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A History of Uganda. Course Overview. Notes Uganda: The Basic Facts Before European Contact The Colonization Period World War I The Interwar Years and World War II Post World War II and Independence Obote , Amin, and Museveni. Notes. Used 2 texts Not a historian Hard to combine

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course overview
Course Overview
  • Notes
  • Uganda: The Basic Facts
  • Before European Contact
  • The Colonization Period
  • World War I
  • The Interwar Years and World War II
  • Post World War II and Independence
  • Obote, Amin, and Museveni
  • Used 2 texts
  • Not a historian
  • Hard to combine
  • Not my research
  • Focus on Buganda
  • Somewhat skimpy information on recent times – and little from the 2000s on
uganda the basic facts
Uganda: The Basic Facts
  • Kingdom map
  • General location
  • Overview of geography and climate
  • The Ugandan border, as in many post-colonial nations, is the invention of European colonizers.
  • Unusually, however, is that the border corresponds to ancient kingdoms and political regions; it just smushed them all together.
the emergence of kingship

The Emergence of Kingship

In the Inter-lacustrine Region

  • Combine kinship, exogamy, shared symbols, & rules of solidarity
  • Members dispersed throughout the country
  • Clans do not consist of a true genealogical imprint
  • Social identities that allow one to be situated in relation to others, to find friends everywhere & benefit from their hospitality & support
  • Differs in form in different countries
  • Largely similar across the inter-lacustrine region; the exception is Buganda
  • Buganda:
    • Between 40 and 50 clans – ebika
    • Subclans – masiga
    • Major lineages – mituba
    • Minor lineages - enyiriri
  • Fulfill and integrating function
  • For a long time, the fundamental basis for identity
  • Prominence of the Lungfish Clan (Mmamba clan) – holds many ritualistic & political positions – canoe fleet admiral was from the Mmamba Clan; current Kabaka is from the Mmamba Clan; also Nyika Victor
  • Clans tied to the monarchy / central power
  • Bataka- clan heads – had a protective function, especially in regards to property; as clans dispersed, this became less real
  • Clan sanctuaries
clan names and totems
Clan Names and Totems
  • Some names:
    • Nkima – Red-tailed Monkey
    • Mmammba – Lungfish
    • Nte – Cow
    • Ffumbe – Civet Cat (Walusimbi)
    • Nseenene – Grasshopper
  • Clan totems – primary & secondary
  • Clan prohibitions
  • Clan traditional roles
  • Clan mottoes
  • Last name reflects one’s clan: Namutebi belongs only to women of the Mmammba Clan
  • (First name often denotes whether one is Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim; Old Testament and Italian names tend to be Catholic; New Testament & British names tend to be Anglican; etc.)
the cwezi myth
The Cwezi Myth
  • Cwezi myth – similar origin stories amongst peoples of the inter-lacustrine region
  • Archaeological evidence  the emergence of political poles or centers between the 11th and the 16th centuries  at one point, some sort of somewhat cohesive political identity
  • 18th century – Bunyoro declines & Buganda expands
the bugandan origin story
The Bugandan Origin Story
  • Buganda origin myth – Kintu
    • Placed at the head of around 20 sovereigns
    • That would place him around the beginning of the 13th century
  • See Chretien
relationship between the clans and the kabaka
Relationship Between the Clans and the Kabaka
  • “…the external origin of these two founders – the sky for Kintu and Kitara for Kimera – instead affirms the superiority of kingship, at the kabaka level, over the power of the clans.”
  • “…kingship emerged through a compromise between a new authority of a strongly religious nature, and a network of influential clans.”
  • Different characters in the origin myth represent different clans
  • Every new kabaka was proclaimed “father of the clan chiefs [sebataka]”
  • Certain clans had roles in the enthronement ceremony (Lungfish (Mmamba), Pangolin, Mushroom, Cercopith Monkey [Nkima = Tim] & Colobus Monkey); other traditional roles related to the monarchy
  • When a kabaka is enthroned, he is “slowly infused” with the force of his father under the supervision of the clan ritualists
  • Less reliance on clans as time goes by
  • Each kabaka belongs to his mother’s clan (opposite for the rest of society), so as to share power, at least symbolically, amongst the different clans (remember, exogamy = you can’t marry someone from your own clan)
  • Most clans in Buganda have had a turn as the Queen Mother / Kabaka’s clanship
  • Ceremonies stooped in the 18th century under the KabakaNamugala
  • Replaced with an initial ritual honoring Kintu on the ritual hill Naggalabi & managed by the Lungfish and Pangolin Clans
  • Milton Obote, the President (read: dictator) in the 1980s abolished the monarchies
  • Came into use again in 1993 when the monarchy was restored
  • “…the royal institution was everywhere embedded in a network that controlled the supernatural, managed by clans whose history went back…” (Chretien, 132)
  • Religion based on Buganda’s version of the Bacwezi cult bolstered kingship but also could be used as grounds to objecting to bad behavior (aka, it was a political “currency”)
  • Later on, after colonization, Buganda’s Christianized elites envisioned the Kabaka as a secular power, and this idea for many years eclipsed the religious dimension of this institution (153)