History

Some of the major events in Uganda’s history.

  • 500 B.C. – 1300 A.D.  Bantu-speaking people migrate to the region.  They establish the state of Buganda.
  • 1862  British explorer John Speke is the first European to visit Buganda.
  • 1894-1900  Britain takes control of the area, calling it Uganda.  Britain recognizes the kabaka, or Buganda tribal king, as ruler, but maintains its authority.
  • 1962  Uganda gains independence.  The Buganda king, Mutesa II, becomes president, with Milton Obote as prime minister.
  • 1967  Obote imposes a new constitution, which makes him president and abolishes all of Uganda’s tribal kingdoms.
  • 1971  Military leader Idi Amin overthrows Obote.  During Amin’s cruel 8 year rule, an estimated 300,000 people are killed.
  • 1978  Amin attacks Tanzania.  Ugandan exiles and Tanzanian troops invade Uganda.  Amin is forced out of the country in 1979.
  • 1986  Yoweri Museveni takes power.  He brings stability and improved human rights protection.
  • 1993  A constitutional amendment restores the kingdom of Buganda and other kingdoms.
  • 2000  Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya join to form the East African Community and pledge cooperation.
  • 2008  After years of fighting, a cease-fire agreement is signed with the Lords Resistance Army rebel group.

In the 1830s, Arab traders moved inwards from the eastern coast of Africa and they were followed in the 1860s by British explorers who were trying to locate the source of the Nile. The British East Africa Company was given charge of the area in 1888 by the British government and ultimately, the area was ruled as a British protectorate from 1894. By 1914, several territories and chiefdom were united into a single protectorate called Uganda.

In 1971, Idi Amin (1925-2003) took over the reins of the nation and established military rule that lasted for a decade. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi provided military support to Idi Amin, whose military dictatorship cost the lives of about 30000 Ugandans. The 1979 war between Uganda and Tanzania finally ended Idi Amin’s reign. Tanzanian forces were helped by Ugandan exiles during the invasion. After the war, Prime Minister Apolo Milton Obote returned to power as the President of Uganda but he lost his powers once again in 1985, and this time to General Tito Okello.

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been the Ugandan president since 1986. His time in office has seen the involvement of Uganda in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) civil war, various conflicts in the Great Lakes region and the civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has committed numerous crimes such as mass murder and child slavery. Thousands lost their lives and millions were rendered homeless.