introduction to religious wars

introduction to religious wars

  • These were also known as the religious wars in Buganda.
  • They were fought between four different religious groups in Buganda i.e. Protestants, Catholics, traditionalists and Moslems.
  • They were fought between 1885 and 1900. 

Causes of religious wars

  • The struggle by each religious group to win as many converts as possible led to confusion within Buganda hence resulting into the religious wars.
  • Each religious group was struggling to win the favor and recognition of the Kabaka Muteesa 1, hence resulting into the religious wars. 
  • The death of Muteesa 1 in 1884 created a political vacuum in Buganda hence leading to confusion with in Buganda. 
  • The differences in the teaching of the different religious groups also confused the followers resulting into the religious wars.
  • Christians didn’t want to be dominated by the Muslims who were also unwilling to be dominated by Christians i.e. each group considered the other to be pagans. 
  • Imperial rivalry between France and Britain during the scramble and partition also led to the outbreak of the wars the between Catholics and Protestants respectively. 
  • There was also mistrust between the different Christian groups because each group wanted to dominate political offices in Buganda resulting into the wars. 
  • A rumor had circulated within Buganda that while in exile at Kabula, Kabaka Mwanga was learning Anglicanism and therefore the Catholics wanted the over throw him. 
  • The traditionalists hated Christians because they had undermined Buganda’s cultural beliefs independence.
  • The involvement of IBEACO in Buganda’s politics also led to these wars e.g. in 1891, Captain Lugard armed the Protestants with 500 guns to fight the Catholics. 
  • The pages/servants at the Kabaka’s court (palace) were always questioning the Kabaka’s authority which forced Mwanga to kill thirty of them leading to the religious wars. 
  • Mwanga’s arrogance, inconsistence and unfriendly relations with missionaries also contributed to the outbreak of the religious wars.  
  • The Catholics also accused Kabaka Mwanga of accepting IBEACO to work in Buganda because it was mistreating the Catholics.
  • Each religious group wanted very many pages at the Kabaka’s palace and this resulted into the wars.
  • Kabaka Mwanga’s failure to control foreigners at his palace resulted into conflicts between the different groups.
  • The role of Arabs who misguided Kabaka Mwanga that Christians wanted to take over his kingdom also led to the wars.
  • The murder of Bishop Hannington in Busoga in 1885 following the orders of Kabaka Mwanga also angered the Christians who resorted to war in order to overthrow Mwanga.
  • The killing of the Uganda martyrs at Namugongo in 1886 also caused a lot of chaos and confusion within Buganda resulting into the religious wars.

Course of the religious wars

  • These were the conflicts between the Christians, Muslims and traditionalists in Buganda.
  • These wars took place between 1885 to 1890.
  • By 1877, the Protestant missionaries under the Church Missionary Society arrived in Buganda.
  • In 1879, the Roman Catholic missionaries also arrived in Buganda.
  • All these groups had come after the invitation from Kabaka Muteesa 1 of Buganda.
  • These two Christian groups were soon fighting for political influence at the Kabaka’s court.
  • In 1884, Kabaka Muteesa 1 died and was succeeded by Kabaka Mwanga.
  • By this time, Muslims who had stayed longer in Buganda used their influence to warn Mwanga that the Christians wanted to take over his kingdom.
  • Kabaka Mwanga’s arrogance forced him to respond by denouncing all the new religions that never respected his authority.
  • In 1885, Bishop Hannington was killed in this crisis in Busoga following the orders of Kabaka Mwanga.
  • In 1886, many Christian converts were burnt to death at Namugongo also following the orders of Kabaka Mwanga.
  • Sensing continued instability, Kabaka Mwanga planned to chase away all the religious factions from Buganda including Christians and Muslims.
  • But they discovered his plan and the religious groups combined to overthrow him.
  • Thereafter, they installed Kabaka Kiwewa as the successor to Kabaka Mwanga.
  • By this time, Muslims were the strongest faction and they soon deposed Kiwewa for refusing to be circumcised.
  • Kalema was installed as the new Kabaka after deposing Kiwewa.
  • Muslims started persecuting Christians who fled to Kabula in Nkore.
  • Christians reorganized themselves and Catholics came under leadership of Nyonyintono Honerat while Protestants came under Apollo Kaggwa.
  • In 1890, Christian factions deposed the Muslims and Mwanga was reinstated with a lot of Catholic sympathies.
  • In the same year (1890), Captain Lugard arrived in Uganda as a representative of IBEACO.
  • Lugard used protestant missionaries to influence Mwanga for a treaty with Britain.
  • Thereafter, he armed the Protestants with 500 guns and this caused more fighting against the Catholics and Muslims.
  • Muslims then fled to Bunyoro and Captain Lugard also followed them after realizing that Catholics also wanted him dead.
  • In 1893, Sir Gerald Portal signed a treaty with Mwanga.
  • In 1894, a protectorate was declared over Uganda.
  • In 1897, Mwanga was overthrown and replaced by his infant son Daudi Chwa II.
  • Mwanga then Joined Kabalega in a rebellion in the North and the two were captured by Kakungulu.
  • In March 1900, the Buganda agreement was signed and this ended the religious wars in Buganda.