Course/organisation of the Luo migration

The Luo left Bahr-el-Ghazel around the 15th century. They then moved southwards following the River Nile under their leader Olum.

Around the 16th century, the Luo settled at Pubungu (present day Pakwach). Therefore Pubungu became their area of dispersal/separation.

From Pubungu the Luo split into two groups. Each group was under its own ruler and moved into a different direction.

One group led by Gipir moved westwards, crossed the Nile and settled in the Northern parts of Lake Albert.

They intermarried with the Lendu, Okebo and Madi to form the Alur presently found in Nebbi district.

Another group under Labongo moved southwards and settled at Pawir (Chope) in Northern Bunyoro kingdom.

One group still under Labongo that remained at Chope, moved southwards to come into contact with the Bachwezi to form the Luo-Babito Dynasty.

Labongo left Chope and moved East wards to form Acholi people presently found in Gulu and Lira.

Another group of the Luo moved eastwards from the Pubungu through Acholi land, Lango, Teso land up to Eastern Uganda in the Budama area.

They gave birth to the present Japadhola found in Tororo District.

However some of the Luo continued into Western Kenya e.g. the Joka—Jok moved directly from Pubungu and settled in the Lamogi hills of the Nyanza province.

The Jok—Omollo migrated through Busoga, Samia and Bukedi and finally settled in the Nyanza region to form the Samia of Western Kenya.

The Jok-Owiny moved from Pubungu and settled temporarily in Budama before finally settling in Singoma Alego in the Nyanza province of Western Kenya.

The Abasuba were the last group of the Luo to move into Kenya.

These were refugees from Buganda, Busoga and Ssese Islands and they settled in the southern Nyanza province.

Effects of the Luo migration

  • There were inter-marriages between the Luo and the local people leading to the formation of new tribes i.e. Alur, Langi Japadhola.
  • The coming of the Luo led to the formation of new kingdoms which were all using centralized system of administration e.g. Buganda, Bunyoro and Ankole.
  • The Luo introduced chiefdoms in Northern Uganda and western Kenya e.g. Rwotship in Northern Uganda was a Luo creation.
  • The coming of the Luo led to the final collapse of Bunyoro-Kitara Empire / Chwezi Empire and led to the formation of the Luo-Bito Dynasty.
  • The Luo introduced pet names (Empaako) erg Akiiki Abwoli, Amooti, Apuuli, Atwooki etc especially in Bunyoro and Toro.
  • The Luo introduced new crops in E.A e.g. millet, sorghum, groundnuts which are staple food for many tribes in Western, Northern and Eastern Uganda.
  • The Luo introduced new economic activities in E.A e.g. nomadic pastoralism and also introduced the short horned cattle.
  • The population of E.A increased as a result of the Luo influx and this created conflicts over land.
  • The Luo put to use what would have been idle land due to population increase.
  • The Luo also developed trade within E.A because they introduced new commodities e.g spears and arrows.
  • The Luo introduced royal burial grounds for the kings e.g. in Bunyoro the jaw bones of the Omukama have to be removed before burial and buried separately.
  • The Luo led to the civil wars increasing in E.A as a result of their contacts with the local people of E. Africa.
  • Many people were displaced from E.A to other regions as a result of the Luo migration into Tanzania to form Karagwe kingdom.
  • In Bunyoro, they introduced new items of the royal regalia e.g. royal crown, royal fire, and royal drums e.t.c