Uganda Timeline

Chronicle of major dates in Ugandan history, 1308 – 2008

The Uganda Almanac

c. 1308 — A chieftain and warlord known as Bbemba Musota ruled the area that would later be known as Buganda.

c. 1314 — The Buganda kingdom was founded by Kabaka Kintu Kato after Kintu wrested control of the area from Bemba Musota.

c. 1400 — The Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom was founded by Rukidi Mpuga.

c. 1447 — The kingdom of Nkore (Ankole) was founded.

c. 1550 — The state of Bulamogi was founded by Wako I.

c. 1656 — The state of Bukono was founded by Kitimbo Nkono I.

c. 1683 — The state of Busiki was founded.

c.1720 — The state of Buzaaya was founded by Muzaaya Ngobi Mau.

c.1726 — The state of Bugweri Bufutulu was founded by Kakaire I.

C. 1730 — The state of Bugabula was founded by Kitimbo.

c. 1737 — The state of Bunha (Bunya) was founded by Kisoma I. The state of Luuka was founded. The state of Kigulu was founded by Ibanda I Ngobi.

c. 1752 — Mpororo state was divided into six states.

1806 — The state of Buzimba was founded after a split with Kigulu.

1822 — The kingdom of Toro was founded by a rebel Bunyoro prince Olimi I Kaboyo I .

1844 — Sheikh Ahmed bin Ibrahim, a Wahabi Arab trader, entered Buganda, the first Arab to set foot in the territory that would later become Uganda.

Aug. 3, 1858 — The British explorers Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke arrived at the shores of Lake Nyanza and Lake Tanganyika. Nyanza, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, was later re-named Lake Victoria in honour of the British monarch.

Feb. 20, 1862 — Speke and another British explorer James Grant met Kabaka (king) Mukaabya Mutesa I Kayiira of Buganda at his palace.

July 7, 1862 — Speke, accompanied by two gun bearers Sidi Bombay and Mwinyi Mabruki and a Muganda bodyguard, set off east in a caravan from Mutesa’s palace in search of the source of the River Nile.

July 28, 1862 — Speke and his party arrived at the source of the Nile near Jinja. They became the first non-Africans to see the source of the Nile.

Nov. 19, 1862 — Having traveled northward, Speke and his party arrived at the Karuma falls, the rapids at the River Nile in Acholi.

1868 — Kabaka Mutesa I of Buganda converted to Islam.

April 25, 1872 — The British explorer Samuel Baker entered the capital of the Bunyoro kingdom at Masindi; he met the Omukama (king), Kabalega, successor to King Kamurasi who had died two years earlier. Baker later described Kabalega as “a gaunche, awkward, undignified lout of twenty years of age, who thought himself a great monarch.” Kabalega resented Baker’s intrusion into his kingdom, was suspicious of him, and prepared to get rid of him. As Baker set about building a fort in late May 1887, Kabalega’s threats against Baker increased.

June 8, 1872 — The battle of Masindi began. A strategist by nature, Kabalega had beforehand sent a gift of poisoned cider to Baker’s 1,200 men which left them feeling ill as the fighting got underway. The battle lasted an hour and a quarter. Baker’s men, triumphed, opening up with gunfire and setting the Bunyoro huts ablaze. Nine Banyoro chiefs and dozens of ordinary people died. Baker lost four men.

June 13, 1872 — Constant attacks by the Banyoro forced Baker to retreat to Foweira, a trader’s station 72km. to the north-east. There, he began to regroup.

June 14, 1872 — Baker returned to Masindi and went into battle with Kabalega. His men fell into several ambushes laid by Kabalega’s men.

June 24, 1872 — Baker retreated to Foweira with his wounded men after the battle with Kabalega. He soon struck up an alliance with king Ruyonga, a traditional enemy of the kings of Bunyoro. Baker then resumed construction on his fort, to be named Fort Patiko.

April 5, 1875 — The American journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley met Kabaka Mutesa at his palace at Rubaga. Stanley later described Mutesa as “a tall, clean-faced, large-eyed, nervous-looking thin man” clad in a tarbush, a black robe, ans a white shirt belted with gold. The two men held a conversation in Kiswahili.

Nov. 15, 1875 — London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper published a letter by Stanley in which he described his exploration of the interior of Africa and the Buganda kingdom. The letter caused a sensation in Europe and America.

May 29, 1876 — A Scottish missionary, Alexander M. McKay, arrived in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar on his way to Uganda. He had been sent by the Church Missionary Society in London. He set off for Uganda in June.

June 30, 1877 — Two protestant missionaries from the Church of England, Lt. Shergold Smith and C.T. Wilson, arrived at Rubaga after an appeal for Christian missionaries by Kabaka Mutesa I to Stanley. Mutesa welcomed them and converted to Christianity.

April 22, 1878 — The first Roman Catholic missionaries to settle in Uganda, Father Simeon Lourdel and Brother Amans Delmas, set off from the French city of Marseilles to Zanzibar in East Africa.

May 30, 1878 — Fr. Lourdel and Br. Amans arrived in Zanzibar.

June 17, 1878 — Fr. Lourdel and Br. Amans set off in a caravan into mainland Tanganyika and headed for the southern shores of Lake Victoria.

Feb. 17, 1879 — Fr. Lourdel and Br. Amans landed at the fishing village of Kigungu in Entebbe. They later traveled to Kisubi where they spent the night.

Feb. 23, 1879 — Responding to the missionaries’ request to set up their work in Buganda, Kabaka Mutesa agreed for them to establish a ministry.

June 26, 1879 — Fr. Lourdel and Br. Amans arrived in Kampala and were ushered into the Kabaka’s palace at Rubaga for a meeting.

July 2, 1879 — Having been given a place to reside at Nabulagala-Lubya, the French missionaries dedicated Uganda to the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

July 3, 1879 — Mutesa, in a meeting with the French missionaries, Léon Livinhac and Lourdel, proposed that they contact their government so that Buganda becomes a French protectorate. The missionaries declined, saying they had come on a religious, not a political mission.

Dec. 1879 — Influenced by a sorceress, Mutesa and his chiefs abandoned Christianity and Islam and returned to an animist religion.

March 27, 1880 — The first Catholic converts were baptized.

April 30, 1880 — Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe and Andrew Kaggwa, two of the Christians later to be known as the Uganda Martyrs, were were baptized by Fr. Lourdel.

Mar. 1881 — Mutesa’s envoy, sent to contact Stanley, returned to the Kabaka’s court.

May 28, 1882 — Mathias Mulumba and Luka Baanabakintu were baptized by Fr. Girault Ludovic.

Oct. 10, 1884 — Death of Kabaka Mutesa I.

Oct. 24, 1884 — Mutesa’s son Mwanga II became the Kabaka of Buganda.

Jan. 31, 1885 — Yusufu Rugarama, Makko Kakumba, and Nuwa Serwanga, three Christian converts, were killed at Busega, Natete, becoming the first of what would later be known as the Uganda Martyrs.

July 12, 1885 — The Christian missionaries, expelled by Mutesa under the influence of the Arabs, returned to Buganda after Mwanga acceded to the throne.

Oct. 21, 1885 — James Hannington, the Anglican Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, arrived at Jinja from Zanzibar on his way to Buganda to start his missionary work. However, he was arrested and detained by Basoga chiefs on orders of Buganda’s Kabaka Mwanga.

Oct. 29, 1885 — Bishop Hannington was killed on orders of Mwanga. As he lay dying, his last words were: “Go tell Mwanga that I die for the Baganda and that I have purchased the road to Uganda with my life.” A great persecution of Christians followed Hannington’s death.

Nov. 15, 1885 — Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe, a Roman Catholic covert and adviser to the Kabaka, was killed on orders of Mwanga.

May 26, 1886 — A group of 30 newly baptized Christian converts, refusing to renounce their faith, were burnt to death at Namugongo on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga.

June 3, 1886 — Twenty-six Christian converts were burnt to death at Namugongo.

Jan. 27, 1887 — Jean-Marie Muzeeyi, the last of the Uganda Martyrs, was beheaded at Mengo.

Sept. 10, 1888 — Mwanga was overthrown by a bodyguard and succeeded by his brother Mutebi II Kiwewa as Kabaka of Buganda. The overthrow of Mwanga was followed by bloodshed, with the Arab-Muslim faction gaining victory.

Oct. 21, 1888 — Kalema Muguluma became the Kabaka of Buganda, installed as Kabaka after the Arabs staged the overthrow of is brother, Kabaka Kiwewa.

Nov. 28, 1888 — Forces loyal to the Mahdi of Sudan and forces loyal to the Khedive Ismail of Egypt clashed in the Battle of Dufile in Madi in the north of present-day Uganda. Meanwhile, throughout November Europeans fled Buganda and their settlements were destroyed as civil war raged in Buganda.

Jan. 11, 1889 — Mwanga overthrew his elder brother, Kabaka Kimera. During the upheaval, the English and French Christian missions in Buganda were destroyed; eight missionaries and a dozen coverts were killed.

March 12, 1889 — Islam in Uganda was checked with the introduction of laws that permitted murder but forbade mutilation of the flesh, thus outlawing circumcision.

Oct. 5, 1889 — Mwanga II returned from the Ssese islands where he had fled in Sept. 1888. Roman Catholicism started to gain in influence in Buganda.

Oct. 11, 1889 — Mwanga regained the throne as Kabaka of Buganda.

Nov. 14, 1896 — Kooki kingdom was incorporated into the larger Buganda kingdom.

Aug. 14, 1897 — Daudi Cwa II became the Kabaka of Buganda.