From Hobson's Choice
This article is under construction
Information about the pre-colonial history of Uganda is sketchy; however, it is understood to have been settled by peoples who spoke a Niger-Congolese language around the 1st century CE. About a sixth of Ugandans are members of the Baganda group of the southeast, and this group had progressed greatly toward the creation of a nation-state at the time of contact with the British. This was the Buganda Kingdom. The Buganda Kingdom never fought the British, but rather, entered into a voluntary protectorate status which gave them control over about a third the actual land area of the future republic (1894).
Buganda began contacts with Arab traders from the coast in the 1840's, and gradually became involved in regional trade, as did its local rivals (some of whom, like the Banyoro, established kingdoms as well). A major force was Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant missionaries in the region, who converged on Uganda from the north and east; the kabaka (king) embraced Christianity, presumably for strategic reasons, and later made alliances with the British against rivals within and without his kingdom. In fact, in 1897, when Nubian mercenaries employed by the British mutinied, Buganda's military helped suppress the mutiny. Additional monarchies did not fare as well; Busoga was evacuated because of a massive outbreak of sleeping sickness, while Bunyoro was repeatedly attacked by the British and Baganda until it literally ceased to exist as an autonomous state (it was restored somewhat in 1934).
Buganda was the scene of an imported war of religion between Protestants (who favored annexation by Britain) and Catholics (who, though French, favored anyone provided they weren't British--hence, Germany). In the mid-1880's, a German adventurer named Karl Peters attempted to foment a Roman Catholic revolution in Buganda, thereby arousing public opinion in Germany to support annexation. Instead, Frederick Dealtry Lugard intervened with a tiny force, machine-gunned the Catholic mission, and "restored" the British sympathies of the kabaka.
A major consideration of the British operation in the region of Uganda and Kenya was related to the broader strategic goal of securing the Egyptian Sudan. While the motives and ramifications of British "condominium" on the Upper Nile are discussed in the article for the Sudan, it bears noting that colonial Uganda was partly a "Conferation of the Nile," i.e., four monarchies nailed together by an outside power with varying degrees of benefit.
- ↑ See Library of Congress Country Study, "Ethnic Diversity and Language"
- ↑ Ibid, "Eastern Lacustrine Bantu"
- ↑ Notice the pattern of declension in Niger-Congolese languages; Baganda refers to the people, Maganda to an individual, Buganda to the polity, and Luganda or Ganda to the language. For the name of the language and derivation, see "Ganda page," , M. Paul Lewis (editor), Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 16th ed. SIL International (2009).
- ↑ Ibid, "Long-Distance Trade and Foreign Contact"
- ↑ At the time, Prince Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of the German Empire, was keen to avoid colonial possessions far from Germany; he actually had an amiable conversation with the British foreign secretary and agreed to exchange German claims on Lake Victoria for possession of Heligoland, a tiny island in the North Sea.
From 1882 to 1898, the most important issue in European diplomacy was the enormous British operation in Egypt; in effect, the British governed Egypt while they governed the Egyptian Sudan on behalf of Egypt. While the exact status of British rule in Egypt was one problem, the subjugation of Sudan was another, and the British authorities were fiercely divided about where the boundaries of "British interests" in the region lay. Lugard had had to intervene in Buganda with an army borrowed from the Khedive of Egypt.
For a detailed map of territorial claims in Africa at this time, please see "Africa" ([Americanized] Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 1, Chicago 1892)
- ↑ This is a play on "Confederation of the Rhine" an entity created by Napoleon.
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