Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Uganda) is a highland country in East Africa. Located in the Great Rift Valley and bordering three of the African Great Lakes (Lakes Victoria, Albert, and Edward), its territory is very fertile, attracting a large population and making it one of the most densely populated states on the continent.
The country has many ethnic groups, mostly descended from sedentary Bantu people who began populating the area during the 1st millennium BCE. These ethnic groups are rooted in feudal kingdoms which existed centuries before the British occupation, the most influential of which was the Buganda, a state bordering Lake Victoria and where the present capital of Kampala is located. There are also Nilotic-speaking pastoralists who predominate the northern half of the country. Beginning with the 19th century, Buganda started dealing with foreign polities extensively and many Baganda, then following traditional African religions, accepted religions brought in by foreigners, including Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam. When the British arrived later in the century, they strongarmed the Protestant community to bring the territory under their rule. In 1894, the Protectorate of Uganda was established, with the Buganda king (known as Kabaka) being allowed to continue ruling as a ceremonial figurehead. In the following decades, the British also brought in thousands of Indian migrants who quickly took over the protectorate's economy.
After independence was achieved in 1962, the non-Buganda factions, united by their opposition to the dominant Baganda, rapidly chipped their power away, with Prime Minister Milton Obote (an ethnic Lango from the north) abolishing the monarchical system in 1967 and turning the country into an authoritarian one-party state under the support of the military. During this period, Obote chose a young officer from the impoverished region of northwestern Uganda, Idi Amin Dada, as a confidante, but became fearful when the latter began to ascend through the ranks, eventually becoming a general. When he attempted to arrest him, Amin saw through this and launched a coup in 1971, toppling the civilian government and bringing an eight year-long reign of terror.
Amin pretty much wrote the book on being an African dictator. His regime killed somewhere between 80,000 to 500,000 people, expelled the entire Indian community who operated the mercantile sector and as a result brought havoc to the economy, engaged in state persecution against political opponents, and caused widespread destruction on the wildlife. Amin switched sides from the Western to Eastern bloc and severed ties with Israel (who had previously helped him depose Obote) in favor of the Arab states, leading to such incidents as the Air France Flight 139 hijacking. In 1978, he accused Tanzania of hosting supporters of Obote (who was a close friend of Tanzania's president Julius Nyerere) and exiles and started terrorizing the Tanzanian border territory of Kagera. Tanzania launched a counterattack which escalated into a war that lasted into the following year, ending with Tanzania winning and Amin forced to go into exile.
After an interim period, Milton Obote returned to power in a rigged election in 1981. Some military officers, many of them Amin loyalists and calling themselves the National Resistance Movement, rebelled under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni, triggering a disastrous war which claimed even more lives than Amin's regime. After 500,000 people were killed and his reputation in tatters, Obote left the country. His government fell in less than a year as Museveni's army seized the capital.
Museveni has been ruling the country since, at 35 years one of the longest currently reigning non-monarch leaders in the world. The country has become more peaceful under his government, though there has been continual skirmishes with rebel groups in the north. The most notorious of this is the Lord's Resistance Army, an Acholi militia known for its widespread use of child soldiers, and for the fact that its leader, a man named Joseph Kony, is completely off his nut. His followers believe a strange mixture of Christianity and animist beliefs, and many people's fear of Kony stems partly from the belief that he has magical powers. Joseph Kony's actions reached the attention of American activists in 2012, who staged a very ambitious campaign of supporting the capturing of Kony by December of that year, by making him famous (it didn't work). Their goals are explained here.
The country is also known for its criminalisation of homosexuality. In 2009, a Ugandan MP tried passing a bill that would either imprison or kill anyone with HIV, anyone who engages in homosexual sex, or anyone who knows anyone who engages in homosexual sex and doesn't report it to the authorities. To be totally fair, the death penalty would "only" apply to homosexuals who raped children or those who were disabled, but it is an outrage nonetheless. International uproar has pulled the death penalty part of the bill, but the ridiculously harsh sentences are still in it. Reasons for this? Ask this guy...
In 2016, Museveni announced that Uganda and its neighbors Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Tanzania are planning to create a federation out of the East African Community customs and trade bloc. If they succeed, it will create an east-African "super state" with over 100 million people and more land area than almost any other country in Africa, one of the most populous Christian-majority states in the world, and probably enough power to shake up East African politics for a long, long time.
Media set in Uganda:
- General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait is a documentary about...guess who
- The Last King of Scotland, a Sidelong Glance Biopic of Idi Amin
- Raid on Entebbe, a 1977 TV movie about the Israeli commando raid that freed their hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda
- Operation Thunderbolt, 1977 Israeli film also about the commando raid at Entebbe Airport
- Queen of Katwe, a Biopic of Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi
- The Wild and the Brave is a 1974 documentary about a Ugandan natural park, and the handover from the last white warden to the first African one.
- Who Killed Captain Alex?, a 2010 action movie by Ramon Film Productions taking place in Kampala, where it was also produced, known for its high pacing and low budget style that Wakaliwood is made famous for.
- Great Lakes Bantu Mythology
- The Book of Mormon is about two Mormon Missionaries who are sent to Uganda.
- The Vertigo reboot of the comic book Unknown Soldier is set in Northern Uganda and deals with conflicts with the LRA.
The Ugandan flag
The Ugandan national anthem
- Unitary dominant-party presidential republic
- President: Yoweri Museveni
- Vice-President: Edward Ssekandi
- Prime Minister: Robinah Nabbanja
- Capital and largest city: Kampala
- Population: 42,729,036
- Area: 241,038 km² (93,065 sq mi) (79th)
- Currency: Ugandan shilling (USh) (UGX)
- ISO-3166-1 Code: UG
- Country calling code: 256
- Highest point: Mount Stanley (5109 m/16,762 ft) (25thnote )
- Lowest point: Albert Nile (621 m/2,037 ft) (75th)