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From UgandaWiki, the Uganda online encyclopedia.

Size (sq. km) 236,040
Population 28.9 million
GNI USD 280 (2005 Est.)
Capital Kampala
Time zone EAT (UTC/GMT+3)
Official languages English, Kiswahili
Independence Day 9 October 1962
Motto For God and my country
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Currency Uganda Shilling (Shs)
Calling code 256
Internet TLD .ug
Technology standards Electricity: 240 V 50Hz Plug/Socket type G; Mobile telephony: GSM 900/1800 MHz

Uganda is an independent country situated in East Africa. It is bordered by Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania to the south, Rwanda to the south-west and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. A former British colony, it achieved political independence in 1962.

Uganda is also known as "the Pearl of Africa", a description first used in 1907 by Winston Churchill, who was later to become British prime minister. "For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life -- bird, insect, reptile, beast -- for vast scale -- Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa." [1]

Uganda is the source of River Nile, the second longest river in the world that flows northwards to the Mediterranean Sea. The country shares Lake Victoria, the largest tropical lake and the second largest fresh water lake in the world, with Kenya and Tanzania. It is a landlocked country.

[edit] Geography

Situated along the equator, Uganda has a tropical climate. However, the would be high-temperatures are tempered by high altitudes and, in some places, the presence of large water bodies. The country is mostly plateau with undulating hills and a number of mountains. The highest mountain is the snow-capped Mt. Rwenzori. Standing at 5,110m above sea level, Mt Rwenzori is Africa's third highest mountain. The lowest point is Lake Albert at 621m above sea level. Most of the country ranges between 1,000m and 1400m above sea level.

Mean annual temperatures range from about 16° C in the southwestern highlands to 25° C in the northwest. In the northeast, temperatures exceed 30° C for about 254 days per year. Daytime temperatures average about eight to ten degrees warmer than nighttime temperatures in the Lake Victoria region, and temperatures are generally about fourteen degrees lower in the southwest.

Uganda has two rainy (March to May and September to November) and two dry seasons (June to August and December to February). Annual rainfall ranges from more than 2,100mm around Lake Victoria to about 500mm in the northeast.

The vegetation is diverse, ranging from tropical rain forests in the southwest to savanna and woodland in the central and nothern regions.

Geographic coordinates: 1°00′N, 32°00′E


  • Total: 236,040 km²
  • Land: 199,710 km²
  • Water: 36,330 km²

Boundaries: See the Constitution for a detailed delineation of Uganda's boundaries.

[edit] History

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-Kitara 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.

The name "Uganda" derives from the inability of the British to pronounce the word "Buganda". When the British arrived in Buganda in the late 19th century, they found the people of Buganda Kingdom, the Baganda, "a cultured people with a government and parliament (Lukiiko)". Through persuation, deception and coersion, the British took political control of Buganda, which was declared a British protectorate on 18 June 1894. On 30 June 1896, the protectorate was extended to include Bunyoro-Kitara, Tooro and Ankole and on 3 Jul 1896, Busoga. Other areas were added to form present-day Uganda.

Uganda 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 instituted 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.

[edit] Notes

  1. Churchhill, Winston: My African Journey, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1908
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