Landlocked Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which once encompassed lands in the southern reaches of the country.
Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962, and the first elections were held. However, over the next decade the wide range of ethnic groups and political differences in Uganda proved difficult to govern.
In 1971 Idi Amin seized power, and he ruled the country for the next eight years. His military dictatorial regime was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents. Misery continued as guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton Obote (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives.
The rule of Yoweri Museveni since 1986 has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda. He has established a philosophy of self-sufficiency and anti-corruption causing western countries to assist him in the country’s transformation.
The constitution was amended by parliament In July 2005, to eliminate term limits, thus allowing President Museveni another term in office and in February 2006, he was reelected to another five-year term with 59% of the vote.
Uganda is one of the world’s poorest countries; its economy has suffered form devastating economic politics and instability, and in fact fifty-one percent of the population of the country still live slightly below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.
It does have substantial natural resources of minerals and untapped reserves of crude oil and natural gas, and on a positive note, reforms have been put in place and the economy has grown some.
- Official Name Republic of Uganda
- Population 31,656,865
- Capital City Kampala (pop. 1,189,142)
- Currency Uganda Shilling
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- Languages English (official), local dialects
- National Day 9 October, Independence Day
- Religions Catholic, Protestant, traditional beliefs
- Land Area 199,550 sq km (77,046 sq miles)
- Highest Point Mt. Stanley (16,765 ft.) (5,110 m)
- Lowest Point Lake Albert (2,037 ft.) (621 m
Located on the edge of the Equator, Uganda is positioned in south-central Africa, and bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania.
Uganda averages about 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) above sea level, and while much of its border is lakeshore, Uganda is landlocked with no access to the sea.
The country is mostly plateau with some rolling hills and low mountains. Grassland and tropical forest dominate the central region, with volcanic foothills in the east.
The Ruwenzori Mountains form much of the southwestern border between Uganda and the DRC. The highest peaks there are snowcapped. In eastern Uganda, the border with Kenya is marked by volcanic hills.
Uganda is replete with water and contains many large lakes. In fact, almost one-fifth of its total area is open water or swampland. Four of East Africa’s Great Lakes – Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward lie within Uganda or on its borders.
Lake Victoria is the second largest inland freshwater lake in the world (after Lake Superior), and it feeds the upper waters of the Nile River, which is referred to in this region as the Victoria Nile.
Lake Kyoga and the surrounding basin dominate central Uganda. Additional lakes of note include Lake Kwania, Lake Bugondo, Lake George and Lake Opeta.
The Nile River leaves Lake Victoria near Jinja, as the Victoria Nile. It flows for approximately 500 kilometres (300 mi) further, through Lake Kyoga, until it reaches Lake Albert. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile. It then flows into Sudan, where it is known as the Bahr al Jabal, or Mountain Nile.
Latitude/Longitude 0° 32′ N, 32° 58′ E