poles and withes, woven and lashed together by straw and grass. Urban architecture developed in the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries in the spirit of European eclecticism. The first buildings made of concrete were built in the 1940’s. During this period a number of urban projects were worked out, as well as standardized plans of precast, low-story dwellings. After 1962 there was extensive construction of standardized housing, schools, hospitals, and industrial and administrative buildings, sometimes multistory.

Traditional Ugandan folk decorative and applied art is represented by the making of wooden utensils and furniture, pottery, woven and forged articles, and calabashes; beaded work is also widespread. In the fine arts, which began developing in the 1930’s, a national school has emerged, represented by the sculptor G. Kakooza, the monumentalist painter A. Atori, the easel painters M. O. Buluma and Y. Kalanzi, and the graphic artist W. Enwaku.

Music. With all that Ugandan culture shares with the cultures of other East African countries, its music is unique. There are rich musical traditions among the Baganda people, whose songs and instrumental music are based on the natural pentatonic scale (half-tones occur only in vocal music, while chromaticisms occur only in descending glissandos), in simple measures (3/8, 4/8, 2/4) and complex measures (6/8, 7/8, 8/8, 4/4). The musical instruments are diverse. The stringed instruments include the ennanga (an eight-stringed harp), the endongo (an eight-stringed lyre), the endigidi (a one-stringed violin), and the sekitulege (a bow instrument), the oldest Ugandan instrument. Among the wind instruments are five types of endere (a cane flute) and the amakondere (a horn). Among the percussion instruments are various drums, such as the embutu, the engalambi, the omubala, and the entenga; the last is a set of 15 diversely tuned drums, performance on which until recent times was entrusted only to the musicians of the kabaka (ruler of Uganda). Xylophones are popular, such as the akadinda (with 20–22 small keys) and the amadinda (a perfected xylophone with 12 small keys); often encountered are xylophone ensembles, known as entaala.

Other Ugandan peoples also have unique instruments, for example, the adeudeu (a five-stringed lyre) among the Teso, a five- or seven-stringed harp among the Alur, and a four- or five-stringed lyre among the Madi. Rattles, small bells, sansa, and other instruments are also widespread. Musical ensembles make extensive use of combinations of bow lutes, lyres, drums, and rattles, sometimes accompanied by singing. The vocal styles vary according to linguistic features and singing technique. Choral singing, often in octave, is characteristic of the Alur, Baganda, Banyoro, and Basogo. Solo singing at public events is encountered among the Karamojo. Song genres among the Baganda are diverse, including religious, ceremonial, military, work, play, and ode-type songs.

The proclamation of the country’s independence gave new impetus to the development of a national musical culture. Ugandan musicians are trained at the faculty of arts of the National University of Uganda in Kampala, the National Department of Music, and the National Teachers College, where 11-week seminars are conducted for primary-school music teachers. The National Folklore Troupe, the Embairé Xylophone Ensemble, and other musical groups have been created.

Leading Ugandan musicians include A. Okello, B. Mubangizi, L. Nyamayalwo, and P. Kivumbi. A number of Ugandan musicians live and work in Nairobi (Kenya), the cultural and economic center of East Africa: G. W. Kakoma (composer of the national anthem), G. Senoga-Zake, and E. O. Zadok Adolu. One of the most important scholars of Ugandan music is J. Kyagambiddwa.


Theater. Amateur theater groups, performing in English, emerged in Uganda after World War I (1914–18). The first few productions of the nascent East African drama were staged in the 1940’s at the University College. During the 1950’s various amateur groups united into a theater guild, upon whose initiative the National Theater building was constructed in Kampala in 1959. On the occasion of the proclamation of independence, a production was mounted of The Black Hermit by James Ngugi (Ngugi WaThiong’o).

During the 1960’s there were as many as 20 amateur theater groups in Uganda, several of which were directed by playwrights writing both in English and Luganda. The Ugandan theater is rooted in folk traditions. Particularly popular in the 1960’s were the Association of African Players and the Kampala City Players; the former staged Wycliffe Kiyingi’s plays Gwossussa Myanyi (1963) and The Valley ofSenya (1965) and the latter staged Bay-ron Kawadwa’s plays This Is Kampala (1966), The Will (1967), and St. Lwanda (1968). The playwright Eriza Kironde brought to Africa A. P. Chekhov’s light comedies The Proposal and The Bear (renamed The Pig), which were staged by youth groups. In 1964 the Heartbeat of Africa, a folk ensemble of song and dance, was founded in Kampala; the ensemble has toured abroad, including the USSR (1967 and 1973).

The playwright and stage director Robert Serumaga, who studied theater in Great Britain, created the touring group Theatre Limited (1968), the first professional dramatic theater in Uganda. Its repertoire has included A. Fugard’s The Blood Knot (1968), E. Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1969), W. Soyinka’s The Road (1969), Moliére’s The School for Wives (1970), and Serumaga’s The Elephants (1970) and Renga Moi (1972). Festival-revues of the various theatrical groups have been held annually in Kampala since 1955.



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Official name: Republic of Uganda

Capital city: Kampala

Internet country code: .ug

Flag description: Six equal horizontal bands of black (top), yellow, red, black, yellow, and red; a white disk is super­imposed at the center and depicts a red-crested crane (the national symbol) facing the hoist side

National anthem: “Oh, Uganda! may God uphold thee”

National bird: Crested crane (Regulorum gibbericeps)

National motto: “For God and My Country”

Geographical description: Eastern Africa, west of Kenya

Total area: 93,070 sq. mi. (241,040 sq. km.)

Climate: Tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August); semiarid in

Nationality: noun: Ugandan(s); adjective: Ugandan

Population: 30,262,610 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: African 99% (including Baganda 16.9%, Banyakole 9.5%, Basoga 8.4%, Bakiga 6.9%, Iteso 6.4%, Langi 6.1%, Acholi 4.7%, Bagisu 4.6%, Lugbara 4.2%, Bun­yoro 2.7%, other African), European, Asian, Arab 1%

Languages spoken: English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo lan­guages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic

Religions: Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42% (Angli­can 35.9%, Pentecostal 4.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.5%), Muslim 12.1%, other 3.1%, none 0.9%

Legal Holidays:

Boxing DayDec 26
Christmas DayDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Independence DayOct 9
International Women's DayMar 8
Labor DayMay 1
Martyrs' DayJun 3
National Heroes DayJun 9
New Year's DayJan 1
NRM Anniversary DayJan 26
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in E Africa: British protectorate established in 1894--96; gained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1963; a member of the Commonwealth. It consists mostly of a savanna plateau with part of Lake Victoria in the southeast and mountains in the southwest, reaching 5109 m (16 763 ft.) in the Ruwenzori Range. Official language: English; Swahili, Luganda, and Luo are also widely spoken. Religion: Christian majority. Currency: Ugandan shilling. Capital: Kampala. Pop.: 26 699 000 (2004 est.). Area: 235 886 sq. km (91 076 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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