Destination: UGANDA
 


The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, bordered on the east by Kenya, the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala.

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History

The earliest known human inhabitants in contemporary Uganda were hunter gatherers. Between about 2000 and 1500 years ago Bantu speaking populations, who were probably from central and western Africa, migrated to the southern parts of the country.These groups brought and developed ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization. The Empire of Kitara in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries represents the earliest forms of formal organization, followed by the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, and in later centuries, Buganda and Ankole .

Nilotic people including Luo and Ateker entered the area from the north, probably beginning about A.D. 120. They were cattle herders and subsistence farmers who settled mainly the northern and eastern parts of the country. Some Luo invaded the area of Bunyoro and assimilated with the Bantu there, establishing the Babiito dynasty of the current Omukama (ruler) of Bunyoro-Kitara. Luo migration proceeded until the 16th century, with some Luo settling amid Bantu people in Eastern Uganda, with others proceeding to the western shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and Tanzania. The Ateker (Karimojong and Teso) settled in the north-eastern and eastern parts of the country, and some fused with the Luo in the area north of Lake Kyoga.

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Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877, followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879. The United Kingdom placed the area under the charter of the British East Africa Company in 1888, and ruled it as a protectorate from 1894. As several other territories and chiefdoms were integrated, the final protectorate called Uganda took shape in 1914.

Uganda became an independent nation in 1962, with Milton Obote as Executive Prime Minister. The constitution was changed in 1963 to satisfy an alliance between the Uganda People's Congress and the Kabaka_Yekka Party, during the elections in 1962. This created a post of a titular Head of State called the President and a position of a Vice President. The UPC government appointed Edward Muteesa II, Kabaka (King) of Buganda, as the President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. William Wilberforce Nadiope, the Kyabazing of Busoga (paramount chief), was appointed Vice President. In 1966, Obote overthrew the king. A UPC-dominated Parliament changed the constitution, and Obote became president. The elections were suspended, ushering in an era of coups and counter-coups, which would last until the mid-1980s. Obote was deposed twice from office, both times by military coup.

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Idi Amin took power in 1971, ruling the country with the military for the coming decade. Idi Amin's rule cost an estimated 300,000 Ugandans' lives. He forcibly removed the entrepreneurial Indian minority from Uganda, decimating the economy. His reign was ended after the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979 in which Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda. This led to the return of Obote, who was deposed once more in 1985 by General Tito Okello. Okello ruled for six months until he was deposed after the so called "bush war" by the National Resistance Army (NRM) operating under the leadership of the current president, Yoweri Museveni, and various rebel groups, including Federal Democratic Movement of Andrew Kayiira, and another belonging to John Nkwanga.

Museveni has been in power since 1986. In the mid to late 1990s, he was lauded by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders. His presidency has included involvement in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other conflicts in the Great Lakes region, as well as the civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army. In 2007, Uganda deployed soldiers to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

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Geography

The country is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1100 metres (3,250 ft) above sea level, and this slopes very steadily downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the North. However, much of the south is poorly drained, while the centre is dominated by Lake Kyoga, which is also surrounded by extensive marshy areas. Uganda lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from the lake into Lake Kyoga and thence into Lake Albert on the Congolese border . It then runs northwards into Sudan. One small area on the eastern edge of Uganda is drained by the Turkwel river, part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Turkana.

Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate. Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. At Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, most rain falls from March to June and the November/December period. Further to the north a dry season gradually emerges; at Gulu about 120km from the Sudanese border, November to February is much drier than the rest of the year. The north eastern Karamoja region has the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some years. Ruwenzori in the south west on the border with Congo (DRC) receives heavy rain all year round. The south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world's biggest lakes, Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. It prevents temperatures from varying significantly and increases cloudiness and rainfall. Most important cities are located in the south, near Lake Victoria, including the capital Kampala and the nearby city of Entebbe.

Although landlocked, Uganda contains many large lakes, besides Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga, there is Lake Albert, Lake Edward and the smaller Lake George.

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Districts and counties

Uganda is divided into 80 districts, spread across four administrative regions: Northern, Eastern, Central and Western. The districts are subdivided into counties. A number of districts have been added in the past few years, and eight others were added on July 1, 2006. Most districts are named after their main commercial and administrative towns. Each district is divided into sub-districts, counties, sub-counties, parishes and villages.

Parallel with the state administration, five traditional Bantu kingdoms have remained, enjoying some degrees of mainly cultural autonomy. The kingdoms are Toro, Ankole, Busoga, Bunyoro and Buganda.

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