Today is Uganda's National Day and is always celebrated on 9th October. Independence Day marks Uganda's independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.

History of Ugandan Independence Day

The first European to visit Uganda was the British explorer John Hanning Speke in 1862. By 1877, British missionaries started arriving with the blessing of the Bugandan King, Mutesa I.

The British government chartered the Imperial British East Africa Company to negotiate trade agreements in the region from 1888. In 1890, Britain and Germany signed a treaty giving Britain 'rights' to the region.

The conversion to Christianity of some Ugandans had led to sectarian conflicts. As the trade route to the Nile was seen as important, to quell the violence, the British Government annexed Buganda and some surrounding territories to create the Uganda Protectorate in 1894.

By the middle of the 20th century, Britain had been weakened by its involvement in World war II and with the call for independence sweeping across Africa, many British Empire territories in the region had started to be granted independence.

On 9 October 1962, Uganda gained its independence from Britain as a parliamentary democratic monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II remaining as head of state. The kingdoms of Ankole, Buganda, Bunyoro, and Toro received federal status and a degree of autonomy. Milton Obote the leader of the socialist Uganda People's Congress (UPC) became the first prime minister.

In October 1963, Uganda became a republic but remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Buganda's King Mutesa II became the first president.

To mark the day there is usually a national parade at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. Local communities have their own festivities with traditional dance and food like matoke—steamed, mashed bananas with a peanut sauce, beans, fish, or beef.

Did you know?

Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which forms a large part of the south of the country including the capital Kampala.

The bird on the Ugandan flag is the grey crowned crane and is the national symbol of Uganda. The crane was the military badge of Ugandan soldiers during British rule. The raised leg of the crane represents the forward movement of the country


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