1902 Encyclopedia > Uganda


UGANDA, a country of eastern Central Africa, to the north-west of the Victoria Nyanza. It has an area of about 34,000 square miles, extending from 1° N. lat. to the Kitangule river, and from 31° E. long. to the Nile. The country bordering the lake and to the north-west is mountainous, the mountains being arranged in low parallel chains. The hills, covered with splendid timber and abundant underwood, rise to a height of 400 feet above their valleys, through which sluggish streams flow to the lake. Farther north the country becomes a plain, and the eastern portion of Uganda, between Rubaga and the Nile, consists of undulating country, varied by deep narrow valleys. The geological formation of the country is volcanic or metamorphic ; two or three feet of rich black alluvial soil form the upper strata, covering a bed of red sandy clay, often 30 feet thick. In some places porcelain earth is found, as well as large masses of mica. Ironstone is present in considerable quantities, but as yet no other metals have been discovered. The climate is mild, and the temperature remarkably uniform throughout the year ; the thermometric range is from 50° to 90° F.; but the mean annual variation is only 20°. The annual rainfall is 50 inches, the greatest amount of rain occurring in March, April, May, and September, October, and November, when rain falls nearly every day, thunderstorms being frequent.

The population of Uganda is about five millions. The men are tall and well-built, and have good features and dark chocolate-coloured skin, with woolly hair. The women in their youth are good-looking. The country is divided in to three provinces - Uddu in the south, Singo in the west, and Changwe in the east, to which must be added about 400 islands in the lake. The government of the country is feudal, the king being nominally supreme. Succession to the throne is hereditary, but the successor is usually a minor chosen by three hereditary chiefs, who with the young king's mother morality, even judged by that of the surrounding tribes, is not carry on the government until he is of age. The reigning family high. Human life is little respected; they are untruthful and in decent. Unless moved by passion, they are not cruel ; passionate, they are not revengeful. Children are well treated, as are the aged men. On account of the extensive prevalence of polygamy, women occupy a somewhat low social grade.

Uganda was first visited by Speke and Grant in 1860, and the country has since been visited by numerous Europeans, chiefly missionaries. The Church Missionary Society and the Roman Catholics have mission stations in the country. In 1886 some forty of their converts were burnt at the stake, and in the same year Bishop Hannington was murdered on the borders of the country by the orders of King Mwanga.

See Speke's Journal, Grant's Walk across Africa, Stanley's Through the Dark Continent, and Wilson and Felktn's Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan. Also a monograph " On the Waganda Tribe," by R. W. Felkin, in Proc. Roy. Soc. Ed., vol. xili., and an Outline Grammar of the Luganda Language, by C. T. Wilson.

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