Independence Day in Uganda is celebrated on the 9th of October each year. It is a day to celebrate Uganda’s freedom from British rule which occurred in 1962.
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Explorer Henry Stanley discovered Uganda in 1875 which was divided into two kingdoms at the time. The first Anglican missionaries began arriving in the country in 1877 and, in addition to the missionaries, trade also came to the small country in central Africa.
In 1888, Britain gave control of Uganda to the British East Africa Company. However, other European powers fought to gain control of Uganda until 1890 when an agreement between Germany and Britain put Uganda under British rule.
Religion was a significant issue, not only in Uganda but in Britain as well. In an effort to gain control over the religious factions in Uganda, Britain made the country a British protectorate, placing tribal leaders in governmental roles as puppets.
In 1900, the Uganda Agreement placed the largely Protestant Bakungu chiefs in charge, angering other tribes throughout Uganda. The British chose the Bakungu as leaders due to their strong belief in Christianity and their ability to collect taxes. Cotton became a major export from Uganda in 1904 and, by the 1920s, coffee and tea were also major exports.
Uganda was never fully colonised even though it was controlled by the British Colonial Office. After World War II, rural farm protests and urban strikes pushed for more African participation in the government. Britain democratised some of the local governments and the first African’s were permitted in the legislative council in 1945. By 1955, half the legislative council were Africans. A general election was held in 1961 and the country became self-governing in 1962.
Celebrations and Traditions
Like other countries, Independence Day is a day of national pride in Uganda. There is a national celebration at the Kololo ceremonial grounds with the President presiding over the ceremony. Heads of state for other countries also attend the ceremony.
Celebrations are held throughout Uganda and activities are designed to promote the nation. There are parades and performances by well-known artists. There are also demonstrations of native dance and cultural celebrations. Festivals include traditional foods and drinks with many in attendance wearing traditional clothing. The Ugandan flag is prominent at all celebrations as a demonstration of pride in the country.