History of Uganda

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From UgandaWiki, the Uganda online encyclopedia

The earliest inhabitants of the area known as Uganda today were hunter-gatherers. Around the beginning of the first millennium, Bantu speaking populations, probably from central and western Africa, migrated into the area, bringing with them iron-working skills and new forms of social organisation, which developed into empires. The most powerful of these were Bunyoro-Kitaro in western Uganda, which at the height of its power covered parts of modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, and Buganda in central Uganda. These independent empires and others including Ankole and Tooro (western Uganda) were subdued and colonised by the British towards the end of the 19th century.

In 1894, Uganda was declared a British protectorate. It remained under British rule until 9 October 1962 when it became independent. The kingdoms continued to exist, albeit in a politically weakened form. Kabaka Edward Mutesa, the king of Buganda Kingdom, became Uganda's first president. He did not have executive powers, which were held by Prime Minister Apollo Milton Obote. In 1966, Dr. Milton Obote abolished the national constitution and with it the kingdoms. He declared himself President with executive powers, setting the stage for an era of political instability.

Dr. Obote was overthrown by his army commander, General Idi Amin Dada in January 1971. Amin a bloody dictatorship that lasted until 1979 when he was overthown by a combined force of Ugandan rebels and the Tanzanian Peoples Defence Forces. Obote returned from exile in Tanzania and was elected president in highly disputed multiparty elections in 1980.

Following his defeat in the 1980 December elections, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who have led one of the rebel groups that joined forces with Tanzania to overthrow Idi Amin, initiated a guerrila war against Milton Obote's government in 1981. Museveni had contested the elections, which he said were rigged, as the leader of the Uganda Patriotic Movement.

Weakened by Museveni's guerilla forces, known as the National Resistance Army, President Milton Obote was overthrown for the second time by his top generals led by General Tito Okello Lutwa in 1985. A peace agreement signed in Nairobi, Kenya, between Tito Okello's government and Museveni's National Resistance Army collapsed, resulting in the resumption of hostilities between the two sides. Museveni's rebel forces defeated government troops, capturing state power on 26 January 1986. Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda as President since then.

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