Interesting facts about Uganda

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Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Uganda.

It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania.

Uganda has two official languages: English and Swahili.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Uganda was estimated to be 40,953,469 people.

It is the 79th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 241,038 square kilometers (93,065 square miles).

Kampala is the capital and largest city of Uganda. It occupies a series of hills at an elevation of about 1,190 metres (3,900 feet) and is situated in the southern part of the country, just north of Lake Victoria.

kampala

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.

Mount Stanley is a mountain located in the Rwenzori range. With an elevation of 5,109 m (16,763 ft), it is the highest mountain of both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, and the third highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) and Mount Kenya (5,199 m).

mount-stanley

With eight major rivers and five huge lakes, water covers nearly one-fifth of Uganda. Lake Victoria forms the south-eastern corner of the country. It is Africa’s largest freshwater lake and was long considered to be the source of the Nile’s headwaters.

The network of protected areas in Uganda covers about 16% of the national territory. It is made up of 10 national park, plus other types of protected areas.

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is in south-western Uganda. Composed of 331 square kilometers (128 square miles) of both montane and lowland forest, it is accessible only on foot. BINP is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-designated World Heritage Site. Species diversity is a feature of the park. It provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species. Floristically, the park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species.

bwindi impenetrable national park

Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) is in north-western Uganda. It measures approximately 3,893 square kilometres (1,503 sq mi) and is Uganda’s largest national park. The park spreading inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria Nile, up to the Karuma Falls. The park is the location of the Murchison Falls, where the waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge only 7 meters (23 ft) wide before plunging 43 metres (141 ft). MFNP have 76 species of mammals as well as Uganda’s largest population of crocodiles.

murchison falls

Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is in south-western Uganda. It is Uganda’s most visited national park. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. It occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometers (764 sq mi). Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its wildlife, including Cape buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, leopards, lions, and chimpanzees. It is home to 95 mammal species and over 500 species of birds.

queen elizabeth national park

The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi constitute a site embracing almost 30 hectares 74 acres of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2001.

kasubi tombs

The Uganda National Mosque is a mosque located at Kampala Hill in the Old Kampala area of Kampala. Completed in 2006, it seats up to 15,000 worshipers and can hold another 1,100 in the gallery, while the terrace will cater for another 3,500. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya commissioned the mosque as a gift to Uganda, and for the benefit of the Muslim population. Uganda has many mosques but this one is a skyscraper mosque.

uganda national mosque

Rubaga Cathedral is the parent cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Uganda. It is the home church of Archbishop of Kampala. The Cathedral is located on Lubaga Hill, in Lubaga Division, in the western part of the city of Kampala.

rubaga cathedral

Paleolithic evidence of human activity in Uganda goes back to at least 50,000 years, and perhaps as far
as 100,000 years.

Pygmoid people probably moved into the region around 3,000 years ago. These small hunter-gatherers are the ancestors of the Bambuti or Batwa.

Around 200 BC, Bantu-speaking people brought iron-age tools and a more settled lifestyle. Over the next thousand years, these people formed small chiefdoms, with larger kingdoms emerging from 1100 AD.

By the late 1700s, the Buganda kingdom and its king (the kabaka) had become established as the major regional power.

Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile.

British commercial interests were ardent to protect the trade route of the Nile, which prompted the British government to annex Buganda and adjoining territories to create the Uganda Protectorate in 1894.

Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962 as a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. In October 1963, Uganda became a republic but maintained its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.

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The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts, including a lengthy civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Northern Region, which has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Yoweri Musevni won a presidential election in 1996 and again in 2001. In 2006, full democracy returned with multi-party elections and Mr Musevni remained president by popular vote. In power for 25 years, President Musevni won a fourth term of office in the February 2011 elections, making him the longest-serving leader in East Africa.

Endowed with significant natural resources, including ample fertile land, regular rainfall, and mineral deposits, it is thought that Uganda could feed all of Africa if it were commercially farmed. The economy of Uganda has great potential, and it appeared poised for rapid economic growth and development.

Chronic political instability and erratic economic management since self-rule has produced a record of persistent economic decline that has left Uganda among the world’s poorest and least-developed countries.

Uganda is religiously diverse nation with Christianity and Islam being the most widely professed religions. Over 84 percent of the population was Christian while about 14 percent of the population adhered to Islam.

The country has an increasingly successful national basketball team. It is nicknamed “The Silverbacks”, and made its debut at the 2015 FIBA Africa Championship.

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