Sectarian Warfare in Buganda 1885-1892

[ 1885 - 1892 ]

Martyrs of Uganda, a group of 22 African Roman Catholics who were executed during the persecution of Christians under Mwanga, kabaka (ruler) of Buganda (now part of Uganda) from 1885 to 1887.

The first Roman Catholic missions to Bantu-speaking Africa were established by the White Fathers Mission in 1879. Christians were tolerated by the kabaka Mutesa I, but his successor, Mwanga, launched a campaign against them. Mwanga massacred the Anglican missionary bishop James Hannington and his colleagues in October 1885. St. Joseph Mukasa, an important member of the royal household, reproached the kabaka for the massacre and for his homosexual debauchery. On November 15 of that year, Mwanga had Joseph beheaded.

The Christian pages under Joseph's guidance became the next victims. For their refusal to satisfy his sexual demands, Mwanga, having learned that they had received religious instruction from the page St. Denis Ssebuggwawo, ordered that all the youths be arrested. St. Charles Lwanga, Mukasa's successor, then secretly baptized those boys who had only been catechumens. The following day they were herded away to the village of Namugongo. Three of them were murdered en route (St. Pontian Ngondwe, a soldier, and the royal servants Athanasius Bazzekuketta and Gonzaga Gonza). All the survivors, as recorded by Father Lourdel, superior of the Roman Catholic mission to Uganda, were imprisoned for a week. With the exception of St. Mbaga-Tuzinde, who was bludgeoned by his own father, the following pages were burned alive on June 3, 1886: Saints Ambrose Kibuka, Anatole Kiriggwajjo, Achilles Kiwanuka, Mugagga, Mukasa Kiriwawanvu, Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo, Gyavira, and Kizito. The soldiers and officials Saints Bruno Serunkuma, James Buzabaliawo, and Luke Banabakintu were martyred with them.

Mwanga continued his persecution, destroying Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries alike. Subsequent victims included Saints Matthias Mulumba, assistant judge to a provincial chief; Andrew Kaggwa, chief of Kigowa; and Noe Mawaggali, a Roman Catholic leader. The page St. Jean Marie Muzeyi was beheaded on Jan. 27, 1887. Collectively, the martyrs were solemnly beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on Oct. 18, 1964. Their feast day is June 3.

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His successor, Mwanga, who became kabaka in 1884, was less successful: he was deposed in 1888 while attempting to drive the missionaries and their supporters from the country...

Mwanga, who was restored to his throne with the assistance of the Christian (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) Ganda, soon faced European imperialism. Carl Peters, the German adventurer, made a treaty of protection with Mwanga in 1889, but this was revoked when the Anglo-German agreement of 1890 declared all the country north of latitude 1º S to be in the British sphere of influence. The Imperial British East Africa Company agreed to administer the region on behalf of the British government, and in 1890 Captain F.D. Lugard, the company's agent, signed another treaty with Mwanga, whose kingdom of Buganda was now placed under the company's protection. Lugard also made treaties of protection with two other chiefs, the rulers of the western states of Ankole and Toro. However, when the company did not have the funds to continue its administrative position, the British government, for strategic reasons and partly through pressure from missionary sympathizers in Britain, declared Buganda its protectorate in 1894.

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When a new young kabaka, Mwanga, attempted to halt the dangerous foreign ideologies that he saw threatening the state, he was deposed by the armed converts in 1888. A four-year civil war ensued in which the Muslims were initially successful and proclaimed an Islamic state. They were soon defeated, however, and were not able to renew their effort.

The victorious Protestant and Catholic converts then divided the Buganda kingdom, which they ruled through a figurehead kabaka dependent on their guns and goodwill. Thus, outside religion had disrupted and transformed the traditional state. Soon afterwards, the arrival of competing European imperialists-- the German Doctor Karl Peters (an erstwhile philosophy professor) and the British Captain Frederick Lugard--broke the Christian alliance; the British Protestant missionaries urged acceptance of the British flag, while the French Catholic mission either supported the Germans (in the absence of French imperialists) or called for Buganda to retain its independence. In January 1892, fighting broke out between the Protestant and Catholic Baganda converts. The Catholics quickly gained the upper hand, until Lugard intervened with a prototype machine gun, the Maxim (named after its American inventor, Hiram Maxim). The Maxim decided the issue in favor of the pro-British Protestants; the French Catholic mission was burned to the ground, and the French bishop fled. The resultant scandal was settled in Europe when the British government paid compensation to the French mission and persuaded the Germans to relinquish their claim to Uganda.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Muslims</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1885</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1889</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Uganda</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1885</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1889</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">5000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">2000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 3000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 3000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Muslims and Uganda 1885 1889 View

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