Geography: Uganda is an East African nation about the size of Oregon. It is landlocked, surrounded by South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. It is also home to Lake Victoria (the source of the Nile and Africa’s largest lake) and the stunning Rwenzori Mountains, the “Mountains of the Moon.”
People: Uganda has an estimated population of about 33.6 million. The country has the 2nd largest population growth rate in the world: about half of Ugandans are under age 15 and 80% are under age 30. The average birthrate is 6.14 births/woman and the life expectancy at birth is about 53.5 years.
Religion: Nearly 85% of the population is Christian, evenly divided between Catholics and Protestants. The Muslim population has been estimated to be about 12%.
Language: English is the official national language, taught in grade schools starting in Year 4, and used in courts of law and often by the media. Uganda has 64 different regional tribal languages (also taught in schools and much more widely used in villages), Luganda being the most common.
Climate: Uganda rests on the equator but doesn’t really have a harsh tropical climate due to altitude. The two rainy seasons (April-May and September-November) are cooler, and two dry seasons (January-March and June-August) are hotter.
Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the workforce. Major exports include coffee, tea, sugar, and most importantly bananas and plantains. Little Uganda is the largest banana exporter in the world!
History: Uganda gained its independence nonviolently from Great Britain in 1962. Milton Obote was elected as the nation’s first Prime Minister and remained in office until being overthrown in 1971. The resulting military dictatorship of Idi Amin was responsible for the ruthless deaths of about 300,000 opponents, and lasted until 1979. Obote returned to power in 1980, engaged in a civil war against Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA), and was ousted in 1985. The next year, Museveni was elected President. He has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda and remains in office today.
Text & image adapted from CIA.gov and BBC.co.uk.