A History of Uganda - EWB

A History of Uganda
Course Overview
Uganda: The Basic Facts
Before European Contact
The Colonization Period
World War I
The Interwar Years and World War II
Post World War II and Independence
Obote, Amin, and Museveni
Used 2 texts
Not a historian
Hard to combine
Not my research
Focus on Buganda
Somewhat skimpy information on recent
times – and little from the 2000s on
Uganda: The Basic Facts
Kingdom map
General location
Overview of geography and climate
The Ugandan border, as in many post-colonial
nations, is the invention of European
• Unusually, however, is that the border
corresponds to ancient kingdoms and political
regions; it just smushed them all together.
The Emergence of Kingship
In the Inter-lacustrine Region
Combine kinship, exogamy, shared symbols, & rules of solidarity
Members dispersed throughout the country
Clans do not consist of a true genealogical imprint
Social identities that allow one to be situated in relation to others, to find friends everywhere & benefit from their
hospitality & support
Differs in form in different countries
Largely similar across the inter-lacustrine region; the exception is Buganda
Between 40 and 50 clans – ebika
Subclans – masiga
Major lineages – mituba
Minor lineages - enyiriri
Fulfill and integrating function
For a long time, the fundamental basis for identity
Prominence of the Lungfish Clan (Mmamba clan) – holds many ritualistic & political positions – canoe fleet admiral
was from the Mmamba Clan; current Kabaka is from the Mmamba Clan; also Nyika Victor
Clans tied to the monarchy / central power
Bataka - clan heads – had a protective function, especially in regards to property; as clans dispersed, this became
less real
Clan sanctuaries
Clan Names and Totems
• Some names:
Nkima – Red-tailed Monkey
Mmammba – Lungfish
Nte – Cow
Ffumbe – Civet Cat (Walusimbi)
Nseenene – Grasshopper
Clan totems – primary & secondary
Clan prohibitions
Clan traditional roles
Clan mottoes
Last name reflects one’s clan: Namutebi belongs only to women of the
Mmammba Clan
• (First name often denotes whether one is Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim;
Old Testament and Italian names tend to be Catholic; New Testament &
British names tend to be Anglican; etc.)
The Cwezi Myth
• Cwezi myth – similar origin stories amongst
peoples of the inter-lacustrine region
• Archaeological evidence  the emergence of
political poles or centers between the 11th and
the 16th centuries  at one point, some sort
of somewhat cohesive political identity
• 18th century – Bunyoro declines & Buganda
The Bugandan Origin Story
• Buganda origin myth – Kintu
– Placed at the head of around 20 sovereigns
– That would place him around the beginning of the
13th century
• See Chretien
Relationship Between the Clans and
the Kabaka
“…the external origin of these two founders – the sky for Kintu and Kitara for Kimera – instead affirms the superiority of kingship, at the kabaka level,
over the power of the clans.”
“…kingship emerged through a compromise between a new authority of a strongly religious nature, and a network of influential clans.”
Different characters in the origin myth represent different clans
Every new kabaka was proclaimed “father of the clan chiefs [sebataka]”
Certain clans had roles in the enthronement ceremony (Lungfish (Mmamba), Pangolin, Mushroom, Cercopith Monkey [Nkima = Tim] & Colobus
Monkey); other traditional roles related to the monarchy
When a kabaka is enthroned, he is “slowly infused” with the force of his father under the supervision of the clan ritualists
Less reliance on clans as time goes by
Each kabaka belongs to his mother’s clan (opposite for the rest of society), so as to share power, at least symbolically, amongst the different clans
(remember, exogamy = you can’t marry someone from your own clan)
Most clans in Buganda have had a turn as the Queen Mother / Kabaka’s clanship
Ceremonies stooped in the 18th century under the Kabaka Namugala
Replaced with an initial ritual honoring Kintu on the ritual hill Naggalabi & managed by the Lungfish and Pangolin Clans
Milton Obote, the President (read: dictator) in the 1980s abolished the monarchies
Came into use again in 1993 when the monarchy was restored
“…the royal institution was everywhere embedded in a network that controlled the supernatural, managed by clans whose history went back…”
(Chretien, 132)
Religion based on Buganda’s version of the Bacwezi cult bolstered kingship but also could be used as grounds to objecting to bad behavior (aka, it
was a political “currency”)
Later on, after colonization, Buganda’s Christianized elites envisioned the Kabaka as a secular power, and this idea for many years eclipsed the
religious dimension of this institution (153)
The Formation of Monarchial
The Shores of Lake Victoria: The Rise
of Buganda
The Functioning of the Monarchy: the
Political Capitals
Managing the Kingdoms: Territories,
Commands, and Prestations
Colonial Trusteeships and
Reconstructions of Tradition
The Search for the “Sources of the
Nile”: A British Endeavor
The Christian Missions: Dreaming of a
Second Ethiopia
The Colonial Partition: Diplomacy,
Cartography, and Local Politics
Opening to the World and an
Ecological and Demographic Crisis
The Ugandan Model: Indirect Rule
Uganda: “The Pearl of the Empire”?
World War I and the Invention of
Dissent and Buganda Separatism
The Closer Union Proposal
The Rise of Nationalism and
1939 - 1963
Regained Independence and the
Obsession with Genocide
In General
Uganda: A Republic and Its Kingdoms
1953: The Kabaka Crisis
Museveni’s Regime
Post-WWII Trends in East Africa
World War II and East Africa
Popular Discontent in Buganda
The “Kabaka Crisis”
National Politics & Buganda
First Elections
Towards Independence
Lukiko Elections in Buganda
General Elections of 1962
The Colonial Economy
Independent East Africa
1960s to 1990s
Independence & Dependency
Economic Dependency
European and Asian Minorities
Closer Union (Again)
Dominance of Kenya
The East African Community (EAC)
In Summary
Cooperation & Conflict w/ Buganda
Political Turmoil & the Kabaka’s
Uganda’s New Republic
Obote’s Fall and the Amin Dictatorship
Post-Amin Uganda
Uganda’s Foreign Affairs

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