Origins Rule In Karagwe

Origins Rule In Karagwe

  • Karagwe kingdom extended between Rwanda and Burundi, Lake Victoria and the North western part of Tanganyika.
  • The settlers in this area were Bantu who carried out farming and grew crops like millet, sorghum.
  • They had come from the south west around the 15th and 16th century.
  • However the Bantu are said to have stayed in this region for 43 centuries before migrating north East to Bunyoro and Toro.
  • Later a section of these returned to Karagwe after the Luo invasion.
  • By the time of their return, they had combined with the Chwezi.
  • They reached Karagwe around the 16th century and set up the Hinda dynasty.

Establishment Of Ruhinda’S Rule In Karagwe

  • After the Luo invasion, Ruhinda led his Chwezi immigrants from Bunyoro – Kitara to Karagwe.
  • He deposed over the local leader known as Nano and he set up the Hinda dynasty.
  • He established his rule in Karagwe and built his capital at Bwehangwe.
  • He then sent his sons with royal regalia like spears to establish Hinda dynasty in all the surrounding areas.
  • This gave rise to small sub dynasties under his sons.
  • These sub dynasties included: Gisaka, Kyamtwara, Ihangiro, Buzinza, Busubi, Ukerewe and Nasa.
  • The creation of several independent Hinda sub dynasties by Ruhinda’s sons created rivalries and these weakened the Hinda rule in Karagwe.
  • These small Kingdoms were not directly under the authority of Ruhinda.
  • When he died they became independent.

Political organisation

  • Ruhinda introduced a centralized system of government.
  • The centralized system replaced the clan system headed clan leaders called Muharambwa.
  • Upon the death of Ruhinda; many areas that made up his Kingdom declared themselves independent.
  • Ruhinda used the clans for efficient administration. These clans were not destroyed by the Chwezi immigrants.
  • The clan leaders (Muharambwa) were charged with a collection of taxes, tribute and were also in charge of religious rights.
  • The clans were grouped into eight bigger units for easy administration.
  • The units included Kianja, Bukara, Kyamtwara, Kiziba, Ihangiro, Misenyi, Bugabo and Karagwe.
  • Each of these chiefdoms became a nation called Ihanga and chiefs would dismiss a clan head if his people appealed.
  • The clan heads had political, religious and judicial powers. These were supposed to head clan courts that settled disputes.
  • Age sets were encouraged among the Banyambo and young boys of the same age were called at the chief’s residence where they would be trained in military art.
  • After military training, they would be sent home and only recalled in times of military emergency.
  • The few, who were outstanding and very skillful, were sent to the king’s court where they learnt correct court manners and language.

Economic Organisation

  • They were mainly agriculturalists and they grew crops like sorghum, millet and bananas.
  • They also kept the long horned cattle.
  • Iron working was another economic activity and tools which were made included hoes, spears and arrows which were used in agriculture and defense.
  • The people of Karagwe also carried out trade.
  • They exchanged trade items like Ivory, and iron products with Buganda and coastal traders.

Social Organisation

  • The people of Karagwe believed in ancestral spirits.
  • The Muharambwa was supposed to lead over religious functions.
  • A Caste system (class systems) existed in Karagwe Kingdom with the pastoralists as rulers and farmers as the subjects.
  • Settlement of conflicts was entrusted to the clan leader (Muharambwa) but the head of the chiefdom (Ihanga) was the final man in everything.