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The Republic of Uganda is an East African country bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Tanzania. Although Uganda is landlocked, it is not without bodies of water.

Uganda shares Lake Victoria with Tanzania and Kenya, and Lake Albert and Lake Edward with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Entirely within Uganda are Lakes Busina, Bugondo, Buhera, Bujuku, Bunyonyi, George, Kabaka, Kachera, Katwe, Kayumbu, Kitandra, Kwania, Kyahafi, Kyoga, Mburo, Mutanda, Mulehe, Nabugabo, Nakuwa, Nkugute, Nyabihoko, Nyamusingine, Opeta, Saka, and Wamala.

Additionally, Uganda has several rivers. The Victoria Nile drains from Lake Victoria into Lake Kyoga and flows from there into Lake Albert at Uganda's border with the DRC. A portion of East Uganda is drained by the Suam River, which is part of Lake Turkana's drainage basin.

Uganda is situated on the East African Plateau, and slopes steadily downward to the Sudanese Plain in the north. Lake Kyoga, in the center of the country, is surrounded by a large marshy area. Much of the population of Uganda is concentrated around Lake Victoria, one of the largest lakes in the world.

There are several ethnic groups in Uganda. The south and southwest are inhabited primarily by Bantu-speaking tribes. In the north and northeast are the Nilotic-speaking groups. Central-Sudanic speakers are concentrated in the northwest, while there are pockets of Kuliak-speaking tribes in the northeast, along the Kenyan border.

English was the only official language of Uganda until 2005 when Swahili was added. Although Swahili is not much used by the majority Bantu-speaking populations in the south, it is a common language in the north, and widely used among the country's police and military personnel, the majority of whom are from the north.

Approximately 85% of Ugandans are Christian, Roman Catholics being the most common, followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda. Muslims make up about 12% of the population, and they are concentrated in the Iganga District of eastern Uganda.

The first people to inhabit Uganda were hunter-gatherers who were largely absorbed by Bantu-speaking people who came to the area more than two thousand years ago. Arab traders came in the 1830s and were followed by the British in the 1860s. Anglican missionaries came to the Kingdom of Buganda, which is now part of Uganda, in 1877. A group of French Catholic missionaries arrived a couple of years later. Meanwhile, Arab traders had introduced Islam to the kingdom. Each of these groups had converted several people, including members of the royal court.

A new king, who ascended to the throne in 1884, became concerned about the converts and the changes they were making to the traditional way of life. Over a period of two years, beginning in 1885, the king ordered the killing of twenty-three Anglicans and twenty-two Catholics, as well as a number of Muslim converts, who included chiefs as well as court pages. The king planned to get rid of the surviving Christians by leaving them to starve on an island in Lake Victoria, an area that was known for its crocodiles. When word of this got out, a joint rebellion by Christians and Muslims deposed the king and put his brother on the throne.

In 1888, the Muslims took power, expelling the Christian leaders and killing the king, replacing him with yet another brother. This was followed by a series of religious wars in Buganda, and eventually to Britain stepping in. Uganda became a British Protectorate in 1894.

In 1962, Uganda became independent as a British Commonwealth realm. A year later, it became a republic, retaining its membership in the Commonwealth. The new government faced a crisis with the Kingdom of Buganda, which was inside its borders, over which there was a great deal of dissension. In dealing with this problem, the prime minister gave his army chief of staff, Idi Amin, a great deal of power. In 1966, Buganda was absorbed into Uganda after a battle in which 2,000 people died.

In 1971, Idi Amin took control of the country in a military coup, and ruled as a dictator for eight years, a time in which he was accused of mass killings throughout the country. As many as 500,000 Ugandans may have lost their lives during his regime. His rule came to an end with the Uganda-Tanzania War of 1979, in which Tanzanian forces were aided by Ugandan exiles.

Since the end of Amin's rule, Uganda has restored rights that had been denied to political parties. However, Uganda invaded and occupied the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Second Congo War, and has participated in other regional conflicts. The country has struggled for years in a civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army, which has used child slavery, massacres, and mass murders. International groups have rated the Ugandan government as one of the most corrupt.


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