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The Lost Kings of an East African Kingdom

King Kato Kintu of the East African Kingdom

The earliest history of this kingdom came from Bunyoro, Bantu the East African Kingdom. Bunyoro was one of the most powerful kingdoms in Central and East Africa ruled by King Omukama. In the 14th century, one ruler arrived from the Northeast and defeated every ruler to establish his new state. His name was "Kato Kintu" and his new kingdom was "Buganda". Buganda started as a small group of people who sought refuge in Bunyoro but later grew to be an independent kingdom.

King Kintu of the East African Kingdom

King Kintu of the Buganda Kingdom. Source: Janake Sho

After he won, Kintu sent out an order to his new town to intermarry with the old clan. His plan was to bring the clans together. New marriages and intimacy between different cultures brought a rise of a new ethnic group, Bugandians. Later on, Kintu and the 36 kings who ruled the various organized clans mysteriously disappeared. Till date, their whereabouts are unknown. As a result, each clan appointed clan heads with the hopes of their king returning.

Map of Buganda

Map of Buganda

16th - 17th Century

By the 16th century, Buganda began conquering nearby kingdoms, increasing its territory by using military power. They were superior to all the surrounding kingdoms and their tactics were high calibre. By the 17th century, Buganda became more centralised as it had conquered a number of kingdoms, towns and soon established itself as a powerful nation in the east.

A government official building in Bugada Kingdom

The Seat of Buganda Kingdom

Until the 19th century, Buganda suffered many civil wars in an attempt to get a successor for the throne. In a bid to sit on the throne, people killed each other within the families of the former Kings. Brothers murdered by their brothers, soon every succession began with sibling rivalry. However, in recent times, Buganda has a working government and a king; these two ruling bodies work separately to rule the country. Buganda is now known as the largest ethnic group in Uganda and has become a home to various tribes.  A popular Buganda legend says "One of the first acts of the first man on earth, Kintu, was to plant a matoke tree for his descendants to enjoy." Buganda is also known to have a lot of festivals throughout the year; a constant celebration with different purpose accompanied by music, dance and food.

A group of girls dancing during an East Africa ffestival

Buganda festival

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