Mutiny in the Uganda Protectorate 1897-1901

[ 1897 - 1901 ]

A mutiny in 1897 of the Sudanese troops used by the colonial government led Britain to take a more active interest in the Uganda Protectorate, and in 1899 Sir Harry Johnston was commissioned to visit the country and to make recommendations on its future administration. The main outcome of his mission was the Buganda Agreement of 1900, which formed the basis of British relations with Buganda for more than 50 years. Under its terms the kabaka was recognized as ruler of Buganda as long as he remained faithful to the protecting authority. His council of chiefs, the lukiko, was given statutory recognition. The leading chiefs benefited most from the agreement, since, in addition to acquiring greater authority, they were also granted land in freehold to ensure their support for the negotiations. Johnston made another agreement of a less detailed nature with the ruler of Toro (1900), and subsequently a third agreement was made with the ruler of Ankole (1901).

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Allying with the Protestant Baganda chiefs, the British set about conquering the rest of the country, aided by Nubian mercenary troops who had formerly served the khedive of Egypt. Bunyoro had been spared the religious civil wars of Buganda and was firmly united by its king, Kabarega, who had several regiments of troops armed with guns. After five years of bloody conflict, the British occupied Bunyoro and conquered Acholi and the northern region, and the rough outlines of the Uganda Protectorate came into being. Other African polities, such as the Ankole kingdom to the southwest, signed treaties with the British, as did the chiefdoms of Busoga, but the kinship-based peoples of eastern and northeastern Uganda had to be overcome by military force.

A mutiny by Nubian mercenary troops in 1897 was only barely suppressed after two years of fighting, during which Baganda Christian allies of the British once again demonstrated their support for the colonial power. As a reward for this support, and in recognition of Buganda's formidable military presence, the British negotiated a separate treaty with Buganda, granting it a large measure of autonomy and self-government within the larger protectorate under indirect rule. One-half of Bunyoro's conquered territory was awarded to Buganda as well, including the historic heartland of the kingdom containing several Nyoro (Bunyoro) royal tombs. Buganda doubled in size from ten to twenty counties (sazas), but the "lost counties" of Bunyoro remained a continuing grievance that would return to haunt Buganda in the 1960s.

Although momentous change occurred during the colonial era in Uganda, some characteristics of late-nineteenth century African society survived to reemerge at the time of independence. Colonial rule affected local economic systems dramatically, in part because the first concern of the British was financial. Quelling the 1897 mutiny had been costly--units of the Indian army had been transported to Uganda at considerable expense. The new commissioner of Uganda in 1900, Sir Harry H. Johnston, had orders to establish an efficient administration and to levy taxes as quickly as possible. Johnston approached the chiefs in Buganda with offers of jobs in the colonial administration in return for their collaboration. The chiefs, whom Johnston characterized in demeaning terms, were more interested in preserving Buganda as a self-governing entity, continuing the royal line of kabakas, and securing private land tenure for themselves and their supporters. Hard bargaining ensued, but the chiefs ended up with everything they wanted, including one-half of all the land in Buganda. The half left to the British as "Crown Land" was later found to be largely swamp and scrub.

Johnston's Buganda Agreement of 1900 imposed a tax on huts and guns, designated the chiefs as tax collectors, and testified to the continued alliance of British and Baganda interests. The British signed much less generous treaties with the other kingdoms (Toro in 1900, Ankole in 1901, and Bunyoro in 1933) without the provision of large-scale private land tenure. The smaller chiefdoms of Busoga were ignored.

<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">Britain</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1897</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1901</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">41000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">4000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Uganda</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1897</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1901</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">15000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">6000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 29000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed 29000 / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 29000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) and Uganda 1897 1901 View

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts